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VMWare Rolls Out Their Largest Product Release

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the virutally-a-full-blown-release dept.

154

opieum writes "VMware has launched Virtual Infrastructure 3.0 today which includes ESX 3.0 and a number of management utilities." Relatedly Jane Walker writes "SearchOpenSource has two authors that try to show why VMware ESX Server is miles ahead of Xen and Virtual Server. Discover what to watch out for when running ESX Server and how to avoid sprawl in your virtual data center."

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MIles ahead (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15476999)

and a few dollars ahead too!

Slashdot Rolls Out... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477000)

... their new not-so-subtle advertising section.

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (0, Offtopic)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477075)

On top of their eye hurtingly css styles

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (1)

BTO (604614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477206)

...and their grammarly adverbingly user comments

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (3, Funny)

SUSaiyan (979695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477094)

new?

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (1)

chicagotypewriter (933271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477293)

Its news to me at least. I've never seen this look before.

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (1)

SUSaiyan (979695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477840)

The look is new, yes (well, like half a day old), however i was referring to the not-so-subtle advertising section, which is not that new...

Slashdot's new advertising section... (1)

sr180 (700526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477174)

Look in the menu bar on the left for vendors, AMD.. That is there new advertising section, and there is nothing subtle about it... AMD [slashdot.org]

Re:Slashdot's new advertising section... (1)

GraemeDonaldson (826049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15478037)

The vendor's section isn't new it's been there for ages.

Re: So? (5, Insightful)

L.Bob.Rife (844620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477334)

As it happens, I can't always get by in my job using only free non-commercial software. Now, I have to assume that several other people here are in the same boat, and commercial software can provide value to them. Given those circumstances, I'd prefer seeing a debate about the relative merits of particular software packages, and discuss it, rather than dismissing a product because it costs money. And if slashdot happens to make a side profit, more power to them.

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (0, Offtopic)

Dissectional (528344) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477492)

Score 4?

Thats bullshit. I need to meta-moderate.

Thats a 5, easily.

The headline on the article heading (1)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477813)

was brought to you by...
of course, the Department of Redundancy Department.
Your friends in need. Meaning when you need it, not when we need it.

Re: Slashdot Rolls Out... (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477967)

If you think this is new, you've not been paying attention. There have been the odd stories about products that looked for all the world like thinly-veiled adverts. One for an LCD monitor springs to mind; I don't have time to dig out the link (I should be on my way to work even now), but the story was based on a review at Tom's. The summary here painted a glowing picture, but quoted the review very selectively. The review itself was very much less glowing, essentially saying "looks great, shame about the panel". I can only assume that the poster was attempting to exploit the common practice of not bothering to read the article...

I'm not complaining; after all, /. costs me nothing and no-one's forcing me to read it. I actually think it's interesting, and something that's likely to only happen more often. After all, I assume that /. is mostly advertising supported, yet a large proportion of the readership is anti-ads enough and tech savvy enough to block most/all ads, and the owners know that...

VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5.x? (3, Informative)

ruckc (111190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477013)

A year ago i used the trial vmware workstation for a while, i liked it, but i wasn't willing to pay the cash to keep it. Just recently VMWare released VMWare Server which works on my XP Pro machine and appears to be a rebranded VMWare Server 5.0 that I used a year ago, for free.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (3, Interesting)

Keaster (796594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477028)

It was thier GSX server product rebranded.

WORD

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (2, Insightful)

ruckc (111190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477066)

Then was their GSX Server equal to their workstation product? And if so why are they charging $189 for a workstation product when Server now does the same thing?

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477112)

I suspect vmware server must have a clean-room reimplementation of a lot of features from gsx/workstation - and testing on people who want vmware for free is a great plan -- GSX/ESX still keeps its high reliability and you can work the bugs out of the new code so only the highest quality parts are committed into GSX/ESX's codebase

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477271)

GSX is being replaced by the VMware Server product.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

Keaster (796594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477127)

Because M$ gave away thier VM product for free.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477196)

Except that Vmware gave away Vmware Server a month before microsoft released their version for free.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

EvilSS (557649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477149)

No. Workstation is geared to developers/testers. For example it supports VM teaming and multiple undo snapshots.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477350)

from what i can gather recent versions of workstation (i've only used old versions so i dunno how true this is) have some desktop user (e.g. software devloper/tester) orientated features that server doesn't.

it seems vmware is trying to set up a free taster product and a better premium product in both client and server categories. In the desktop space player is the taster product and workstation is the premium product. In the server space server is the taster product and ESX is the premimum product.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (5, Informative)

ChipX86 (102440) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477384)

As one of the developers of both VMware Server 1.0 and Workstation 5.x, let me clear this up.

(Also, this blog entry [chipx86.com] might help with a few common misconceptions)

VMware Server, while similar in appearance and sharing much of the same functionality as Workstation, is a completely different product with a different use case and target audience. It is the successor to GSX, and is for people who want to set up, well, servers! The key feature that Server has that Workstation does not is remoting, where you run a server on a computer and connect to it from a separate computer via a remote console or web interface. The VMs can start up with the computer, shut down with it, and can be accessed by multiple users. The VMs also don't require an X installation to run the VMs, nor does it require any sort of UI to be running for the VM to run.

Workstation has a number of features that Server does not have. Among other differences, it supports multiple snapshots, teams of VMs (where multiple VMs can start up/shutdown together, can be in their own special network with custom NIC speeds and packet loss), and 3D acceleration in the guest (currently experimental, and requires DirectX in the guest for now). We have a lot in the works for the product, and the gap will widen.

The one difference that people seem to for some reason get upset over is the price. Workstation costs $189, while Server is free. People have asked me why they should get Workstation if Server is free. The answer is that you should get Workstation if it has the features you want. If Server is better suited to your requirements or budget, go ahead and get that. We're not trying to force you into buying Workstation, and we're in no way crippling the VMs. A VM made in Server should work in Workstation and Player just fine. Likewise, a VM made in Workstation should work in Server or Player.

Workstation is not somehow "better" than Server just because it costs more. It's a different product. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, Server is free while Workstation is not, and part of this is because that's where mid-level server virtualization products were heading. Microsoft was considerably lowering the price on Virtual Server in an effort to hurt GSX sales. Xen, while not a huge contender in the enterprise yet, is free and good work is being done on it. Workstation, however, is unique enough in its dev/test features and still has value that we and our customers still feel is worth something. And you'll see that value continue to grow over time, just as you will with our other products.

I hope that helped you understand why we're still charging for Workstation while Server is free. Choose whichever product you like: Player, Server, Workstation, ACE, ESX.. They're all fine choices, and they all offer solutions to different problems. It's not just about virtualization itself anymore. It's about what you can build on top of it.

(Opinions expressed here are my own and are not necessarily representative of VMware, yada yada.)

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477994)

and 3D acceleration in the guest (currently experimental, and requires DirectX in the guest for now). We have a lot in the works for the product, and the gap will widen.

Do you mean a linux host with nvidia/ATI drivers running a 3D accelerated windows guest?

Considerably more expensive than Cedega, but man that would be cool.

Keep up the great work, ChipX86 !

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

kellyandshana (805725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477070)

Vmware does have a player version that will allow you to run vmware virtual machines. The only thing is you have to have a licensed version to create the virtual machines. It helps if you have a friend with a legit version to built VM's for you.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

ruckc (111190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477078)

In Server you can create/edit the machines for free just as in workstation.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

Keaster (796594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477137)

You can download prebuilt VM's from VMware for free i.e. BDS, linux, etc.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477284)

The only thing is you have to have a licensed version to create the virtual machines

You can create VMWare images using QEMU. It's a nice, free way to do so.

Re:VMWare Server 1.0 same as VMWare Workstation 5. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477736)

notepad works great to customize some vmx files that were created in workstation. While you might not want to create a VM for player from scratch that way it helps a long way for different paths to iso and vhd files.

Excellent support of late (5, Interesting)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477064)

We've started to use more and more virtualisation systems at work -- the vmware solution is by far the most sophisticated and performant we've encountered - and the upgrade path to ESX server is always handy. Clusters are a virtual (a-ha!) doddle to work with once you pretty much virtualise everything (and the performance isn't bad either!).

Roll on more vmware products to make my life a happier one!

Xen (-1, Flamebait)

blogologue (681423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477080)

I don't see any good reasons why this piece of software is better than Xen, except that it can run Windows. Big deal.

Re:Xen (1)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477131)

It's the management support that vmware provides. Xen is ok, but it doesn't have the performance or the reliability of vmware. And while it's relatively easy to configure a guest os in xen, but trust me, when you're working on a hundred-machine cluster you really come to appreciate virtual centre

Re:Xen (1)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477344)

Xen is ok, but it doesn't have the performance or the reliability of vmware.
Do you have anything to back this claim up?
I moved several virtual machines from VMWare GSX to Xen a few months ago, and noticed an immediate performance increase. I've had just as many reliability problems as I had with VMWare.. none.

Re:Xen (-1, Troll)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477194)

You can use Xen as a multidimensional 'slingshot' for teleportation! Jeez, I thought everyone knew that.

Re:Xen (2, Funny)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477465)

Settle down there, Gordon...

Re:Xen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15478243)

Why was this modded troll? Did none of the mods play HalfLife? ... geeze

Re:Xen (1)

rimu guy (665008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477534)

Xen's performance overhead is about 3-4% of the CPU. So sure things could be improved. But even if VMWare had no overhead (which it probably does) the performance difference is not something you'd really notice unless doing technical benchmarks.

In our hosting setup we have found that Xen is reliable, performs well, and the VPSs are about as functionaly identical as a 'real' dedicated server as you can get.

If your needs happen to be running Linux virtual machines and you're comfortable with the Xen tools then Xen is a great product. Glad to hear VMWare is also improving their products. Competition = good.

--
Xen-based Linux hosting and proud of it [rimuhosting.com]

While we're adverising: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477716)

http://www.tektonic.net [tektonic.net] has better prices (and you get way more ram, disk, etc) for their VPS packages than rimuhosting.com, remember folks, competition = good.

I want to crap my pants! (5, Informative)

Keaster (796594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477109)

By far, and I dont work for EMC or VMware, ESX server and virtual center are Bad Ass. There is nothing greater than 0 to minimal hardware downtime. Finally getting the moneys worth out of the hardware. Being able to place a box in "undoable mode" rocks! (think "oops that patch just hosed my sql cluster" "ok, i'm fine again"). Being able to deploy the same server via image and deploy one in 30 min. Adding disks on the fly and growing disks with 5 or less min of downtime. Facts: 1. ESX Servers are mammals. 2. ESX Servers fight ALL the time. 3. The purpose of the ESX server is to flip out and kill people. I once saw an ESX server flip out when a physical server dropped a flopy disk, and the ESX server killed the whole data center! (insert tounge in cheek) Not to mention the countless Beowulf clusters, countless.

Re:I want to crap my pants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477567)

Is this your way of welcoming our new Virtual Mammal-ware Ninja Server Overlords?

Weird department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477125)

What's virutally?

I just don't see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477128)

I still don't get why everyone is into vitualization of servers. Just one thought; if you have to take down the server inquestion for something like a server relocation; you take down 5 (virtual servers). What happens why you fry a motherboard? Not one but 5 servers now go down.

Now, I know what you are thinking; there should be redundant servers. A lot of small shops don't have the funds for that. This is just going to temp some of the worst habbits in the IT world. I am just waiting to walk into one shop and find that they have all redundant (virtual ) server on the same physical server.

Another day of happiness in IT.
Enjoy.

Re:I just don't see it. (3, Informative)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477161)

For server relocation, with ESX server the answer would be to VMotion them off to another server. In real-time, they happily change their "physical" server, without missing even a single ping. (yes, I've done it, and do it all the time at work). ESX3 is supposed to have all sorts of real-time improvements on this process, allowing servers to auto-migrate themselves to less-taxed hardware, etc., etc.

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

Target Practice (79470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477652)

"the answer would be to VMotion them off to another server"

Yeah, but this causes the poster's complaint of needing more than one box to run virtualization in a sane manner. Everything has an inherent flaw, the need for redundant boxes is virtualization's.

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477734)

But how is it an inherant flaw when the alternative is having 5 nonredundant boxes?

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477797)

Why don't you need a redundant box if you're not virtualizing?

Re:I just don't see it. (5, Funny)

rayd75 (258138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477184)

Ummm... If you virtualize a dozen physical servers, you've probably saved enough money for redundant VMWare host hardware.

I've been working in IT for just under ten years now and I hate every vendor out there. They all suck and none of their products work worth a crap. I'm sick of wasting my time chasing bugs and applying endless patches as new issues surface. However, VMWare is the one shining light in my shop. It does exactly what they say it does and it does it flawlessly. Every feature is as you would expect and (ESX) host servers stay up for months at a time. Never have we had to reboot a host to solve a stability issue. It just freakin' works. After you've fought so many other products for years, seeing VMWare software in action is enough to make you cry.

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477375)

However, VMWare is the one shining light in my shop. It does exactly what they say it does and it does it flawlessly. Every feature is as you would expect and (ESX) host servers stay up for months at a time. Never have we had to reboot a host to solve a stability issue. It just freakin' works.

Then why does the article say that support is absolutely atrocious for 2.6 kernels? Quote from the article:

If you're using Linux and there is a dire need to use a 2.6 kernel in a VM [virtual machine], wait for ESX 3.0. VMware ESX Server has been plagued with time-keeping and performance issues that are reportedly resolved in the 3.0 version. I have personally configured and run 2.4 kernels inside of virtual machines that performed as expected for some large organizations only to see the same applications run degraded on a 2.6 kernel.

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477457)

I'm running SuSE 10.1 in a VMware 5.0 Workstation VM on WinXP Pro as the host.
It works flawlessly. Installed the first time without a hitch, and even without installing the VMware driver support it is working nicely with all my toys (xwindows at 1600x1200 on my lcd display, sound, networking, etc.) I don't know about ESX, but on workstation it works awesome (better than I expected.)

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477470)

D'oh. The unspoken but assumed point of that post was, of course, that SuSE 10.1 is build on the 2.6.16.xx kernel and I haven't had a single problem.
Honestly I am beginning to wonder if the latest KDE, Gnome, and kernel have had vmware drivers added to the base install in SuSE 10.1

You're right, you don't. Stop thinking 1 box. (5, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477199)

So, first the obvious stuff you know. It may have no value to you, but for doing live demos and development environments its sweet.

vmware workstation - for $$ you get an amazing desktop virtualization environment perfect for people who write drivers and core operating system software. Snapshots and things, complete control over memory, "frozen in state" debugging from outside the vm.

vmware server - free. On the desktop, it lets you run more than one pc at a time. Also can run on a server -- even headless. It can start with the operating system and automatically load the vm's at boot time. A conside side app lets you manage your headless server platform remotely.

Then you get into their Data Center environment.

Don't think 1 machine. Thinking 10 machines. You deploy your vm's across them, using your EMC storage arrays. You don't even have to know which hardware is running your vm. They can be moved around at will. Add a machine to the pack and you increase overall power. A machine goes down? So what? Migrate the vm. The VM's all run with the same "drivers" which are virtual.

Have you ever kept a server longer than you wanted because you didn't want to deal with reinstalling an entire operating system and all the software just to take advantage of the new hardware?

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477317)

You first say you take down 5 (virtual servers). What happens why you fry a motherboard? Not one but 5 servers now go down but later A lot of small shops don't have the funds for [redundant servers].

If you weren't virtualizing, how could you afford those five servers if you can't afford two (albeit beefier) servers for a primary and backup of the virtualized server?

And if you run those servers on one machine as services instead of VMs, then you're in the same boat; if the MB fries all five services go down.

Re:I just don't see it. - step back and look again (5, Informative)

ejoe_mac (560743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477363)

So here's 7 things I can say as to why I deploy all new systems as VM's:

1) Upgrading / retiring a server? Set up the new box, install VMWare, shut down VM on old server, copy files, bring VM up on new server - it never will know the difference (and this is without a SAN!) Got a SAN - VMotion the VM to a new server -0- (zero) downtime.

2) Custom app you only want to setup one and forget it! Great Plains, vendor platforms, your monitoring and cacti box. Set it up in a VM and let it live. You're never going to reinstall the box, so why put it on a box you may have to reinstall

3) Backups of a physical server suck. Think, with the box running, you can snap a fully functional complete disk image and move it offsite via nfs, cifs, ftp. If there is ever an issue, you roll back to that snap shot and it's just as if the server had a bad shutdown. No bare metal recovery that takes hours and hours. We're talking minutes (in a SAN enviroment).

4) Need a server to test something - create it! Setup anything you want in a VM - it doesn't care. Don't like it? Delete it! Need more power? Move it! Take it home with you for the weekend? Install player on your laptop and take the files with you!

5) Big hardware is better hardware. Running an enterprise on comsumer gear with a special sticker on the front is just bad. Enterprise grade servers are beaten into submission and have the best possible components. Dell has been known to hault production of a platform if a vendor's component fails during testing (the PE 4400's had this issue ~4 years ago). Using VMWare you can buy 2-3 big servers, rather than the 5-10 pc servers. Get 8-16gb of RAM per system. Get larger hard drives, and not waste so much space.

6) Isolate those apps. Sometimes its just better to let each application server have it's own OS instance. That way if you ever need to, you can replace them without having to worry that some interdependancy on the box will cause failures.

7) Its good to be green - think of the power savings when your entire enterprise is running on 1/10th the hardware. Using a performance SAN and a bunch of DL585's I can't think of a company under 10,000 people who can't run off of 1 racks worth of servers. Think about it - thousands of users, 100 server, in one rack. I have clients that are in the 50-100 user range running on 2 DL385's or PE2850's.

Re:I just don't see it. (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477416)

I still don't get why everyone is into vitualization of servers. Just one thought; if you have to take down the server inquestion for something like a server relocation; you take down 5 (virtual servers). What happens why you fry a motherboard? Not one but 5 servers now go down.

It only makes sense if you have - or expect to have - requirements for a large and/or dynamic number of machines.

For example, if you have 10 different production machines, for 10 distinct tasks, but want to provide redundancy for them (in the form of standby machines) then you could either go out and buy ten additional machines, or you could buy 1 - 3 machines and have the ten standby servers as VMs (the chances of more than a single primary machine failing simultaneously is pretty rare, multiple simultaneous failures even more so).

Another example might be where load varies throughout the day to different areas of your infrastructure - so instead of always having to have the physical machines to cope with your peak load, you can take additional VMs on and offline as needed to cope with varying load.

A third example is where you want to have a good, scalable, partitioned architecture from the start (eg: by separating functions out into independent machines) but don't have a suitable hardware budget (or current requirements) to justify it. By using VMs, you can create your multi-machine architecture on a single physical machine and the subsequent migration to multiple physical machines (as requirements increase and/or budget allows) becomes relatively trivial.

Finally, there are situations where physical rack space is extremely limited, but you still want to have multiple "machines". Since you can fit a lot of power into only a few RUs these days, it could be quite feasible to have a couple of multicore 2U servers running a dozen VMs only taking up 4U, rather than a dozen real machines taking up 12U (or a blade chassis taking up ~7U).

With all that said, the incredibly low (and dropping) cost of relatively powerful servers has, IMHO, put a serious dent in the usefulness of VMs in production environments.

XVM (1)

WilsonSD (159419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477146)

People looking to manage VMMs across a range of vendors (VMware, Xen and Microsoft) should take a look at Cassatt [cassatt.com] . In particular the XVM [cassatt.com] product.

FuckCopz.com (-1, Offtopic)

shawnhbk (979931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477153)

http://www.fuckcopz.com/ [fuckcopz.com] Police corruption site stories news and jokes. FUCK THE POLICE

Replaced 2 old servers with notebook and VMWare (5, Informative)

Stamen (745223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477179)

I just replaced 2 old servers, 1 running Windows 2000 server, and one running Linux. I had an IBM X31 Pentium M 1.3x ghz notebook laying around, that had a lot of memory and a 7200rpm 2.5" drive it it. I installed a SATA PCMCIA card and am running my virtual machines off of an external SATA enclosure and drive.

Now I know what you all are saying, but the X31 works great, and is plenty beefy for the 2 servers it is replacing (a Pentium III 500mhz and an AMD 1ghz). The great thing about it is, it is absolutely quiet, it has its own 12" screen, keyboard and mouse (track-pad), and it has a built in UPS system. I have it hooked up the the same UPS that was running the other 2 servers, so if the power goes out, this thing will probably run a week without power.

The SATA external drive is fast, so that isn't an issue, and since it is external I place the drive away from the computer and sight for safety.

VMWare Server is great, and I really appreciate the price (free). I'm currently using Virtual PC for my workstation virtualization (testing, different environments during development, etc), but since I'm so happy with VMWare Server, I'll be switching over to VMWare workstation on my next upgrade. If a client ever needs serious virtualization I'll recommend they give ESX server a try. I think VMWare giving away their basic server is a smart move for them.

The really nice thing about converting my physical servers to virtual ones is how portable they are now. I literally can suspend my 2 servers, disconnect my external SATA drive, move it to a beefy machine, connect it, and resume the 2 servers on the faster machine; that's slick.

Re:Replaced 2 old servers with notebook and VMWare (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477266)

I literally can suspend my 2 servers, disconnect my external SATA drive, move it to a beefy machine, connect it, and resume the 2 servers on the faster machine; that's slick.

That's one of those interesting ideas that we could do with hyper-visors. Sure the technologies Intel and AMD are putting in their chips lets you run 2 OSes on a machine, but what if you just ran one OS but ran it under a hyper-visor letting you do something like you described. Time to upgrade your hardware? Your hardware die? Move the drive to another PC and you can boot it instantly to where you were without having to worry about Windows/Linux being able to adapt to the new northbridge/southbridge/whatever.

I can't wait to see some of the cool stuff people use hardware vitalization for if they think out of the box. That has got to be quite a few neat ideas one could use it for.

Re:Replaced 2 old servers with notebook and VMWare (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477593)

Check out Virtual Iron.
http://www.virtualiron.com/ [virtualiron.com]

They do the hypervisor thing on a cluster - you can take 16 single-cpu boxes and build one big 16-cpu single-system-image server, or two 8-cpu servers, or whatever and you can move the cpus between running virtual machines as well as move running virtual machines between cpus.

Kind of like the described situation of manually queisceing the laptop and then moving the disk to another box - except tons more flexible.

Never found it useful (OT) (1)

tyler_larson (558763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477302)

I just replaced 2 old servers, 1 running Windows 2000 server, and one running Linux. I had an IBM X31 Pentium M 1.3x ghz notebook laying around...

I must say, you must be doing something very different with your servers than I am with mine. The whole idea of replacing two servers with an old dusty laptop certainly gives the impression that your servers aren't exactly "serving" a whole lot. In fact, the primary reason, it seems, that you would use virtualization in the datacenter is because you're something like a shared hosting provider that needs to isloate accounts for security reasons.

Whenever I have process A running on a different machine than process B, it's because they're doing too much work for one computer to handle. What I'm really interested in is going the other way: adding more computers but making it behave as one. Imagine a beowulf cluster of those!

Re:Never found it useful (OT) (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477420)

Ok so say you split your work up into computer size loads (not unreasonable).

now half a decade down the line you have various services running various stuff (fileservers, databases, e-mail, im, custom apps etc). Keeping all those old servers running when the tasks could be performed by a far smaller number is wastefull of both physical space (which may be at a premium especilly if your buisness is growing) and electricity (remember in a large building the real cost of electricity fed to your equipment is significantly more than the cost of electricity from your utility because of aircon costs).

merging such systems onto a single OS image could well be either a lot of work or impossible (e.g. they need different operating systems (or versions thereof) or there are multiple instances of the same app on different servers and it doesn't support setting a bind ip and configuration location). Moving them to a VM is likely to be far simpler.

correction (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477434)

"various services running" should have been "various servers running"

Re:Never found it useful (OT) (1)

Stamen (745223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477458)

For my clients, what you describe is mostly what they need, more and more bandwidth, more and more processing power. But for me, as small company, the servers, as they were, were over powered. I'd guess most small companies are like this, that is why so many Linux boxen are running on old 486s.

I wasn't interested in more power, as I think my current setup provides similar performance as the old setup. My goal was to move my servers to a virtualization environment for ease of backup, ease of maintenance, and ease of transferring my servers to new hardware. One of my servers was dying, the hard drive at least, so this was a good time.

I chose the laptop, well, because it was just plain cool, and worked great for my needs. Since my servers are now all setup under virtualization, when I do need more performance it will be easy as pie.

My backup situation is better now too. I suspend (whatever this is called in VWWare) the servers so that they aren't running, I copy the virtual machines over to another external drive, then I bring them back up. You can write a script for this, as VMWare supports scripting, which is very nice. I prefer to backup the whole machine, and because the drives are SATA, this is very fast.

As for running a bunch or processes on one machine, in Windows it is often better to run a separate OS for each server. Linux doesn't have this problem, obviously, but there are still advantages of using virtualization with Linux. Once VMWare runs OS X-On-Intel-Mac I'll be as happy as a kitten following a leaky cow.

I'm a developer, so my needs aren't as great as an admin's would be, but I'm very happy with my setup for my needs.

Re:Never found it useful (OT) (1)

scottj (7200) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477810)

The whole idea of replacing two servers with an old dusty laptop certainly gives the impression that your servers aren't exactly "serving" a whole lot. In fact, the primary reason, it seems, that you would use virtualization in the datacenter is because you're something like a shared hosting provider that needs to isloate accounts for security reasons.
You obviously don't have any experience with large, inefficient, bureaucratic corporations. At my company, in my department alone, we have at least 25 2GHz+ machines running idly, serving nothing. The only requirement for virtualization would be enough RAM to run the OS on each VM. Processor is insignificant in such a scenario. Sure, a heavily loaded server won't do so well on a laptop, but then a heavily loaded server should probably be running natively.

Re:Replaced 2 old servers with notebook and VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477314)

Not unless VMware have changed the server a lot since I lasted looked at it you can't. Last I heard (one the server beta testing forums a few months ago) you can only move virtual servers across physical servers, while they are runnoing, if the hardware on all the servers is *exactly* the same. Same processor (stepping and revision), same ram, everything. No suspending the machines and putting them onto a beefy machine for you!! If you want to do that you have to shut the VMs down boot them up on the new processor and let the OS install all the appropriate drivers. VM are actually not 100% virtual. They are still restricted by the underlying hardware.

Re:Replaced 2 old servers with notebook and VMWare (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477451)

Have any links to how to set that sort of thing up? I'll spend the money for some new hardware if it'll reduce the amount of space my towers are taking up right now; portable is extremely nice if it's really portable cross OS ;-)

  OT, but I was thinking today at work how nice it would be to have a bootable linux CD that could virtualize the windows XP system that's on the hard drive of a customer's machine. Might be a useful tool in fixing the more modern/nasty malware.

SB

Re:Replaced 2 old servers with notebook and VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477872)

Yea, it's called VMWare P2V [vmware.com] and works great if you take your time and read the documentation first (obviously something I didn't do right away)

Parallels and VTx (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477229)

Is VMWare shipping with VTx support yet, like Parallels.com? I've got WinXP, Linux and OpenBSD running under Parallels, and the performance seems far superior to VMWare.

VMware player for Skype only? (1)

horacerumpole (877156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477315)

My only interest in virtualization right now (and VMware in particular, since it's the only viable option on my current hardware) is to be able to run Windows Skype 2.0 with webcam.

Right now I plan to create an entire Windows XP virtual machine just for this - is there a way to create a machine which can run only Skype and reduce memory requirements by this? My hunch says "no" but I always have a feeling I'm missing something when it comes to tracking the VMware product lines.

Re:VMware player for Skype only? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477443)

if you can get hold of a copy then you could use XPe to install your system and use trial and error to find out what skype needs. though this will probablly mainly save you hdd rather than ram.

cutting out explorer (edit shell= in system.ini to just run your app of choice) may also help.

Re:VMware player for Skype only? (1)

TheoCryst (975577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477491)

Doubtful, but you could always just streamline the XP install to eliminate any and all processes that are not relevant to your needs.

Re:VMware player for Skype only? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477574)

I did a fresh install of XP, turned off all un needed services and my memory footprint was around 264K. I didn't have skype running so it looks like it will be really difficult to run windows and skype without half a gig or so.

Re:VMware player for Skype only? (1)

horacerumpole (877156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477640)

Thanks for the info. I have a feeling it would be a waste of time to try to run VMware on my current 512Mb of RAM but I recently saw at least two people who claim to use VMware on 512Mb. Since so far I failed to get extra memory for a good price I just might go ahead with my current memory.

Re:VMware player for Skype only? (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477934)

My girlfriend runs a Windows XP VM, with 768mb RAM. She only allows the VM to have 128mb, so she'd probably be fine with 512.

Disagree about Over-allocation of CPUs (1)

z4ce (67861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477330)

I totally disagree about not assigning dual-cpus to ESX virtual machines. Changing from single-CPU to SMP is a pretty big deal. On Windows it means forcibly changing the HAL, on Linux it means changing to an SMP kernel. Additionally, having two-cpus makes for much smoother running VMs, since the guest operating system can run two-tasks in parallel. Yes, there is a performance hit for adding two CPUs. No, its not very big. Most certainly, if its an issue buy more hardware.

For example, doing something like running a DB Recouncilation with a single CPU box, will completely annilihate user interactivity unless you have two cpus. So his example of a reporter box that runs once a week not needing two CPUs... sure it doesn't need two CPUs.. unless you decide you want to do something else on the box while its running the report. Or let's say the report consists of two processes working in parallel.. they should run in parallel on a multiple CPU box and complete much, much faster. I've actually noticed in these types of scenarios it can be more than 2x improvement since you're getting more cache hits and much less context switching.

Re:Disagree about Over-allocation of CPUs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477422)

You can use dual CPU if the applications support it and you may see an improvement. Think about it though, if you actually have a dual CPU machine, the single CPU you assign to the guest OS sees one CPU but it can be either of the physical CPUs when it needs a CPU (when can assign a specific CPU or just any single CPU which will be either CPU that is currently available for the guest OS). Assigning 2 CPUs to the guest OS is fine as well but when the guest OS or the application running on the guest OS requires a response from both CPUs or a specific CPU, it has to wait for that CPUs to respond instead of getting cycles from whatever CPU is available. If one of those CPUs is loaded, that wait will not be balanced and your application can suffer. A single CPU at 10% can process more by itself when it is not waiting for the second CPU that may be at 70% if they are requested in parallel by the application running in dual CPU mode. The VM instructor I had explained it a lot better then I can but it made sense to me at the time. Dual CPU *CAN* be an improvement for specific applications but you have to assess the entire ESX environment and all guest OSs running on that ESX server before assuming dual CPU is better then assigning any single CPU. Basically, there is no standard to determine which is better, you have to test it for yourself in your environment.

Re:Disagree about Over-allocation of CPUs (1)

wharlie (972709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477772)

This also affects the other VM's running on that server.
The dual CPU VM requires exclusive access to both pCPUs whenever it needs processing resources, no other VM can access either of the pCPUs.
Thus if you have a dual CPU pserver that is running a dual CPU VM and other single CPU VM's, whenever the dual CPU VM has access to the pCPUs all other VM must wait for it to release the pCPUs before they can get access.
This occurrs even if the app on the vserver only needs 1 vCPU.
Of course if you have quad CPU pserver then this is not so much of an issue (unless you have 2 dual CPU VMs).
ie Take all considerations into account before allocating dual CPU's to any of your VM's.

for those that don't know (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477460)

"Jane Walker" is fictional VMWare marketing dept creation (like Ted [nwsource.com] at amazon.com).

(Former VMWare employee, posting anonymously).

Re:for those that don't know (1)

wharlie (972709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477859)

Oh my god, I'm shattered. Next thing you'll tell me is that Santa Claus isn't real and the 18yo virgin I've been chatting with is really a guy.

VMWare ahead of Xen eh? (0, Flamebait)

mrmag00 (200868) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477510)

Nice advertisement for VMWare, but Xen destroies VMWare in every benchmark I've yet seen. I understand they are taking different approaches, but with new CPUs supporting Intel's VT [xensource.com] VMWare's OS advantage suddenly disappers. It should be a huge red flashing sign since VMWare's license doesn't allow benchmarks to be published. This page [cam.ac.uk] shows VMWare can compete in some places, but is pathetic in others. I don't know what makes them claim ESX server so much better than Xen, maybe they are trying to say VMWare is more stable? Because from my testing, Xen puts VMWare in the dust.

Re:VMWare ahead of Xen eh? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477578)

That's why VMware gave up on the hypervisor wars and is trying to provide better system management than Xen.

Benchmarks you've seen (5, Interesting)

TimMann (98520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477579)

Since our EULA didn't allow benchmarks to be published, most likely the only benchmarks you've seen are some that the Xen folks did for their SOSP paper, taken on a version of VMware Workstation from several years ago before the EULA was changed to forbid publishing benchmarks.

I understand that recently we changed the EULA back to allow benchmarking again. Let's see if the Xen folks redo their benchmarks or keep making hay by comparing with the old VMware Workstation 3.1 benchmarks...

[Standard disclaimer: I work for VMware, but I'm not speaking officially.]

Benchmarks are too easily rigged. (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477651)

There are some excellent profiling products around (VTune, PAPI, DAKOTA, KOJAK, and those are just the ones I've used). Companies like VMWare probably use some form of profiling already - they'd be insane not to, as it's a great way to improve performance with little effort. Obviously, they'd be equal idiots if they published all of the stats churned out, but there are likely ways they could publish a set of general indexes or tables to show the overheads of running N OS' over M processors with P cores each, plus the cost of running some of the standard administrative functions. Because I'm talking about the low-level operation, rather than custom-made scenarios, the figures won't represent any given scenario exactly but can't be rigged by selecting a given example either. If other vendors then wanted to publish their own figures for the same matrix and functions, then people would have something to work with on comparisons.


Sure, you can probably plug the numbers into a suitably complicated equation, but it won't be linear and it won't be "obvious". The maxima won't be at the same place for different hypervisors, either. That's the point. If you use a single number benchmark, you can (almost) always find something product X does better than product Y. If you have the full behaviour of the system written out, vendors can't obscure things like that. It's good for the customer, as they can then see what product does the best with the specific characteristics they have in mind. It's also good for the vendor, because there's no pretense and no FUD (so the customers like you) and there's no denial (so the developers respect you).


Now, are ANY vendors going to do this? And I'm including Xen and VServers in this. Probably not. There are risks involved in being that transparent, plus costs. And even if the vendors all agreed it was a good idea, you think ANY of them would volunteer to go first?


This is not to diss VMWare. I respect them (as much as I respect any corporate entity) and this is just as true of the Open Source solutions. It's merely the practical reality that promoting a product through total education of the consumer is something neither party really wants. Customers want plausible denial if things don't work out, and vendors are not going to tell you to go to their competitors.

Re:Benchmarks are too easily rigged. (1)

TimMann (98520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477775)

Actually, I think we would really like to see a standard benchmark for VMs that multiple vendors could agree on. I'm not in our performance group, but I've heard rumblings. Your points about how such a benchmark should work to be fair are very well taken.

Benchmarks you've been forbidden to see (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477761)

Since our EULA didn't allow benchmarks to be published

Did you ever consider adding an "if you publish mean things about our products, you have to buy the CEO's daughter a pony" clause to go along with that? Seems equally reasonable to me...

[Standard disclaimer: I never was VMWare customer, and now that I hear they think it appropriate to restrict what I may write about as part of their software license, I never will be. Maybe they should add a section forbidding users to reveal the terms of their EULA on slashdot]

Re:Benchmarks you've seen (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15478279)

Using a recent version of VMware Server, I can say that Xen still blows it away performance wise - the difference is like night and day for what I'm doing. That's not to say VMware server is bad - it is not, I like it, and I find it useful - but Xen and VMware Server are different approaches to solve different problems.

Re:VMWare ahead of Xen eh? (1)

benow (671946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477812)

Yes, I'm sure VMWare is aware of the coming hardware virtualization (and of increased competition, especially from virtual pc)... they've certainly pushed up advertising. They've made a great product, certainly. They chose a hard problem and pulled it off. Not really worth the cash for me personally (basically only used for cross platform installers), but I could see it being quite useful in a larger shop. If there is a lesson for developers from the VMWare (and other devs having the rug yanked from under them) is not to put all your eggs in one basket... agility and diversity. In a GNU-like fashion, small interoperating applications and services can approach and often out-maneuver larger projects. If this increased competion and possible irrelevance does spell an end (or drastic diminishing) of VMWare, they should be proud of what they have done... many people learnt much from that project, surely... too bad it wasn't a bit more open.

Mac? (1)

JakiChan (141719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477605)

Anyone know when/if their software will support OS X? I mean Parallels is all nice and everything, and BootCamp is great, but I really have been hoping to run Workstation on my MacBook Pro. That's the money shot that will help Apple out a lot. Live in Mac land day-to-day, and when you need to run that one app you can't get on Mac (in my case it's Visio) you've got it in a window. That's what I can't wait for.

Re:Mac? (0)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477632)

Nope, you'll need one of those cracks that make OS X run on non-Apple hardware (even if you're using VMware via Windows or Linux on the Intel Macs, the virtual hardware the operating system sees is a regular PC) which is, *gasp*, illegal. So unless Apple stops being overly-dramatic about what OS X can and cannot run on, or VMware signs some sort of deal with Apple, it's not going to happen without going into an illegal/grey-area route.

Re:Mac? (1)

JakiChan (141719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477659)

Thank you for attempting to explain to me that running MacOS on non-Mac hardware is illegal. In doing so, however, you missed the point entirely. As I said, I've already got an Intel Mac (as referenced by my saying I have a MacBook Pro, as well as referencing Boot Camp and Parallels).

What I want to do is use VMWare to run a Windows VM so that I can run software like Visio without having to boot into Windows via Boot Camp. I am hoping that VMWare will make it possible to do so at some point.

Re:Mac? (1)

Snover (469130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477858)

What is it you think Parallels does, exactly? Because, uh, it's a virtual machine, just like VMware.

Re:Mac? (1)

JakiChan (141719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15478097)

What is it you think Parallels does, exactly? Because, uh, it's a virtual machine, just like VMware.

Having played with it I was, shall we say, unimpressed, especially compared to VMWare. I seem VMWare's quality/performance on my Mac. Hopefully it won't take forever.

Re:Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477881)

I wouldn't say miles Oglesby and Herold. (2, Informative)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477615)

Not too long ago I ran the discovery and benchmarking on a big project to move the large internet credit card processor I work for to either Xen or VMWare ESX server. From the first benchmark to the last stress test, Xen outperformed and outgunned ESX at every turn. Here's the kicker! We had paid VMWare engineers helping us to configure and tweak the ESX boxes. As for help from Xen? Well, I had the user's manual and a subscription to their mailing list.

Management

Sure, the VMWare servers had nice pretty management tools that were probably a couple hundred yards ahead of Xen's CLI tools, but this company doesn't exactly tolerate idiots. The unix guys here are more than capbable of migrating to Xen, compiled from source with a customized kernel, with no problem. The command line configuration and live migration utilities are more than adequate considering we already have SSH access to the boxes in the back. There was no need to change the firewall configs to allow us VMWare console access or anything.

Performance

I ran series of benchmarks for the following applications: MySQL, Apache, Lighttpd, perl and php. All of the bechmarks were ran on the same hardware, I just re-imaged the two machines multiple times. Xen won in every race. As a matter of fact, on the dual core Opeteron SunFire the Xen vm was a whopping 600 seconds ahead of the VMWare vm at running MySQL's sql-bench suite.

Stability

Xen 3.0 is more stable, IMHO than VMWare. Though neither platform crashed or hosed, the ESX box had a lot of trouble keeping time via ntp and had some problems with disk I/O.

Distrust

I reported the time problem several times to the VMWare techs assigned to our case, and they assured me that it was a host os issue. Funny that this article mentions that ESX < 3 has a problem keeping time with a 2.6 kernel isn't it?

Future

Later this week I'll be recieving the first Intel VT enabled server we purchased. I'll soon see if any OS or any kernel (including GRSec [grsecurity.org] patched) kernels can be booted under Xen. If that is case, my company is likely is to purchase XenSource's commercial products.

Re:I wouldn't say miles Oglesby and Herold. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15477837)

Management

Sure, you can create a complex program, use code from linux HA project to monitor hearbeat of the servers, setup migration on failure etc. Those are the kind of services the management tool offers.

Performance

The problem with Xen is thier load balancing of diffrent doms is very primitive. For virtual machines with multi processor you simply pin them. ESX pin the other hand has a very fine grained load balancing system (also across hosts). The overhead on xen is much less but it performs badly on db etc due to the above mentioned reason.

Stability

We found both to be quite stable and ESX to be very stable (Xen had some issues due to Linux drivers and its not Xen's fault)

Distrust

No comment here

Future

Np comment here. You should go with Xen if it works for you best.

Re:I wouldn't say miles Oglesby and Herold. (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15478255)

Performance

I ran series of benchmarks for the following applications


How about publishing your benchmark results?

Unless thats prohibited by the VMWare license...

Time (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477707)

Scott M. Herold: If you're using Linux and there is a dire need to use a 2.6 kernel in a VM [virtual machine], wait for ESX 3.0. VMware ESX Server has been plagued with time-keeping and performance issues that are reportedly resolved in the 3.0 version. I have personally configured and run 2.4 kernels inside of virtual machines that performed as expected for some large organizations only to see the same applications run degraded on a 2.6 kernel.

About time.
I have only one ESX server, it has only been down twice when I upgraded the host. but the system time in the guest OS is a bitch when the guest OS is Linux. Never did get it to work. not even with xntpd installed. Now it has only been test systems so I can live with having to run a ntpdate from a cron because it is 7 minutes slow every hour.
I had another strange issue, I have 2 w2k3 servers, 3 SuSE SLES 9, and some other stuff running.

But I once had a virtual disk failure on a SuSE server that looked just like a real disk failure(timeouts etc). strange when it is just a file on a raid disk. their site had no information that could help me with the errorcode, nor did their forums. It wasn't a big deal(test system) but for the "fun" of it I spent a day trying to figure out how to salvage a virtual server having a virtual disk crash. Didn't find any satisfying solutions, so I ended up installing a new server(copy virtual disk image) and being able to mount a copy of the "crashed" disk and I could then copy all the data over without errors.

Gave me a bit of hesitation for using it for real, I do not need virtual disk crashes to make my job interesting.

Scott Herold's comment misleading (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15477852)

Herold: [In environments with] heterogeneous operating systems, VMware is the clear leader. Microsoft's recent addition of Linux support to Virtual Server shows they are moving in the right direction. While Xen has consistently mentioned that they have been able to get Windows booting, it has been eerily quiet lately on that front."

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/ [cam.ac.uk]
A port of Windows XP was developed for an earlier version of Xen, but is not available for release due to licence restrictions.

If that is not a slander, i don't know what is. Perhaps Herold mispoke, I don't know. However going by the context and the purpose of the article, a cozy little place may be waiting for him in a marketing department.

Progress / money ratio (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15478183)

This is the real ratio. With this ratio the best virtualizer is by far kqemu. So novell instead of funding Mono and other technologies that are after the microsoft red herrings, please do us a favor and give some money to Fabrice Bellard, to open up kqemu. (which he rightly deserves as he also happens to be the author of FFMPEG).
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