Channel takeaway: Virtualized Linux servers are easy to install and will help VARs control customer's server sprawl. Additionally, because Linux is a fluid platform, VARs have the opportunity to update virtualized Linux servers easily and consistently.
SearchEnterpriseLInux.com recently spoke with Patrick Lin, VMware Inc.'s director of data center products about Linux server virtualization.
SearchOpenSource.com: Are there any differences between deploying virtual machines on Linux as opposed to other operating systems?
Lin: No, you treat it the same way. But one of the things that makes virtualization well suited for Linux is the fact that Linux does come in so many flavors and is upgraded pretty rapidly. Virtualization allows you to choose the operating system that best suits your application.
When deploying their infrastructure, customers want to try and keep it relatively standardized to make things simpler; that is a little bit at odds with the desire to make sure that they've got the operating system that best matches their application requirements.
Virtualization allows companies to standardize at that virtual hardware level but to continue to have a choice on the actual version and vendor of the operating system without having to worry about some differences that introduces.
SearchOpenSource.com: Wouldn't having many different versions of Linux in an environment lead to OS sprawl, an issue that people have raised as a potential problem resulting from virtualization? And, with the frequent updates that can increase Linux distribution capabilities, isn't there an additional management burden that comes with running various distros under one roof?
Lin: It does play in that direction, but that's also what the virtual appliance concept is designed to help with. Virtual appliances package the pre-configured application and operating system in a virtual machine.
With virtual appliances, you don't have to worry about all those different layers of software and their configurations and keeping them up to date with the patches and so on. It's turnkey. Deployment is as easy as deploying a virtual machine. The pre-configured appliance lets you focus on what you care about, which is the application, and it lets the appliance take care of making the rest of the stack work.
Read the rest of Lin's interview at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.
This was first published in May 2007