back to article Dell to stuff hypervisors in flash memory

A rather nimble Dell looks set to rattle the server market later this year by embedding the core virtualization code of a prominent software maker in flash memory. Dell CTO Kevin Kettler today confirmed these plans during a speech here at LinuxWorld, saying the company expects to see major performance and power-saving …


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  1. Daniel


    Isn't this like DRM but in hardware?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fixed the IO bugs have they

    Last I looked the problem with virtualisation was that it played havoc with external services of course it will be nice to know exactly when your server will die it's whenever the flash memory has it's last reburn.Do we trust Dell to do this?

  3. Steven Knox Silver badge

    Free virtualization* software

    "(Microsoft's virtualization* software and Xen are already available for free today.)"

    So is VMWare Server (at least the OS-dependent version which compares to MS's Virtual Server.) In my experience, even that version is still much better than MS Virtual Server.

    I freely admit I don't have the experience with Xen to comment on it.

    * virtualisation? English/American spelling pedants, have at it!

  4. Steven Knox Silver badge

    RE: DRM?

    No, because Virtuali[sz]ation* doesn't restrict your options like DRM (quite the opposite in fact). In this case, the only potential restriction is the Virtuali[sz]ation software in the flash, and that has to be opted for by the buyer.

    For DRM in hardware, Google^H^H^H^H^H^H look up "Trusted Computing".**

    * [sz] Multi-nationality Inclusive Regular Expression (MIRE) copyright 2007. All Rights Reversed. See also ".*ou*?r".

    ** see also: irony.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ESX Embedded

    I would expect to see both IBM and HP do the same thing with ESX Embedded, thus removing the 800Mb Service console and just implementing the <32Mb VMkernel into embedded flash on the host within the next few months. The "Linux" Service console is going and about time.

  6. Andrew Downes


    Could you please avoid using the word "free" when talking about software - we all know it has a cost. Plus the potential confusion with "free" as in "open". In fact, software is merely "included" in something else that the punter has bought (or sold) - whether that's a piece of hardware or their time in looking at advertising - to wit, GMail.

    Oh, and you missed the fact that IBM's POWER hypervisor has been "included" since the early noughties and the mainframe hypervisor since the mid-sixties.

  7. Corrine

    RE: Free virtualization* software

    VMware's free version isn't a hypervisor though, it has to run on top of the OS. (A hypervisor runs below the kernel level, which means that one OS keeps going if the other 19 crash) This makes it completely useless for server applications. (Microsoft's is also not yet enterprise ready, though for functionality reasons, they're latecomers in this game.)

    As far as DRM goes, it's perfectly possible to rewrite flash, so you could get updates and whatnot. (which the kind of customers who are capable of using this will demand.)

    It'd be cool to see this become semi-standard. VMware's founder has this pipe dream of seeing dozens of below visual level OSes substituting the singular OSes we have today that I think would be wonderful to actually have happen. M$ seems hell bent on killing off desktop virtualization though, so we'll see.

  8. Robert Hill

    This is very cool stuff...

    This should significantly decrease the effort to get large, complex server configs up and running, and should really help with getting a single point of contact and support. Hypervisors are still black magic to a lot of sys admins, especially in the SMB space.

    There might even be some security gains from this - there are few, if any, hypervisor attacking viruses out yet, but that will change as the technology propogates. But putting the hypervisor in flash pretty much limits the damage that can be done to the hypervisor boot code, so at least you can always reboot into a known virus-free state.

    Almost as important is the decision by Dell to put Barcelonas in these boxes...I guess that is a vote of confidence in AMD's ability to bounce back from their current troubles.

  9. Eduard Coli

    RE: RE: DRM

    While Steven is technically correct who says that the situation with embedded Hypervisor has to stay that way. The temptation must surely be great to lock it at the factory and this could be a better tool to do it.

  10. Robert Grant

    " For free"!?

    Could you also please avoid the rubbish construction "for free" when you mean "free" or "for nothing". And don't get me started on "one less disk" when you mean "one fewer disk" or using the unnecessary phrasal verb "buddy up" - drop the particle!

  11. Dave

    "although VMware and XenSource appear the most likely candidates..."

    and the 3rd candidate would be...


    Seems to me Dell will be shipping Xen-in-flash

    Now that they have ESX, are VMWare (really) going to licence VMServer to a 3rd party OEM? Why?? As many previous comments have alluded, VMWare's VMServer is so limited - oh! to make money by onselling old rope of course!

    Even Dell must be aware of the potential pitfalls of contracting with VMWare - (aren't they?)

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