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Xen 2.0 Virtual Machine Monitor Released

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the xen-and-the-art-of-system-maintenance dept.

Operating Systems 199

An anonymous reader writes "The Xen team are pleased to announce the release of Xen 2.0, the open-source Virtual Machine Monitor. Xen enables you to run multiple operating systems images concurrently on the same hardware, securely partitioning the resources of the machine between them. Xen uses a technique called 'para-virtualization' to achieve very low performance overhead -- typically just a few percent relative to native. This new release provides kernel support for Linux 2.4.27/2.6.9 and NetBSD, with FreeBSD and Plan9 to follow in the next few weeks. Xen 2.0 runs on almost the entire set of modern x86 hardware supported by Linux, and is easy to 'drop-in' to an existing Linux installation. The new release has a lot more flexibility in how guest OS virtual I/O devices are configured. For example, you can configure arbitrary firewalling, bridging and routing of guest virtual network interfaces, and use copy-on-write LVM volumes or loopback files for storing guest OS disk images. Another new feature is 'live migration', which allows running OS images to be moved between nodes in a cluster without having to stop them. Visit the Xen homepage for downloads and documentation."

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199 comments

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733756)

fristy post

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733912)

And you forgot to apply the frosting to your well-crafted pist. Now we may never know the joys of frosting pists for the remainder of this century due to your irresponbility of maintaining frostiness within predetermined specifications.

The following graph indicates the proper curve of applying frost to your pist:


G |. .----- . .
e |. /. . .\ .
b | /. . . .----
u |/. . . . . .
s --------------
Time


P.S. - Stop stealing my bike's carbs to use them as crackpipes. Damn hobo!

Alas, no Windows... (5, Interesting)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733760)

A port of Windows XP was developed for an earlier version of Xen, but is not available for release due to licensce restrictions

Sigh... how hard would it be to get a license and distribute it as a binary-only module to people like me who'd be willing to pay for it? I'm sure it'd still be less expensive than the existing alternatives.

Otherwise this looks very nice. In fact, I didn't know that there was such a mature free virtual machine available.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733837)

The issue has more to do with Microsoft's licensing policies than money or binary distribution. 8-P I believe that it was done under the MS educational license.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733867)

The issue has more to do with Microsoft's licensing policies than money or binary distribution.

What other issues could there be preventing the purchase of a full license? VMware developers must have bought a license, so what's the problem here?

Re:Alas, no Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734005)

Restrictions in the educational access license if I remember correctly. Something to do with redistribution. Remember, these guys don't have the kind of money it would take to legally license the windows source code for a saleable product.

You can find the answer by browsing the xen-devel mailing list in early summer 2004 range.

If a company wanted to do it, they could get ahold of the code and create/sell a copy of XenWinXP.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734072)

Yes. As I said above, they'd have to buy a full license since the educational license won't do. And sure it would cost a lot of money, but that could be recouped by selling a Windows compatible Xen. That'd be a financial risk, yes, but they should also think of the potential financial rewards.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (4, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734248)

VMware developers must have bought a license, so what's the problem here?

VMware runs an unmodified version of Windows by presenting a virtual machine that is practically indistinguishable from a real PC. Therefore they don't need a license.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (4, Interesting)

Frasier (67878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733843)

Sigh... how hard would it be to get a license and distribute it as a binary-only module to people like me who'd be willing to pay for it?

Microsoft has their own virtual server product. They propably do not want competition, especially something that allows one to run Windows XP and Linux on the same machine at the same time.

I would personally love to have access to a Windows system without having to dedicate entire machine for it. But Microsoft has not, is not, and propably will not show any signs of willingness to cooperate with non-Microsoft systems.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (3, Interesting)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733884)

MS's virtual server allows linux distro's. See my other comment here [slashdot.org]

Re:Alas, no Windows... (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734111)

VirtualPC runs Linux like crap. The sound doesn't work and is less than stable.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (1)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734460)

I don't know about the stability I haven't stayed on any distro for long enough (I only got VPC a couple of days ago), but yeah the sound is out. There are instructions out there to configure it though. I just love the fact I don't have to have a boot menu 3 screens long

Steal or Deal? (2, Informative)

ringe82 (733774) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734526)

Most people with a little knowledge of history would say so, but I think we've got to realize Microsoft finally seems to know there's a time to steal and a time to deal.
Work on Xen has been supported by UK EPSRC grant GR/S01894, Intel Research, HP Labs and
Microsoft Research.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (1)

big ben bullet (771673) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733972)

you can run xp in vmware

you can have more than one vmware running on the same machine

vmware runs on linux and on xp (different versions though) but is not free software

Re:Alas, no Windows... (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734030)

Yes. I know. I bought and used a copy of VMware before the price went through the roof.

As I said above, I don't think that Xen + licensed Windows-compatibility module would cost as much as VMware and other alternatives.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (3, Informative)

petaflop (682818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734050)

Which is very interesting, given that that project is sponsered by the EPSRC (Engineering and physical sciences research council) and Microsoft UK. See page 11 of the White paper [cam.ac.uk] for details.

Re:Alas, no Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734149)

Would it be feasible to write a "crack" for the nt/2k/xp kernel (like the ones often seen for games) that would make windows work on xen?

How about if hardware manufactures started putting this into the bios and calling it a new platform that just so happens to be nearly identical to and backwards compatible with x86. Would Microsoft have to start supporting it then?

Re:Alas, no Windows... (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734217)

How about if hardware manufactures started putting this into the bios and calling it a new platform that just so happens to be nearly identical to and backwards compatible with x86. Would Microsoft have to start supporting it then?

If a major hardware manufacturer were to release and sell significant numbers of a PC that windows wouldn't run on, MS would do what they used to do back in the Windows 2/3 days -- release a special OEM version that will work (see e.g. RM Nimbus 186s).

Of course no hardware manufacturer is likely to be able to sell significant numbers of a PC that won't run windows. Catch-22.

Obligotory. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733761)

Oh man, can you imagine the overhead on a virtual beowulf cluster using this?

Reminds me of a riddle (paraphrased): (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734281)

Q: Why did the company with the virtual beowulf cluster, which was directly beneath a brothel, go out of business?

A: Because there was too much fucking overhead!

Re:Obligotory. (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734509)

Given the tasks that the average /. reader would actually be trying to run on a Beowulf cluster, there would be no loss of efficiency. :)

That's cool... (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733767)


So from a Linux or Plan9 VM I can watch the BSD VMs die in realtime!

disclaimer: I love OpenBSD

No OpenBSD support? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734315)

That would be great running Linux with a built in secure firewall OpenBSD based of course.

64 bit? (3, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733768)

Does it work with AMD64? How about with one 64 and one 32 bit OS? The FAQ just says "x86".

Re:64 bit? (3, Informative)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733792)

AMD64 is x86-64, and yes it is x86-compatible.
It should work

Re:64 bit? (2, Informative)

isolationism (782170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734396)

Being an Athlon 64 Socket 939 owner I tried to do just that -- unfortunately it didn't compile cleanly "out of the box" (at least, for me) just yet, it errors out on compiling file_stream.o because of something to do with libxutil.so.

You could probably compile it fine in a 32-bit chroot or something, but I'll leave that to someone else to try. I'm happy to wait for release 2.x for full AMD64 support.

Of course, don't let me stop you from trying. Anyone who does get it to compile, let us know what you did ...

Re:64 bit? (5, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733804)

From the manual:

A port specifically for x86/64 is in progress, although Xen already runs on such systems in 32-bit legacy mode

MODS ON CRACK - MOD PARENT BACK UP (0, Offtopic)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734349)

This isn't redundant. It's the only post in the entire thread that asks a very important question.

And the point of this application is.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733776)

Anyone..anyone..

Re:And the point of this application is.. (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733796)


Let's assume you're an ISP and have a few big machines on the racks. Your customers don't want or need that much horsepower but want their webserver (which you maintain) to run under Linux, or NetBSD, or FreeBSD, or whatever.. You can do it.

Let's assume you're a developer and want to test your code under various OSs, now you can do it on the same box in realtime (read: no reboots)

The list goes on and on, it's a great technology.

Re:And the point of this application is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733816)

Ahh..cool.. thanks for the explanation.

Re:And the point of this application is.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733862)

Actually, a couple ISPs and datacenters are already working on using Xen for this exact purpose.

http://xen.terrabox.com will be back online in the next 72 hours. You can find a wiki about xen there. One page is available for listing of any companies that offer Xen based virtual servers. So far the customers that i have setup under Xen have been quite impresed with the speed and stability as compared to the traditional virtualized and meta-virtualied linux vhost setups. :)

Re:And the point of this application is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733985)

Developing cluster applications without needing three machines crammed under the desk. Two VMs to act as cluster members, one VM to act as client and one VM to read Slashdot on.

Unfortunately, cluster applications will still need testing on real hardware for performance measurement and failover tests, but most of the code development can be carried out on a regular server.

More importantly, you can keep one VM with your work running and switch over when the PHB comes towards your cube.

It's not really useful if... (4, Funny)

spidergoat2 (715962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733781)

It can't run AmigaDOS.

Re:It's not really useful if... (4, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733821)

Yeah, I agree. These guys missed a huge user base by completely missing the point of running virtual machines. It looks like I'm still stuck in the mud until someone develops a solution to get all my TRS-80 apps working again.

(Note to mods: take a joke)

Mac? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733782)

Yes, but can it run Mac?

but... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733785)

does it run linux?

Since we all love screenshots... (5, Informative)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733791)

Re:Since we all love screenshots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733909)

try to hack my box: 127.0.0.1 eh?

(laugh; long day, need more coffe ...)

Re:Since we all love screenshots... (1)

erykjj (213892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733964)

That was easy! Got root no problem... deleted all your files! HAHAHA!

Re:Your sig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733929)

207.46.0.0 - 207.46.255.255
Microsoft Corp
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA
US

Re:Your sig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733944)

Almost got in... if it wasn't for them darn linux boxen!

Great for free "UX's" but not for Win32 (5, Informative)

slashnik (181800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733797)

from http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/faq .html

1.3 Which OSes run on Xen?
To achieve such high performance, Xen requires that OSes are ported to run on it. So far we have stable ports of Linux 2.4, Linux 2.6, and NetBSD. Ports of FreeBSD and Plan 9 are nearing completion.

Not as cool. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733809)

From the FAQ, it states that you can only run OS's ported to it. While this might be great for cluster testing, or software design, this is defintely no VMware replacement. I am slightly disappointed in this, but I can see where it has its place.

Re:Not as cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733974)

It's not as hard as you think to port an OS over to Xen. I havne't done it myself, so I can't say exactly how hard it is, I can merely infer from watching the mailing list for xen developers over the last 9 months and seeing plan9, and Freebsd become available fairly quickly for Xen2.0. ;)

versus UML? (-1, Offtopic)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733815)

I'm using UML right now, is this comparable/interchangable, and what would be the benefits?

Re:versus UML? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733905)

UML has MASSIVE context switching overhead.
UML runs insidethe host OS and thus is a security risk.
UML doesn't access hardware via native drivers (PCI hardware that is).
UML is DOG slow compared to xen domains for IO.

I could go on. UML is/was a good solution, but if you wanted a BSD, plan9, or other OS trunnign on the same hardware as linux, forget it.

Under Xen, you can run 1 domain that uses hda, hdb, and the USB stuff directly, a second accesses a second IDE set at hde and hdf and a second PCI video card.

Remembers, xen isn't about just launchign another OS, it's about splitting up the hardware in a secure fashion. :)

Bochs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733834)

How is this different, to say, Bochs?

Re:Bochs (1)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734474)

Bochs is a very, very slow emulator. It is mainly used in areas where completely accurate, tracable emulation is required. It is also portable to non x86 architectures.

Xen uses virtualization (not emulation) to run multiple processes. It allows the vast majority of code to run natively on the processor. It is not portable. It is, however, very fast: usually within a few percent of native speeds.

Xen works by modifying the source of the operating system. That allows them to have a much more lightweight virtualization system that is also faster. But that's why you can't run Windows.

It's not enough (-1, Troll)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733845)

I've spent the last few days beating my head against the wall trying to get windows 98 to cooperate with qemu. While the novelty of being able to serve up netbsd/whatever service to isp customers is nifty, the real need for virtualisation is to run windows applications under linux that people rely on to the point of not being able to adopt Linux.

Xen does not, and can not address that need, so it's useless for mainstream linux.

Re:It's not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733887)

running binaries for one distro on another distro isn't machine virtualization. What you want is WINE or win4lin.

Only an idiot calls something lame when it's the wrong tool for what they want to do.

Mainstream Linux people want to run virtual Win98? (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734125)

I musn't be a mainstream Linux user anymore by the looks of it, because I don't want to run a virtualised version of any MS products.

I think mainstream Linux is still in the server space, and I think Xen (and qemu and UML) in those environments would be very useful.

Re:Mainstream Linux people want to run virtual Win (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734312)

Sorry that I wasn't clearer; I meant that mainstream computer users won't adopt linux until it is able to run the applications that they rely on.

And no, right now wine and codeweavers don't cut it (I can just imagine telling someone "yeah, here's a free operating system for ya, you just have to pay to run anything you need to run" LOL!)

Wine? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734255)

Whats wrong with wine? I know it isn't perfect, but most apps run just fine under wine. I'm sure CodeWeavers would love to fix whatever part is missing that makes your app not work, for some $$$. (Depends on the problem of course, there are a lot of things wrong that would only take a month to fix, so some money will often help them choose which to do)

Re:It's not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734274)

I've spent the last few days beating my head against the wall trying to get windows 98 to cooperate with qemu.

For fucks sake! If you're going to pay for Windows 98 you might as well also pay for VMWare.

On the other hand if you're going to pirate Windows 98 you may as well also pirate VMWare.

Re:It's not enough (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734372)

Many people already own a copy of Windows 98. Most of the PCs that currently exist were sold with a copy of it, I believe.

Re:It's not enough (2, Informative)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734501)

For fucks sake! If you're going to pay for Windows 98 you might as well also pay for VMWare.

On the other hand if you're going to pirate Windows 98 you may as well also pirate VMWare.


VMware is hundreds, read that again: hundreds of dollars; windows 98....isn't.

Also, the version which I'm using is an upgrade version I have which came with a used laptop I paid $50 for a couple years back. When it asks for the windows disks I'm upgrading from, I throw in the windows 3.1 disks I've had sitting around since 94.

As far as vmware goes. vmware will not switch to fullscreen mode because of weirdness with DGA under X which I could not fix even after spending a fair amount of time googling for it; that alone puts it in the not-for-thirty dollars camp, and definately not for hundreds of $$$.

Fruit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733846)

So I can run Pear OS on one and Cherry OS on the other?

lame (-1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733856)

I remember this from a year ago. It's completely lame, in a literal sense. It requires that you port whatever operating system to run in the Xen environment. Oh yeah, that's gonna take off alright.

Re:lame (1)

afd8856 (700296) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734065)

They have ported linux and in for virtual hosting it's what matters. It serves its purpose perfectly right.

Re:lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734401)

It's completely lame, in a literal sense. It requires that you port whatever operating system to run in the Xen environment. Oh yeah, that's gonna take off alright.

Ok, you're obviously not working on anything even remotely interesting. What do you do? Maintain a small office network and troubleshoot printers all day?

Virtualization is the big thing for datacenters and ISPs. (Hint: google for sun N1). Apart from things like clustering, scalability, etc, etc the most important thing is that it creates an abstraction layer between the raw iron of the server and the OS. This allows you to programmatically create, destroy, clone or copy instances of systems in reaction to network events, outages, etc, etc.

Oh yeah, that's totally lame! Can't imagine why anyone would want that!

MS have one of these (0, Redundant)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733859)

This sounds a lot like MS Virtual Machine [microsoft.com] which lets you run different operating systems.

It sets up single-file hard drives which you can delete if you don't want em.

Right now I have windows 3.11(!) + 95 + 98 + me + 2k + longhorn beta + xp + 3 distros of linux + dos 6.22 all as seperate images.

Sadly it doesn't do mac but despite it's limitations (it uses a seriously old emulated gpu and sound), it has at least let me get linux onto the net without a fuss (couldn't even get linux to install my modem before)

Anyway plug over, that's what it sounds like.

Re:MS have one of these (3, Informative)

LilMikey (615759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734020)

Yes, yes... MS bought out Virtual PC. That was a sad day. There's also VMWare and Virtuozzo if you're looking for any way to "run" 2 OSes at once. I'd have to say that VMWare and VirtualPC are in a class seperate from Xen if for no other reason than performance.

Xen is designed to run the client operating system as peers. No single vm can steal the whole machine away from the others and the performance overhead of the virtulization is almost nothing as indicated here [cam.ac.uk]. No Virtual PC in that graph but in my experience VMWare performs slightly better than Virtual PC and my observations are supported by these guys [lycos.es]. VMWare and VirtualPC run the OS as just another processes in the real OS. Something terrible happens to the host OS and the VPC/VM slows to a crawl. Something major happens in the virtual OS and the host slows to a crawl. They're more emulation that virtualization.

Re:MS have one of these (1)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734135)

both have a server version too, which is quite different than what you describe.
they're called virtual server and gsx server iirc (too lazy to look them up)

Re:MS have one of these (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734485)

VMware GSX server isn't that much different from VMware workstation, except you don't need to run the GUI to boot the VMs - I have 8 VMs (including my main PDC) booting on a dedicated machine (it's cheaper to pay for VMWare GSX + a 2GB Shuttle than buy 8 PCs, by a long way). They all fire up on bootup, and the remote console lets me log onto them as needed.

I believe ESX server is something different, but having never seen it (you can't even get a demo without waving money in their face) I couldn't be certain.

This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (5, Interesting)

ites (600337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733870)

Big difference. VMWare is about virtualising a foreign OS. Since VMWare abstracts at the BIOS and hardware level it can run almost all OSes the CPU will support but it takes a large performance hit.

Xen is a VM platform, i.e. it lets you set up multiple virtual machines that run with very little extra overhead. A lot like User Mode Linux, except easier to configure and install.

Here's a typical use case: you want to make a network "security box" that includes firewall, proxy, web server, email, wiki, irc. Now, conventionally you put all these services in the same Linux system (or whatever OS you use). Using Xen you run all of the services in their own virtual machine, so that if the firewall gets compromised, for instance, an attacker cannot get access to other parts of your system.

It's a very useful tool.

Oh, another use case I just thought of too: how about a 'hidden' Linux OS on your Windows box that does all your email, browsing, and other Internet work that you want to keep secure. Click the icon, up pops Mozilla, except it's running in a different virtual OS.

Yup, definitely very useful.

Re:This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (2, Insightful)

Boeboe (815330) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733941)

We already have something much more useful tool for that: cygwin. THE way to compile and run native linux apps on windows without wasting an excessive amount of systeml resources.

Re:This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734156)

uh, dude, did you even read the parent post?

Re:This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734291)

We already have something much more useful tool for that: cygwin. THE way to compile and run native linux apps on windows without wasting an excessive amount of systeml resources.

Err.. right. Cygwin does not run "native linux apps". It is a POSIX compatible C library combined with a VFS layer that presents a Unix-like filesystem when run on Windows. It has nothing to do with Linux, the only thing about that is native is that it is a piece of Windows software that runs on Windows. And given the slow implementation of fork() that they use, I'd say an excessive amount of system resources are wasted, particularly if you run a lot of complicated shell scripts. 'configure' for many packages takes 10-20 minutes to run on my system, compared to about 2 for similar complexity under Linux.

Re:This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733945)

Actually, UML isn't designed to split up the hardwre directly. Instead it's designed to make use of the host OS's supported hardware. If aperson gets root on a uml, then they could load the host driver and be able to seee the host machine as the user that UML is running as. In theory this could lead to a full root comprimise of ALL of the hosts. 8-P

Xen can do everything that UML can, just much faster and more secure in my opinion. I used to use 20+ UMLs. Grabbed xen 1.2 and fell in love with the speed difference. Suddenly my athlon boxes could host twice as many virtual hosts as before. :)

Re:This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733979)

Oh, another use case I just thought of too: how about a 'hidden' Linux OS on your Windows box that does all your email, browsing, and other Internet work that you want to keep secure. Click the icon, up pops Mozilla, except it's running in a different virtual OS.

Or the reverse.. run XP on top of Linux for the few apps that need it. Though I don't think Microsoft will allow that to happen. The Xen guys have XP working as a virtual OS in their labs, but for obvious reasons they can't release that.

Re:This is a VM platform, not a VMWare competitor (2, Interesting)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733980)

Here's a typical use case: you want to make a network "security box" that includes firewall, proxy, web server, email, wiki, irc.

My preference for this would be Linux VServer [linux-vserver.org] or jails on BSD which have practically no overhead. Xen would only be useful if the requirement is to run different OS's on the same machine.

Security box? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734464)

Here's a typical use case: you want to make a network "security box" that includes firewall, proxy, web server, email, wiki, irc. Now, conventionally you put all these services in the same Linux system (or whatever OS you use). Using Xen you run all of the services in their own virtual machine, so that if the firewall gets compromised, for instance, an attacker cannot get access to other parts of your system.

Who in their right mind would ever consider putting a firewall, email, web server, and IRC on the same box? A *firewall* for God's sakes. I wouldn't put that combination together on any one box, even with Xen 2.0.

Oh, another use case I just thought of too: how about a 'hidden' Linux OS on your Windows box that does all your email, browsing, and other Internet work that you want to keep secure. Click the icon, up pops Mozilla, except it's running in a different virtual OS.

Sounds more like a job for VMWare.

-matthew

Absolutely cool tech! (4, Interesting)

a_hofmann (253827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733907)

GPLed virtualization software that according to the benchmarks [cam.ac.uk] achieves performance unseen in current approaches - sounds like a dream come true.

It would be astonishing if those benchmark numbers hold true in a production environment, which might well be as the selected benchmarks (SPECint, Postgres, Apache, ..) should give a fair picture of the overall performance hit for the virtualized systems.

Being able to partition your OS without serious performance implication would open a whole lot of new possibilities for developers that previously where only possible with huge investments in high-end hardware and expensive virtualization software licenses.

I've already decided: My price for the most useful opensourced application in 2004 goes to..... Xen :)

Re:Absolutely cool tech! (1)

roror (767312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733946)

Just not fair to compare it with vmware workstation 3.2. vmware workstation 4.5 kicks ass.

Re:Absolutely cool tech! (1)

a_hofmann (253827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734028)

Yes, it is unfair to compare with an old version of VMware. (Probably this is only a license issue, or would you invest 200 bucks for a new VMware version to be able to do up-to-date benchmarks?)

Still I suspect that the performance gain not to be that huge. VMware is another class of virtualization software that does not only allow you to run different host and target OSs but also to emulate hardware not installed in the system at all.

As I understand Xen it only does virtualization of the existing hardware to allow to concurrently run multiple instances of the installed OS. This is a different goal, and IMO explains the big performance gap between those two.

Re:Absolutely cool tech! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733958)

I don't have a page you can visit but in practice I was able to run 2x as many virtual hosts under xen than I could with the same hardware under UMLs at even faster speeds. I just ran out of physical memory on the athlon machines is all. :)

So yeah, the benchmarks really are very close to real world results from my personal experience.

Plan9 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733924)

Does anyone actually use Plan9?

Multiple OSs (1)

Captain Salty Pete (760990) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734000)

I've been wondering for years whether this would be feasible, but my idea was to thread each OS to a different processor. That said, I've never known assembly and have no idea whether I'm being painfully naive here.

Re:Multiple OSs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734129)

The Acorn RISC PC was able to do something roughly similar to what you suggest: it had a StrongARM that would run the native RISC OS, and an optional 586 processor on a daughter-board that would run DOS/Windows at the same time. The two operating systems were therefore threaded (in a rather crude way) to the two different processors.

My very own cluster.. (1)

4nd3r5 (732488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734023)

With this software you can simulater your very own super computer.. thats absolutely great..

Big glue gene or what ever prepare to die..

Re:My very own cluster.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734309)

The idea of a supercomputer is to run *one* system image on *many* processors.

This is the opposite: running many different system images on one processor.

If you want clustering, there's Beowulf already. And guess what, your cluster doesn't turn into a supercomputer just by adding a pile of NICs and a mile of Cat-5. You need cross-system and I/O bandwidth out the wazoo, and low delays a cluster can't dream of, and these hardware solutions are the expensive thing about those IBM or Tera/Cray or SGI or Hitachi or NEC monsters...

Perhaps Blue Gene/L shall remain most alive and kicking, even with this particular Virtual Machine which requires dedicated OS ports to function at all.

Thanks, Xen guys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734064)

Oooo - this is really cool! And incredibly timely as well.

I've got a project at work where I can use this stuff *now*. And it ought to speed up my development considerably.

Many, many thanks to the folks who put it together.

No Windows Support (1)

scupper (687418) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734094)

" A port of Windows XP was developed for an earlier version of Xen, but is not available for release due to licensce restrictions."

Awe, shucks.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734107)

...x86 machines virtualise you!

Xen? I hated that level (1)

magefile (776388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734121)

Xen? I hated that level - too much jumping. Oh, wait, this is something else, isn't it?

Re:Xen? I hated that level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10734393)

Heh. Long live HL. I was kinda expecting an app hosting / user cushioning system like Novell's Zen Works...

But maybe we'll get it for KDE as "Ken", at which point I'll revive the Soviet Sad Man :*( for good reason.

Extremely Useful (1)

t'mbert (301531) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734137)

This is extremely useful!

For example, I host my websites with host provider. I'd like to install tomcat and run some JSP/J2EE. The application I'd like to run won't work in a hosted environment, where I share my server space with hundreds of other users in virtual domains. I need my own server, but that's cost-prohibitive.

So if I want to run that app, I have to get a hosted server and set it up. My provider has to rack another server and I have to pay quite a bit extra to get it. Not anymore, now my provider sets a virtual server for me on a single piece of hardware that I share with others.

There are any number of apps out there that just won't play well in a virtual domain environment, and yet don't justify dedicated servers either.

On top of that, according to the install guide, the virtual machines can be moved on the fly(!) to other physical hosts, allowing for balancing and perhaps cluster services. If one piece of hardware becomes overloaded, a new host can be setup and the heavily-loaded guest moved to the new host, incurring no downtime in the process.

Heck, we incur downtime and alot of work to move apps to newer, beefier hardware. Imagine if you could move your app on the fly to new hardware? If you setup all of your servers to run as guest OS in Xen, even if there is only one guest per server, you still benefit for being able to migrate on the fly.

Timbert

Re:Extremely Useful (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734328)

1and1.com has dedicated servers for 49 per month.

It's like a celron 2.0, 256MB ram and 40gb of ide disk with 500GB of transfer.

Re:Extremely Useful (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734482)

They also have very bad customer service, in my limited experience of them (which was, admittedly, trying to port a domain away from them that one of my clients had registered and then promptly forgotten his username and password).

Virtualisation features? (1)

jguthrie (57467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10734555)

According to the Xen FAQ, (question 1.4, the one about Microsoft Windows) "virtualisation features in next-generation CPUs should make it much easier to support unmodified OSes". Does anyone know what virtualisation features they're talking about?
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