April 20th, 2006

Single Operating System – a blessing, not a curse

Virtualization technology can decrease the number of physical servers and help control server sprawl, while at the same time improving server utilization rates.

Operating system virtualization goes one step further by helping control the number of operating system instances, which improves overall manageability.

Let me explain. Because Virtuozzo virtual environments run on a single copy of the operating system, a patch only needs to be applied one time and it is propagated across all virtual environments on that server. Virtuozzo keeps operating system and application programs separated through the use of templates. Only a single template needs to be patched. This greatly simplifies manageability.

Now, let’s look at the comparison of how operating system patches get applied in virtual machine virtualization technology, employed by VMware and Xen.

Every virtual machine image contains a separate copy of the operating system, which means all operating system patches need to be applied to each image. When you consider a large enterprise with thousands of ISV and line-of-business applications, it’s easy to understand the complications of managing all this. On the one hand, virtualization technology helps control server sprawl, but the issue of applying software patches seems to become more complicated.

It’s easy to see the efficiency of the shared kernel operating system virtualization technology used in Virtuozzo.

Let me know what you think - post a comment!