04.The future of virtualisation
The future of virtualisation
With the advent of hardware supported virtualisation, there’s an exciting future ahead of us. Smartphones, PDAs, and Intel’s new Nettops and Netbooks, all of which are designed to run mobile internet, are perfect candidates for the future. Desktop virtualisation means you could have a single computer — whether that be a desktop, laptop, or just a single piece of hardware — attached to your router at home, which then runs virtual systems and sends the output to all your other gadgets.
You would have access to the same files on the go as you do at home and files you modified on your mobile phone would be the original document rather than a copy. Essentially, the desktop you see is the same, regardless of what gadget you use to access it.
Right now, connection speeds are too slow to allow this easily, and some applications don’t run well remotely — imagine watching a movie on your PDA. Intel is working on software that lets mobile devices ‘hijack’ a local display — so you could view that movie through a TV rather than your tiny PDA screen, but it’s still many years away from completion.
The trend towards virtualisation also means that homes will start looking more like business computing environments, with servers and workstations. This makes backup, file management and storage — and other aspects usually associated with business computing — more important and central for home computer users.
But most of all virtualisation is allowing, for the first time for consumers, the ability to separate the underlying hardware platform from the software we run on it. Regardless of whether it’s Windows or Linux, whole desktops or just applications, you can now run the software you need when you need it, no matter what platform it was made for.