The Religion of Virtualization

I never thought of it this way, but alas, this weekend, a few folks have spent quite some time on it.

It started with Brenda at Virtual Gipsy:

Of the things I learned while studying anthropology, the one that stuck most was to always pay attention to that which stands out. Unexpected behavior, words that surprise you. The one thing that most caught my attention since I have been studying the (virtual) community of people that share an interest in virtualisation, is the use of religion-related words to describe virtualisation-related topics.

Words like guru, evangelist, high priests, cardinals, belief, followers, gospel, VMware-ism, atheist and disciples were all used several times in my (virtual or physical) presence. That struck me, since I had never before associated software with something ’soft’ like religion. I had always thought of it as scientific: mathematical, logical, measurable, and not as emotional, spiritual and intuitive. But hey, if they say so, and keep saying it, there has got to be something more to it right? I have divided these religion-related words into two groups: the ones that describe certain categories of people (guru, evangelist, high priest, cardinal, follower, atheist and disciple) and the ones that point at virtualisation as a whole (belief, gospel and VMware-ism

Rich at VM /Etc had this to add:

First, wikipedia describes religion in part as:

“… both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. “Religion” is sometimes used interchangeably with “faith” or “belief system,”but it is more socially defined than personal convictions, and it entails specific behaviors, respectively.”

Using that aspect of the definition, it’s easy to see how virtualization, not to mention any widely adopted technology, can be compared to a religion. However, the prevalent popularity of virtualization today and the constant debate over which vendor offers the best data center salvation choice makes for a well defined congregation

It’s odd to think of it in this way, but when thought of loosely, the concepts seem to work both ways. Either way, it gives you a new way to look at things. If Virtualization is to be the new religion of the datacenter, I propose him as our religious leader:


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