Who Will Your Phone Be Today?

Your basic high-end cell phone comes packed with specialized processors to handle cell communications, the camera, the MP3 player, gaming and so forth. Handset engineers have the daunting task of balancing all those power requirements, costs and real estate demands.

Peter Richards and Mark Milligan argue that it's less daunting if a multicore CPU is combined with a virtualization layer. Milligan, vice president of marketing at VirtualLogix Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., says VirtualLogix VLX lets multiple operating systems and applications run in an embedded environment without the need for discrete chips. That means wireless operators can run their software in a secure container while opening up virtual machines to third-party providers. It's an ideal arrangement for companies that want to give users devices "with multiple personalities," says CEO Richards. He envisions policy-managed handsets that are enterprise tools by day and entertainment units at night.

Richards says NXP Semiconductor in Eindhoven, Netherlands, is almost ready to unveil the first multicore mobile CPU. But for now, we'll need to muddle through with devices limited to a single, all-too-often-crabby personality.

Will Thin Finally Be In?

IT has been stymied in deploying thin clients for many reasons, but they all come down to the fact that users haven't been able to work with thin clients the way they work with PCs. That's about to change.

Next month, Citrix Systems Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will ship XenDesktop, which lets you create virtual machines for PC users. Sumit Dhawan, senior director of product marketing, claims that management is drop-dead simple: "All you have to do is pick Windows XP or Vista. That's it." Well, it's not quite that simple, but simple.

Wyse Viance Pro M
The Wyse Viance Pro M

When Citrix ships XenDesktop, hardware makers should be ready with a host of devices with fat-client-like performance and capabilities. Take Wyse Technology Inc.'s Viance Pro M laptop, which will ship on May 20 and starts at $599. It has the look and feel of a standard 15-in. laptop. According to Jeff McNaught, Wyse's chief marketing officer, the "appliance," as he calls it, powers up in 10 seconds or less (and shuts down equally fast), has no fan or disk drive (so it's utterly silent) and works with any approved USB device. It's got Bluetooth, which means BlackBerries and other devices can sync. It comes standard with Wi-Fi and 1Gbit/sec. Ethernet connectivity and has a slot for 3G wireless cards. As long as a user can get a signal, he can work.

Sounds like a win-win-win: Users get everything they want, IT gets better desktop management, and companies get vastly improved information security.

Monitor VM Apps

Application owners naturally press IT to allocate as many resources as possible for their apps in a virtual environment. But Scott Herold, lead architect at Quest Software Inc. in Aliso Viejo, Calif., suggests that you might want a tool that tells you when things are too good. According to Herold, Quest's Foglight 5.2 alerts IT when a given application is not using the resources it has been assigned, helping to limit virtual machine sprawl. The tool can also predict when you're in danger of running out of resources such as mass storage, he says, and it prevents you from doing things like assigning more memory than the physical server has installed.

Foglight 5.2 costs $1,000 per CPU socket.

More Buzz

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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