The Virtue of Thinking Virtually

Which came first, the physical computer or the virtual computer?

holon (Greek: ὅλον, from ὅλοςholos, ‘whole’ and -ον-on, ‘part’) is something that is simultaneously a whole in and of itself, as well as a part of a larger whole. In other words, holons can be understood as the constituent part–wholes of a hierarchy. -wikipedia

I look at the internet and all of the infrastructure that makes it all happen. And what I see is a virtual world that is based on the physical world that we live in. That is, we have virtualized much of our lives to free up time to do things we were too busy for before just to survive. This should mean that we should be able to look at something like Google in its totality and make predictions about certain unseen things in our natural/physical world.

Which led me to another question now that we have virtual computers. Did we ever need physical computers in the first place?

The simple answer is yes. And it seems reasonable to conclude that we needed the physical thing by which to model the virtual thing. And ultimately there does need to be a physical machine layer as a foundation beneath virtual machines. However, virtual machines are just software and a virtual computer can run within a virtual machine.

I know, I know…Couldn’t it be virtual machines all the way down?

A virtual computer is an emulation of a computer system. Virtual machines are based on computer architectures that provide the functionality of a physical computer. They provide a substitute for a real machine. They provide the functionality needed to execute entire operating systems without the need for additional hardware.

All that to say…I think that there is a lot more going on in the physical world than we are aware of. I think this way because of the model we have created that we call the internet and all of its physical and virtual infrastructure.

This brings me to another question…

Is there such thing as a ruling class? An elite society of people that might be metaphorically considered the owners of the farm we live on.

Though I cannot point my finger at one or name the names of what would functionally be a governing body of sorts, I do believe there is justification for believing in one. Here is my thinking.

Ever heard of Docker containers and Kubernetes?

Basically, cloud computing and container orchestration, at least in my opinion demonstrate to me that there is a governing body above all the nations on this thing we call Earth, even if it is not in the form of human creatures.

In my opinion, when we look at our computers/smartphones we are looking at the surface of that example. Kind of. At least it is representative of existence as we know it, even if it is only one visible factor of many; some unseen but just as real.

In this scenario, we are the programs that run on the hardware we call computers. To the programs running on that hardware computer, that physical box is its universe. Now let’s put a whole bunch of these hardware computers into the cloud.

Back in the day, this was called grid computing. It was rooms filled with physical servers that were all self-contained containers each filled with many resources that were being completely underutilized. Now if there were only some way to pool all of these resources into one large bucket or container. And the cloud was born.

And so now, based upon resources needed that grid or cloud of machines can virtually, like literally virtually become hundreds of virtual computers utilizing only the resources they need at any given time. The leftover resources remain usable in the cloud. And each of these virtual computers is now called a container. They serve our favorite applications.

But how is all of this controlled? Layers upon layers of ones and zeroes.

From the perspective of the containers(states/nations) that serve the programs/applications(people), there is an orchestration that takes place. An orchestration(Kubernetes) that the applications are completely oblivious to, yet completely necessary for the form and function of that application. Kubernetes(conductor) is the chief god that orchestrates and serves the lesser god Docker(container) who in turn serves the people(application).