by Ju Huang

Andreessen Horowitz

Imagine carrying around a bag of cell phones everywhere because you needed to use a new and separate piece of hardware for every single app — games, email, etc. — that you currently run on a single smartphone today.

Seems crazy, but that’s essentially what our model for computing used to be, with standalone silos of hardware for separate applications. When an application wasn’t being used, the hardware and operating system dedicated to it was still sucking power and resources. It was highly inefficient. (In our bag of cellphones analogy, this would be like having one cellphone dedicated to games and still carrying it around with you everywhere all day — even though you only needed to do email during the day).

Then along came virtual machines (VMs), which allowed many applications to run on top of a single piece of hardware (by making it look like multiple physical computers)…

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