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February 11, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Of all the internet-related announcements to come out of this week’s Demo 99 conference, the one that seems to have caught most imaginations is the announcement of VMware Virtual Platform. The product is a thin software layer designed to free users from the one machine, one operating system model of computing, the company explains. Yet VMware is quick to emphasize that Virtual Platform is not emulation software. Instead, it lets users establish multiple virtual machines on a single computer. Each VM can run a standard Intel x86 operating system and applications, and each is isolated from the others. VMware Virtual Platform is designed that way so that if one system crashes or an application hangs, other environments should not be affected. Priced at $99, VMware Virtual Platform supports Linux, FreeBSD, Windows NT, Windows 95 and DOS. Who would want such a thing? The company suggests that developers could use the software to write and test applications to work on all of these operating systems, organizations could use it to simplify OS upgrades, and sales and marketing professionals could run it on their laptops to demonstrate software across multiple platforms. VMware claims the system avoids the performance penalties of emulation or simulation, and sidesteps the risks of disk partitioning or re-booting. So how does it work? We’ll let you know as soon as the company returns our calls. Incidentally, Bob Young, chair and CEO of Red Hat Software Inc, has welcomed VMware Virtual Platform as a way of increasing the Linux user base.

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