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The Virtual Vanguard

Virtualization is all the rage these days as IT organizations now routinely look for ways to optimize both workstation and server hardware, And nobody has benefited more from that trend than the folks at VMware, which was were scooped up last year by EMC for $635 million.

Back then VMware and a company called Connectix that was acquired by Microsoft were the only two virtual games in town. But a plethora of choices are about to emerge that will significantly alter the virtual landscape.

Most interesting is a startup company led by Scott Davis that should launch in the first quarter. Davis originally worked on VAX/VMS clusters and Windows NT clusters before Digital sold that technology to Microsoft in 1990s. Today, Davis is back with a plan to advance the state of the art of virtualization by allowing any operating system to automatically invoke and add any number of processors on the fly.

That differs significantly from VMware's approach, which allows people to run multiple instances of an operating system on the same machine. VMware is typically deployed on one machine but the company does have and add-on module that will allow people to deploy multiple operating systems on a four-way server.

The knock many people give VMware is that it originally came about as a hack to help developer's maximize their limited hardware resources and as such was not developed with distributed computing requirements in mind.

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