At the airport + Linux, virtualization, and the cloud

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I’m sitting near Gate 36 at Washington’s National Airport waiting for my 3:30 PM flight home. Evidently it’s going to be delayed a bit, but given that I was originally on the 9:10 flight, 45 minutes or so won’t be a problem.

It’s raining here now, though yesterday was a lovely early spring day. I feel like I’m cheating a bit since winter ends several weeks later the 300+ miles north of here where I live. I can live with the guilt.

National has some of the loudest terminal announcements I have heard and it makes it difficult to do business calls without constantly toggling mute on and off. I just heard a very strange announcement along the lines of “don’t come up before your zone is called, because if you wait by the gate door you are more likely to be randomly screened.” Seems to me that having where you stand increase the odds of your being screened takes some of the randomness out of it.

I’m in DC because I gave some talks this morning about Linux along with our Red Hat partner. To summarize:

  • Linux is more than ready for business critcal deployments.
  • The ability to run Linux on multiple hardware platforms offers great flexibility to match your IT workloads to the systems you already own or to systems that are tuned to the applications you will be running.
  • Linux and virtualization go together very naturally, with Linux fitting above, below, and probably sideways to many other operating systems.
  • Linux and cloud computing are also naturals.
  • Linux is “green” in that it can be an important element in datacenter consolidation to reduce hardware footprint, energy used, heat output, and CO2 emitted.

I’m coming to the conclusion that the industry could help IT users understand several things about some of the buzz phrases going around today:

  • Virtualization should probably be used more to consolidate workloads and improve processor utilization.
  • But virtualization is not a panacea for everything in IT.
  • Virtualization on the desktop is not completely new, but the combination of Linux desktops and virtualization could provide huge savings and conveniences to many classes of users.
  • Cloud computing is an important complement to the way computing is done today, especially for some new workloads.
  • Not everything will be done in the cloud.
  • There are not just three models of doing cloud computing called “Amazon,” “Google,” and “SalesForce.com.”
  • It’s not that hard to get to a user population or workload portfolio where private clouds make a lot of sense.

To the last point, a private cloud for one or more government agencies is certainly reasonable. No one is saying that any government has to run its business on Internet-wide clouds.


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