Feeds

VMware hyper-converge means WE don't NEED no STEENKIN' OS...

...in our virtual machines, says Reg man Chris Mellor

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

With VMware converging storage - VSAN - and networking - Nicira - into the hypervisor, it’s re-inventing the server operating system.

Chuck Hollis, chief strategist at VMware’s SAS business unit, has blogged about this convergence.

He reckons that we’re seeing hardware convergence, mentioning flash coming into the server via PCIe and other technologies, and storage array controller software implemented as a server application using commodity hardware - aka software-defined storage.

VMware’s VSAN is an obvious example of the trend towards having virtual SANs created by aggregating direct-attached storage across a set of servers. Think of HP P4000 as another example.

According to Hollis, the best place to run the server virtual storage software is in the hypervisor. The storage, like the compute and the network, is just an infrastructure resource to be virtualised and carved up in policy-driven chunks for use by applications.

He draws a parallel with hardware convergence, thinking of things like Vblocks and products made by startups like Nutanix and Simplivity, and suggests software convergence is desirable too - in the hypervisor.

Hollis blogs: “If infrastructure functionality is to be delivered as software, shouldn’t we be aspiring to software convergence models? And, given that the hypervisor already abstracts compute — and more recently network and storage, the notion of hypervisor convergence has a certain technical and architectural appeal.”

“It’s not hard to conclude that the hypervisor — as the key interface between application and infrastructure — is in a perfect position to define the boundaries of an application, capture application policy, express it downwards to the infrastructure, and monitor compliance.”

This got me thinking.

What do we call a chunk of code running on server bare metal that parcels up and delivers compute, storage and networking resources to applications?

There are two answers. One is an operating system and the other is a hypervisor, and the dawning realisation is, I believe, that they are one and the same: the hypervisor is the OS.

In which case, why do we need an OS in each virtual machine? It is simply the equivalent of useless middle management getting in the way and sucking up CPU cycles better spent by the hypervisor and the apps themselves.

All the OS in the VM needs to do is act as a hypervisor interface layer. We don’t really need no stinking Windows or any other OS in the virtual machines. Will it be possible – indeed, is it possible – to compile apps to run inside hypervisor-controlled VMs that have no need for a traditional operating system inside them at all?

Think of all the gazillions of DRAM bytes and CPU core threads and cycles that would save. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.