In an ITWire tale, Paul Harapin, VMware's managing director for Australia and New Zealand said Windows is already being replaced by virtual appliances running on Linux. In ten-years, there will be no more Windows.
Harapin went on to say, it is reported that "When you go to Cisco and say you want a router and a firewall, they provide you with an appliance."Inside that appliance is probably a bootstrapped Linux operating system that they manage themselves, there's memory and all sorts of devices. If something goes wrong with that appliance, you don't open up the router and try to determine whether it's an OS problem or a memory problem, you simply call Cisco and tell them that's there's a problem with your appliance."
Of course, what he describes here isn't new. People have been building and selling server appliances for years.
Harapin's not just thinking servers though. He's thinking the end of all "large commercial operating systems." Instead, we'll use special-purpose computers that are customized to run a particular application or set of applications. "They essentially package that up as an appliance, a running server or a running application, and they send it to you."
Sound crazy? I don't know. Notice how many applications we're putting on the 3G iPhone? He may be on to something.
But, again, why is someone from VMware saying this? VMware, I've predicted, is going to get run over by Microsoft Hyper-V on one side, and Linux with KVM and Xen on the other. The only role VMware plays in this is as a smear on the IT super-highway.
Unless... VMware is hinting that it may be going into this appliance business. VMware as a platform vendor. That would be interesting. VMware does have a new CEO, Paul Maritz. After almost 15-years at Microsoft, where he oversaw perhaps Microsoft's most significant operating systems roll outs, Windows 95 and NT, Maritz is used to thinking big.
Big enough to see that VMware can't make it as virtualization company, must embrace Linux, and reposition VMware as the platform company for the 21st century? Maybe. I don't know.
I will say this though; this is a lot more interesting, and possibly profitable, scenario for VMware's future than any of the ones I had come up with. VMware lives in interesting times.