Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Okay! Now I get VMWare

I started goofing around with VMWare. There has been an awful lot of noise about virtual machines and how they will change everything. I was compelled to download VMWare's VMPlayer and see how it worked.

At first I was mystified. Okay, running Linux in a box on my Windows desktop was cool but was it useful? I struggled to find a reason for it. Sure, there are a lot of developers out there that do cross platform work and this saves them having to have multiple machines. Everyone knows that multi-boot machines are a pain in the neck and you have to constantly reboot to use them. Still, how many people is that really? A handful.

So, as I'm goofing around with the VMPlayer, it dawns on me. With the right scripts, I can run legacy operating systems and hence, legacy software on my computer. Cool! That old DOS program that I like but can't run under Windows XP is once again usable. Perhaps in the future, I can even run the Intel version of MAC OS X (a fantastic operating system) and Windows together.

Even that is not the real reason that VMWare and it's kin (such as QEMU) matter. Instead, what these emulators represent is upgarde security. There is nothing worse then upgrading to a new OS (for example Vista) and discovering that your old applications don't run. Heack I just upgraded to Win X SP2 and found one of my old favorite applications isn't working right anymore. With the virtual machine technology, that's not nearly as big a concern. That also explains why Microsoft has there own VM technology. No more refusing to upgrade because of that one old application that you absolutely rely on. No need to upgrade all your applications for the new OS. Run the old stuff in a box if it won't run native.

Hopefully, this makes up for the 2000/XP Command Prompt program that looks like DOS but doesn't run DOS programs well. In fact, shouldn't this be part of the OS? Sure should. Not that Microsoft is going to listen to me. Okay, maybe they will make it part of the server OS but that will miss the point entirely.

In the meantime, maybe my new favorite folks ar VMWare will give us some legacy operating system scripts and such. Then, I can run cranky old programs on my new computer. Huzzah!

No comments: