Virtualisation is one of those clever solutions that, only now, seems to be becoming popular. As a phrase it covers a wide range of solutions, which can actually either aggregate or partition resources.

For instance, a virtualised operating system can aggregate the functions of many CPUs together so that it appears that there is in fact just one, whilst a virtual server solution can, through virtualisation, partition one server so that, in effect, it acts as many.

For one obscure vendors take on this check out this link, or for a wholly unbiased look, warts an all, check out this article.

Well that’s enough of the definitions. When I first heard of the term virtualisation, I have to admit that I pictured something akin to a ‘Matrix’ like virtual reality. This left me as cold as the Matrix sequels, which make the laughable Star Wars ones seem like mini-masterpieces of plotting, coherence and character development.

I think that my disillusionment with virtual reality can be put down to an early exposure to films such as Tron, and Brainstorm. These raised my hopes to an unrealistic level of what we could expect to be available.

I hoped that I would be able to live in virtual world, with a virtual mansion and take virtual holidays to virtual islands with spotless virtual beaches, with of course virtually no rain. Alas, this has not proved to be the case, and the best way of entering another world still seems to be through opening a book.

Virtualisation can promise none of those things, but it can help you run your legacy applications by creating a virtual environment where everything’s as it was 10 years ago.

OK, it’s not quite time travel, and it’s not a virtual reality that will matter much to people, but in terms of a utility it is exceptionally handy and probably something we’re going to see a lot more of.