John Sequeira


Friday, November 16, 2007
Mono for VM's?

BEA recently announced a version of their app server optimized for deployment via virtualization. They figured that since the Java platform virtualizes/abstracts the OS anyway, why not abstract to virtual hardware and just skip the guest OS completely? Less attack surface, less s/w to manage/update. Wins all around, as it represents a collapse of the distinction between container-based virtualization and OS-level virtualization, combining the often-competing benefits of performance and isolation.

Of course, the argument in favor of collapsing OS and language runtime virtualization applies equally well to the .NET platform. It occurred to me that, while I have every expectation that Microsoft will eventually abandon their unsustainable license-every-vm-instance strategy to both app and OS licensing, it could take a long time. Novell, just as they've jumped into decoupling Netware services from a host OS, has an opportunity to reinvent something that looks a lot like Netware+NLM for the virtualization crowd: a mono app server that runs on a hypervisor. This too seems inevitable, and much more compelling than the current duct-tape-required approach to mono-flavored ASP.NET deployment. Although mono is addressing their web deployment woes by going FastCGI (an absolute must for ISP deployment, and long overdue considering FastCGI amazing cost/benefit), Miguel : consider going virtual as well. I think there's much more chance of mono becoming a viable enterprise deployment option if you leapfrog Microsoft with this, and honestly it's a far worthier dev milestone than playing silverlight catchup with moonlight.

As I've said before, I love the ambition+audacity that mono represents. At the same time, I'm often pessimistic that it will ever appear on my radar, (is it just cygwin++?). I think getting ahead of Microsoft is the key, and until now I haven't seen how that is really possible.

Here's hoping that it is.
11:59:32 AM      comment []  trackback []

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