Many of the enterprise customers we engage with are already asking how to take virtualization and the Cloud to the next level to attain a profound change in their core business. This is beyond simply being agile or having choice. This is about leveraging technology inherent in the virtualization paradigm and providing the same choice as in server virtualization to the consumer markets i.e. the choice of running whatever operating environment simultaneously on the same capable physical hardware platform.
Witness the recent announcement of VMware teaming with LG to sell Android phones capable of being used as a business and personal phone simultaneously. This is cool! This potentially takes VMware from running on hundreds of thousands of corporate devices to millions of consumer devices.
The idea of being able to have multiple capable personalities & functions embedded within a single device has always been a dream of the consumer masses. This type of thinking inspired devices such as the Swiss Army knife.
This will greatly influence the design of processors for mobile devices, in being better and more powerful multi-processing devices than in the past. This in turn will lead to higher device convergence, whilst probably spawning a whole new generation of development environments without ever needing the actually target physical device nearby – much as we do with Web development these days (barring screen resolution issues of course.
Now VMware acquired this capability from one of its acquisitions, Trango, who were already working on such a project. This is a major sea change in this particular market. If eventually, iPhones and Windows Mobile platforms are also virtualized, the next generation of mobile devices will drive convergence of a whole slew of technologies into a single physical device – iPhone grade touch screens, large screen real estate, gyroscopic functionality, sports watches/applications,, AMOLED, fashionable device formats and the list goes on and on.
That’s the type of convergence I was referring to, spawned from simply allowing multiple mobile OS’s to run on a single physical device. We see the same in the server and desktop virtualization scene. There is much less discussion of which OS will run, as long as the features are there. The hardware+hypervisor will simply run it!
Consumers and business users now know this. The corporate secret is out. Expect demand patterns to shift faster and more aggressively towards choice of mobile operating systems and productivity applications regardless of the physical factor!
VMware’s SpringSource acquisition heightens this sense of embedding Cloud functionality directly into the application stack, and frankly, putting existing standalone applications into question. That is already fuelling the charge by such large traditional players as SAP, Oracle, and Siebel to have Cloud spanning offerings to cover all ‘just-in-case it proves to be wildly popular’ bets! That’s the correct way to respond I feel, as the writing is literally on the wall.
I mean this mobile hypervisor thing could be seriously big. Think of what it entails. The entire development ecosystem is affected. There could potentially be vAPI’s from VMware coming that might abstract many of the coding primitives in use today. There may be a standardization of languages and compilers or a wholesale move to hardware independent languages (read Java/Open Source).
The idea of using multiple mobile networks from the same device will require initially the ability to have multiple SIM cards operating. However, perhaps it becomes possible to “virtualize” the SIM itself. Then we can get away from the crazy idea that we need to have a SIM chip from our providers. Consumers could literally subscribe to a network, and the hypervized-SIM can be pushed to the mobile device with its embedded chipsets. The call itself would literally be charged on the network it was traversing. Networks could be changed on the fly and service/price hypercompetition would take on a whole new meaning;-)
The consumer would have the control, choice and agility to move directly away at a moment’s notice from one provider to another if the service/price is sub-par (as it frequently is these days).
Heck, the entire mobile OS could be pushed down to the device with its mobile hypervisor from the Cloud directly without any laptop/PC-like device being needed. This sounds like the Cloud itself, but goes further in that perhaps the Cloud end-user devices will come increasingly from those firms that are creating mobile and phone devices today.
This will likely see a scramble from traditional desktop/laptop/netbook manufacturers to the mobile/phone device markets to stay relevant. So called third-world or developing nations may be able in a single giant stride to overtake many of the current incumbents in the West/East technologically sophisticated markets!
CIOs should expect this avalanche of demand from both internal users and development groups clamoring to see how they can embed and leverage this functionality to grab greater market share for their respective organizations. Corporate users will begin to demand having only single phone device that serves business and private needs. We see this already happening in the ‘bring-your-own-laptop’ wave where private individual laptop/PC devices can host secured corporate desktops concurrently.
This brings the discussion of Private and Public Clouds to a whole new level. We are moving towards achieving sustained, durable competitive advantage with ‘sticky’ capabilities preventing or at least making it difficult for market incumbents to emulate the advantage without significant investment. Sounds like good old fashioned business sense is creeping back into the IT and technology worlds to give more bang for the buck.
Virtualization and the Cloud are again applying the market leveling economics and technologies that massively reduce barriers to entry and again put the consumer in the driving seat. Applications will be at the forefront of the charge to entice and engage the consumer. Slow moving firms and those not convinced by virtualization at scale and a complete move to that Cloud base may well find their market relevance diminishing!