New-Gen Virtualization Will Extend to All Devices, Including Mobile Phones

by Sam Dean - May. 25, 2011Comments (2)

This week, in a post about strong growth for sales of Apple systems among enterprise buyers, I made the point that virtualization--which allows users to run multiple operating systems on a single machine--has allowed many people to break free of the ties that bind when it comes to any single operating system. Readers commented on the fact that they're benefiting from this in a big way.

We've also made the point before that virtualization will spread out to devices beyond just desktop and laptop computers, to include tablet devices and mobile phones. Moka5, which has announced a new "bare metal" hypervisor, is living proof of this trend.

If you haven't expanded out to using multiple operating systems on a single device through virtualization, definitely try it. As a reader wrote in response to our virtualiztion comments this week:

"OS Virtualisation is working flawlessly for me, I'm running Ubuntu on a HP nc4400 and have Snow Leopard running in a Virtualbox VM at near native speed, using 1 core."

I can relate to this comment. I too run Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems concurrently. Doing so opens doors to the maximum number of useful applications, and virtualization is no longer slow and undependable.

Moka5's new bare metal hypervisor serves as both a host operating system and hypervisor, but get this: It requires only 2GB of RAM and a 64-bit CPU. This means that virtual machines can run on very low-end hardware with Moka5's solution. If you suspect that Linux is involved here, you're right. As ReadWriteWeb notes:

"When the product was first announced last year, the company told The Register that it was based on a popular Linux distribution, but wouldn't disclose which one. The company has essentially taken an existing Linux distro and ripped everything out of it that wasn't required to make the hypervisor run."

This trend will only continue, until all kinds of devices benefit from virtualization, including tablet devices and mobile phones. As that happens, many people are underestimating the impact of the trend. For years, technology journalists and bloggers have focused on "the OS wars," where it's generally accepted that users are divided into camps where they have jingoistic attitudes toward their Mac, Windows, Linux, Android and Symbian operating systems.

This jingoism will go the way of the dodo as virtualization spreads out to all devices. You've seen Apple's iPhone ads, right? The ones that say, "Yep, if you don't have an iPhone...well, you don't have an iPhone?" Imagine a scenario where your mobile phone can run multiple operating systems concurrently through virtualization. Users will have access to all the apps in multiple app stores.

As mobile devices get more powerful, and as solutions like Moka5's become commonplace, this scenario will become reality. It will change how we all think about the hegemony of any given operating system. And don't be surprised to see Linux right at the center of this trend.

Shailesh Patel uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


The problem is not what technology will allow you to do, but more what people will do.

As of today, only poweruser and professionnals have several OS on their computers Cellphone are a closed platform were what you can do or not is limited for most of us.

This is a real problem.

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Interesting to read some of the ideas people have put forward as to how virtualization is going to look. There's absolutely a growing client-side platform agnosticism and according to this article there are some hard numbers and compelling reasons from the standpoint of decision making and planning. However, I doubt that devices with multiple operating systems will play a significant part of the future.

0 Votes
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