Apple Kills Xserve To Allow Full Virtualization With VMware?
Warning: This blog entry is filled with unconfirmed rumors — but the rumors are strategic nonetheless. Steve Jobs has confirmed that Apple killed Xserve because almost nobody was buying them. So we can kiss that Apple hardware goodbye. But here’s an interesting twist: According to Virtulization.Info, new versions of VMware’s vSphere may allow Mac OS X to run virtualized on non-Apple servers. That’s potentially big news for VARs and MSPs that want to support multi-platform environments. Here’s the gossip.
Virtualization.Info reports that “William Lam, who runs the virtualGhetto blog has discovered more than 1200 undocumented VMware .vmx parameters”
Lam makes the following speculations:
- VMware vSphere is going to support virtual Hypervisors, specifically Microsoft and Xen.
- vSphere is going to support Mac OS X, by providing EFI Support and support for Darwin as guest OS.
Translation: Mac OS X (and its Unix backbone, Darwin) can run natively virtualized on hardware that supports vSphere.
Apple’s Inflection Point
Why is this important? In the past, Apple has not allowed virtualization of Mac OS X. When Mac OS X Leopard arrived, Apple finally allowed virtualization of Mac OS X… but only on Apple hardware. Apple also uses an EFI (extensible firmware interface) instead of a BIOS, which can make things tricky.
Apple’s apparent decision to allow Mac OS X virtualization on non-Apple servers is a big transition. This could mean Apple has realized that Xserve isn’t a key player, but Mac OS X is. Virtualization could then be the key ingredient that makes Apple a more strategic name in the server market.
It’s all pure conjecture based on some loose findings… but still, this has a lot of potential if it’s true.