Two events, happening within a month of each other - but on opposite sides of the continent, prompt me to write a little on the affect of hypervisors and cloud infrastructure on geospatial applications and platforms. For one, VMware has recently wrapped-up their annual "vFest" in San Francisco at VMworld. Highlights this year include the branding and consolidation of their PaaS offering called vFabric. vFabric, which is essentially their SpringSource acquisition, nicely packaged and ready-to-sell with the likes of IBM and Oracle. And VMware (and MS, and Citrix, etc.) all want us to have our own Platforms and Infrastructure - because we all like having our own washing machine inside the house. vFabric is intended to give us that option - to sit alongside offerings like vCloud that will hopefully sell well as MSPs. Offering both allows VMware to hedge their bets - laundromat or washing machine - you choose! (please please please buy the Maytag!)
VMworld segues nicely into this month's Geo Cloud event, where the good folks at Directions Media gather us together to contemplate how this brave, new cloudy world will shape our servers, desktops, globes and Earths. While we all know that our ArcGIS server will run on a VM, the question is how long will it run before bringing down the house. ESRI lets us know in no uncertain terms that you should fear the hypervisor -- give that piggy as much slop as you can afford to! To be sure, VMware is a little more optimistic, pointing out different options to get you near-physical performance by tweaking among other things your storage setup. (Go NAS or go home...)
Nevertheless, we'll most likely need a new, cloud- and hypervisor-aware set of technology to really take advantage of the new cloud offerings. The geospatial software community is prone to thinking we're special (remember that "unique," spatial database?) No doubt the performance requirements will remain substantial, but as with all trends, we'll see better compatibility emerge. I'm looking forward to the Geo Cloud event this month - the speakers come from a broad swath of geo and cloud backgrounds. I'm sure they'll help us figure it out!
(photo courtesy of Creative Commons/ Flickr: http://flic.kr/p/8tUwEZ )