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News November 2007

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Virtualization is the "in thing" at the moment. It makes sense for underutilized servers with lax service level requirements to be combined - all those build servers, test servers, integration servers and so on, for the most part can easily run on systems where resources are shared without much impact. The level of isolation those systems need is perfectly handled by virtualizing them. From the performance monitoring point of view, though, servers running on virtualized kit can present new challenges that makes things far more complex when you are trying to understand what the system is doing and what your components are doing. That's an existing challenge for the performance monitoring community.

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Virtual servers are increasingly supporting different OSs running concurrently on the same machine. Seemingly every major OS will be supported as we progress, as well as special purpose OSs. That leads to an interesting option for Java servers - if you are already partitioning a box into different OSs, then it may become desireable for one of the partitions to be a Java OS - a Java virtual machine that runs directly to the hardware rather than using the OS. We already have these for dedicated hardware, so it's not a big stretch to extend that to a virtualized hardware partition. This is a realistic option for any virtual machine based technology - more so for Java given the amount of services and careful isolation that the JVM already provides, but is probably an option for the .NET CLR too. I can easily see an application server running directly in a virtual server partition, cutting out any reliance - and interference - from an operating system. I suspect it's only a matter of time.

Now on with our newsletter. Along with our usual lists of Java performance tools, news, articles, we have a very interesting article covering the lifecycle of finalizable objects in The Secret Life Of The Finalizer over at Fasterj.com. In addition, Javva The Hutt is back from holiday sharing a few emails with us, and as usual we have extracted tips from all of this month's articles.

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