Given all the excitement about the transformative power of virtualization, you'd think the hypervisor had already conquered the world. In fact, it has barely planted its flag on the borders of business IT: About 10% of all servers have been virtualized, leaving vast numbers untouched.
CTO, Citric Systems' Virtualization & Management Division
As former CTO of XenSource and now CTO of Citrix Systems' virtualization and management division, Crosby has raised the profile of the open source Xen hypervisor as a viable competitor to market leader VMware, while advocating for the hypervisor--any hypervisor--to replace the OS as the key interface between applications and hardware.
Whether virtualization conquers the data center and beyond will depend on three objectives. First is to make the hypervisor ubiquitous by having it preinstalled on x86 servers. Citrix, VMware, and Virtual Iron have each announced deals with vendors such as HP and Dell to do just that.
Second is to make virtualization easier. "If we end up with a new category of IT administrator, the virtual IT administrator, then we will have failed because that's another whole skill set the industry has to hire," says Crosby.
Third is the creation of industry standards to ensure that businesses don't get locked into one vendor's platform. Crosby was instrumental in bringing together the Open Virtual Machine Format group, which has defined a standard format to enable virtual machines to run on any hypervisor. "This moves us from a VHS vs. Betamax fight," he says. That's a role he's good at--breaking stalemates that impede growth.
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