Also, says Friedman, the para-virtualization approach used by the virtualization industry can change some does change some underlying aspects of the OS, notably the OS drivers. "So if you have a dependency on specific drivers or hardware environment, that will be impacted. For example, there's a virtual NIC, and there's a specific driver. The driver is 'virtualization-aware.' You have to understand that if you need testing against a native set of drivers, you won't see that within a VM. So this impacts people doing driver development, but not web developers, etc."
And, Friedman points out, "if you have a multi-tiered application, which requires several machines, consolidating these to shared hardware means "you get a functional but not a performance test."
Despite those quibbles, virtualization already gives developers real benefits. "Virtualization makes our developers more productive once they learn to work with the technology," says Microsoft's Friedman. "It allows them to spend more of their time in coding, testing and debugging. It eliminates a lot of time and delay spent in set-up and preparation, which isn't where we want them to be spending the bulk of their time."
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