Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Technology Convergence

It’s about time. I’ve been waiting for someone to take revolutionary (in my opinion, at least) technologies such as virtualization, blade servers (or any alternative server form factors), and thin-client access and combine them. And that’s exactly what IBM, VMware, and Citrix are doing, as discussed here.

Leveraging their individual strengths (IBM’s hardware, VMware’s virtualization, and Citrix’s access technologies), the group is rolling out a hosted client infrastructure that will compete directly with so-called “blade PCs” (from companies such as ClearCube) and traditional thin clients (from companies such as Wyse and Neoware). The nice thing about this solution is that it works equally well with full PCs and thin client devices.

This is good stuff. IBM’s blade servers are well-respected, and IBM’s integration of their blades with technologies from Cisco Systems (such as their Cisco Systems Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module for the IBM eServer BladeCenter, more information available here) gives them a leg up on the competitors. As for virtualization…well, VMware invented the market, and while Microsoft may be offering a virtualization product of its own they have a long way to go to catch up. VMware’s latest version of ESX Server offers much-improved resource utilization and scheduling functionality, particularly when used in combination with the latest version of VirtualCenter. Likewise, Citrix pioneered multi-user Windows and the ICA protocol, and they continue to innovate in recent versions of Presentation Manager.

Combining these technologies to create a dynamic environment where users are seamlessly connected to virtual servers hosted on and across multiple blade servers is a natural evolution for each of these technologies. (I would guess that I don’t need to point out how full circle this brings enterprise computing environments.)

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