May 01 2013

How Steve Wozniak Explains Virtualization

Fusion-io's chief scientist breaks virtualization down into terms everyone can understand.

As a co-founder of Apple in its early days, Steve Wozniak has earned a reputation as a geek’s geek. His granular-level knowledge of hardware and software makes him a sought-after guru on most things IT.

In 2009, Wozniak entered the storage business and joined Fusion-io as the company’s chief scientist. When he spoke with BizTech at the time, he envisioned the possibility for the company’s solid-state storage solutions to catalogue and index data at a scale previously unseen.

“[Y]ou can search through entire film archives online for people with Clark Gable’s facial features or for a line of dialogue from The Big Sleep. [Fusion-io’s storage technology is] an amazing tool that will enable that kind of interaction with media,” Wozniak said.

Now, Fusion-io is putting the Woz’s big brain to work educating people on IT topics with its “Whiteboarding with the Woz” series. His explanation of virtualization makes the concept both easy to understand and relatable by using housing as an analogy.

“To understand how virtualization works, let's imagine a big house with only one person living in it. More room than one person needs. The owner decides he can rent out each of his extra rooms to put the space to use,” Wozniak says.

“Today's servers are similar. They have more processing power than one application may need. By adding virtualization, multiple applications can run at the same time on a single server, while sharing some resources like storage and memory,” he adds.

Wozniak goes on to address throughput issues and computing bottlenecks as well.