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Virtualization: A Manager's Guide by Dan Kusnetzky

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Chapter 2. Access Virtualization: Providing Universal Access

What Is Access Virtualization?

As we dive deeper into the model (see Figure 2-1), we start to understand how a virtual environment is created. Access virtualization hardware and software are designed to place access to applications and workloads in a virtual environment. The user interface, the business rules processing (the series of steps that make an application work), the data, and the storage management functions reside back in the network on a server. The server supporting this processing could be a Blade PC, a Blade Server, a virtual server, or a physical server. This technology allows “any place, any time, any device” computing.

Access virtualization
Figure 2-1. Access virtualization

As with other virtualization technologies, access virtualization has a long track record of success. The earliest forms of access virtualization were developed by mainframe suppliers, such as IBM, Burroughs (now part of Unisys), RCA, and others, to allow clusters of terminals to access applications running in the data center.

In 1983, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) partnered with IBM and Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of HP) in the Athena Project. The goal was to create a campus-wide computing environment. One of the products of that collaboration was the X-Windows system. X-Windows, now available for UNIX, Linux, Windows, and many mainframe ...

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