I came across some interesting news today (Linky) that said Neterion is releasing a fairly hardcore network card designed for offloading VM Network management from the Hypervisor. I think this has the potential to be quite an interesting field in the future…in small scale Virtualisation deployments it’s not such a big deal that the Hypervisor has to do all the legwork for IO, but when you scale up to much larger deployments, network IO has the potential to be a significant bottleneck. You can mitigate this somewhat by utilising the physical network card, but this in turn shifts the load onto the host OS. It should be interesting to see in future what else hardware manufacturers come up with along similar lines: VM aware disk & memory controllers, for example…Intel have already made strides towards VM aware CPUs with VT as well.
Being a rather geeky type, I’m quite excited to see what all these clever hardware types come up with in the next few years…wouldn’t it be nice to be able to buy a server full of VM aware kit which lets you run multiple VMs as quickly as if you were using just one host OS? I can’t see virtualisation going away any time soon, it’s just too damn useful – so I reckon this might be something just around the corner.