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Hardware assisted virtualization may change everything!

Server virtualization is a watershed IT technology because it lets a single physical computer run multiple operating systems, vastly increasing rates of CPU use. But server virtualization also is a highly complex process, and many vendors over the years have been stymied in their attempts to create good virtual machine software. VMware, on the other hand, figured out how to build a binary translator that scans the issue of privilege-instructions processors to operating systems and rewrites the ones that can't be virtualized.

Essentially, VMware's early virtualization software tricked the operating system, Gammage says. Earlier processors contain four privilege levels, which create security Relevant Products/Services boundaries -- they're like one-way doors, he says. A process running in Ring 1 had to ask Ring 0 for permission to access objects to which Ring 1 normally wouldn't have access. Under this setup, virtualization software "fools" an operating system into thinking it's running at Ring 0 -- the most privileged ring -- when it's really not.

Hardware-assisted virtualization changes all this by doubling the number of a processor's privilege levels. If the chip Relevant Products/Services has a greater number of privilege levels, modifying the operating system becomes unnecessary, Gammage says.


I think I'll soon write a couple of posts about the future of virtualization and where VMware, Microsoft, Hitachi, IBM, Sun all fit in. This eco-system is evolving heavily, so don't bet on the leading horse, the race has only begun!

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A Collection of Threnodies : Part 1

Whale Fall
-----------------

Dress me up in my new threads
clasp my greasy palms
grease my hair
I'm ready for the fall


Watch at all the decadence
watching the avalanche
I'm slipping down
losing my buoyancy


What's become of us
where have we come
this far, this close
close to the doors


I hear them, sublimal chants
I'm on the run
I race through the human sea
I am the king!


I'm the slave
to my own undoings
I'm the jester in my courtyard
We jest as we run


We're strolling on that thin rope
we grope as we rope
we're true heros
we're the survivors


we're the scavengers
we're the friends
we're the lovers
we're the unbred


Soon awaiting the fall
we're lurking on us
we're osedaxing us
we're soon going to be done
we'll soon be arrested




*osedax(bone devourer, newly discovered marine genus) feeds on a fallen(sunken) whale carcass(which is also called a whale fall). Read more here