Monday, April 17, 2006


The Next Phase in Computing: Virtualization

Part of having a successful programming career is to try and predict future trends since our skills become out of date so quickly. Just take a look at the hype around Ruby. A few bright people, like Dave Thomas, predicted it was the future and it took off. So what I have been doing is trying to predict what things will be like in our industry in 10 years. One thing I see as a future trend is Virtualization.

In the 80’s the desktop computing started a change with multi-tasking. Before that change a personal computer did only one thing, think MS-DOS. The hardware that drove this was the 286 but the software took awhile to catch up that truly took advantage of that in full. Back then I can remember people wondering why people would want to do more than one thing at a time with their PC, now that thought never comes up.

Today the cycle continues, this time with Virtualization. Today that is being utilized by developers and some forward thinking companies. We have the hardware, multi-core chips and are starting to get the software that really takes advantage of that, VMware, Solaris Containers, etc. But I predict that this technology will make into the mainstream and not just for the domain of developers and server consolidation. For example, I can see someday a family will have only has one “computer” in the family room that will take place of the cable box/DVD player/Game console/TV. Every where else people will use things that we call today “thin clients” that can use to connect your home anywhere you can get a cell signal.

But I need more ideas; this one I don’t think is future enough.

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