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Virtualization Goes Mainstream

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the legits dept.

167

InformationWeek is reporting that, during the same week that Microsoft announced the free price for Virtual PC, VMWare 1.0 was released for free as well. Though there were already many free options for virtualization available, these major products signal a shift in the industry. From the article: "There are many ramifications here. Obviously, the slew of products means network managers can now adopt virtual servers into their overall strategies and don't have acquisition costs providing a justification to avoid it. Other than the very-high-end VMware ESX and the midline Microsoft Virtual Server on mainstream XP platforms, virtualization is essentially free wherever you might want to use it."

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Yay, let's talk more about virtualization! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728566)

There just aren't enough virtualization stories!

right... (0, Redundant)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728569)

virtualization is essentially free wherever you might want to use it.

Unless your host OS happens to be Mac OS.

Re:right... (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728597)

The virtualization software is free, but when you're virtuallizing MS Windows, it's anything but free. You now have to pay for a license of each virtual machine. This can make the cost go up a lot. You'd probably be better off not virtualizing, and just hosting everything off of a single non virtualized server.

Re:right... (3, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728667)

when you're virtuallizing MS Windows, it's anything but free. You now have to pay for a license of each virtual machine.

Not necessarily. from the /. article the other day [slashdot.org] :
"Customers who deploy Windows Vista Enterprise have the ability to install up to four (4) copies of the operating system in a virtual machine for a single user on a single device."

Re:right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728716)

Windows Vista is not even shipping. The speculation on what may be the licensing terms of one edition of the future software is nice and fine, but it is just speculation. How many versions of Vista have are they planning to make, anyways?

Re:right... (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728992)

The speculation on what may be the licensing terms of one edition of the future software is nice and fine, but it is just speculation.
Not really microsoft offers the same 4 license for Windows Server 2003 R2 which exist NOW. Essentially MS is offering 4 virtual license with all future operating systems in their Enterprise versions.

Re:right... (1)

ci4 (98735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729134)

You lose the license to deploy any application software on the W2K3 server running the virtualization software (VMware | Microsoft Virtual Server) though - unless it is related to it's management. Overall it is a gain - Microsoft policy being "one function - one server"... IMHO it is easier to manage four simply configured virtual servers than one running everything.
(when I got Microsoft Virtual server SP1 some times ago, I downloaded the relevant license documentation and even spent some times reading it).
On that W2K3 server I have now a few virtual machines configured - an OpenBSD 3.9 firewall, dual-homed on the physical i/f of the server and the virtual internal network, acting as a firewall for the rest of the virtual machines, which are only on the virtual network. It's kinda neat... in a S&M sort of way... The rest is a bunch of NetBSD/FreeBSD/W2Kserver/WXP machines - very convenient for testing stuff (the disk benchmarks were not so good, so take your pick).

Does that mean (0, Troll)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728799)

that you may have to deal with 4 instances of WGA?
:wq

Re:right... (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728701)

If you want to separate services on separately patchable/administrable systems, this is still a win.

You're only buying one piece of hardware, and one support contract for that hardware.

Re:right... (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728785)

The virtualization software is free, but when you're virtuallizing MS Windows, it's anything but free. You now have to pay for a license of each virtual machine.

Read your agreements closely. Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition can run in multiple instances on the same hardware for a single fee. I think we'll increasingly see VM aware licensing as the products evolve.

Re:right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728874)

We looked into this, as we run ESX on a blade center. While you can run 4 copies of Enterprise version, unless you need the extra features, buying seperate licenses of standard was still cheaper*.

*For us. It might be different for others, and we are an education institution and might have special pricing.

Re:right... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728946)

What if you're just running small business server edition? They have needs (probably moreso) for virtualization also. What about home users. Is it permitted for them. Am I allowed to install windows XP home on a seperate partition (for dual-booting) and install it in a virtual machine for quick access to windows when I need it?

Re:right... (0, Flamebait)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728614)

Mac is too proprietary to do ANYTHING for free.

Besides, mac users are typically more interested in simply having a running computer than anything else - most wouldn't know what to do with virtualization software to begin with.

Re:right... (2, Insightful)

eipgam (945201) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728643)

As if most Windows users are any different.

Re:right... (1)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728660)

I'm not knocking Macs - they work. They just have a LONG history of trying to lock everything possible up. Remember, Apple's OS could have been Windows - Bill Gates pitched licensing it to other cpu's before he went independent and did it on his own.

Re:right... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728682)

"...most wouldn't know what to do with virtualization software to begin with."

My "too proprietary" Macbook Pro boots into Windows XP, but for others virtualization will suffice:

http://www.apple.com/getamac/windows.html [apple.com]

Re:right... (1)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728714)

So now you have a $2000.00 computer with windows xp reliability? I'm guessing you run windows because so much other software runs on it.

Any idea why so many software vendors write for Windows?

Re:right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728736)

So now you have a $2000.00 computer with windows xp reliability?

He can still boot OS X.

Any idea why so many software vendors write for Windows?

Because you touch yourself at night, you stupid jackass.

Re:right... (2, Interesting)

jours (663228) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728721)

Mac is too proprietary to do ANYTHING for free. ... most wouldn't know what to do with virtualization software
In the time it took you to post this absurd message you could've swung over to Google and found...

http://darwinports.org/ [darwinports.org]
http://developer.apple.com/opensource/index.html [apple.com]

http://www.kberg.ch/q/ [kberg.ch]
http://www.parallels.com/en/products/workstation/m ac/ [parallels.com]

My advice is
1. Think first
2. Post to Slashdot

Wishful thinking, I know.

Re:right... (1)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728765)

So where's the virtualization software?

Re:right... (1)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728815)

I should take back my previous comment. I honestly didn't know about those websites. Sorry.

Re:right... (1)

jours (663228) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728897)

Seriously, there are ports of many open source projects to Mac OS X now and most of them work great. If you ever get the chance to get your hands on a Mac, give it a try. You can pickup some of the Power-PC Macs pretty cheap lately...and all in all the platform makes for a fairly pleasant computing experience...

Re:right... (1)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728927)

I have a few friends on macs. That's why I said what I did. They get macs because they aren't looking for problems. They just want it to work. This kind of attitude makes sense in many ways, but it and experimentation with open source just seems mutually exclusive.

Re:right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728634)

The Mac platform in general has very little activity on the "free software" side. Even minor utilities cost money. It's a different culture, and is probably the reason I would never go for a Mac as my main computer.

Mac provides solutions that just work for people willing to pay money to get that experience, which is great. That's not what I'm after, but I am glad to see Apple succeeding and wish them well.

Re:right... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728647)

The Mac platform in general has very little activity on the "free software" side.

I don't know about binaries, but couldn't you just down load the source from and compile it for the Mac? After all, Mac's dev tools are free.

Re:right... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728681)

Actually, most minor utilities are unnecssary (for instance, defragmentation occurs on the fly in Mac OS X). But they certainly are free. Most Windows utilites, like ones to recover files (something you have to do regularly on the WIndows side of computing) do cost money. I work in IT supporting both Mac and PC. Macs are much easier to support. Both platforms have their share of newbies and experienced users. But Windows poops out a lot more than Mac. We still have users content with their circa 2000 G4 Power Mac towers humming away. PC's equally as old suck (and have been granted community use status in the offices' common areas since no one wants them or sent to the surplus gods).

Re:right... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728787)

OS X has a lot of free software activity. Certainly most of the well know OSS has a Mac version. You are probably thinking of the old Mac OS, which did not.

Re:right... (5, Interesting)

pschmied (5648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728707)

Agreed, MacOS is severely lacking in the virtualization department. As a long time user of VMWare, I can say that Parallels doesn't stack up in comparison. Lack of multiple snapshots and, well, a general lack of the snappiness I've come to expect from VMWare on Linux or Windows is missing. VMWare's lack of product for MacOS X is especially disappointing to me as a new Intel iMac owner.

In other news, I've thought that VMWare and Apple were really missing a great opportunity with respect to virtualization. Apple wants to limit the hardware that MacOS X will run in to Apple blessed hardware. This is for two reasons: 1. They want to drive sales of Mac hardware. 2. It's a pain to support lots of models of PC.

If Apple and VMWare were to partner to release a free MacOS X virtual machine, it would allow Apple to get OS X into the hands of more prospective customers. (I haven't met a person who has *used* OS X for any length of time and not loved it.) Such an arrangment would also be good publicity for VMWare. VMWare already has a product that allows for some lockdown of virtual machines (VMWare ACE). Such an arrangement wouldn't violate Apple's goals with MacOS X (limited hardware support overhead, and MacOS X would be much more desireable on native hardware for OpenGL and whatnot). Such a move would certainly drive sales. All of a sudden millions of Windows users potentially get sucked up into Apple's product upgrade cycle: VMWare --> Mac hardware.

I wrote about this on my blog (blog.thoughtspot.net) a while back, but Dreamhost appears to be taking a dirt nap at the moment.

-Peter

qemu (2, Informative)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728863)

Unless your host OS happens to be Mac OS.
Mac OS as host OS? Oh, please. Why not Amiga OS?
For OSX as a host and guest there is a solution: > http://www.kberg.ch/qemu/ [kberg.ch]

Re:right... (2, Insightful)

macintyred (988926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728878)

Looks like I put my foot in my mouth. I was wrong. Sorry.

With Virtualization... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728579)

Now Slashdot can dupe [slashdot.org] twice as much.

VM Fabric (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728581)

Is there a VMWare that distributes tasks across a network of VMWare hosts automatically? So I can just add new hosts to a network to make all the apps run faster? And install apps on a single machine, from where VMWare redistributes the load without my direct intervention?

Re:VM Fabric (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728592)

Yes, it's called "Google".

Re:VM Fabric (3, Informative)

fief (12961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728604)

VMWare ESX combined with VMWare Virtual Center can provide for the ability to do automatic load balancing across VMWare ESX hosts.

Re:VM Fabric (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728679)

Would that support a software RAID fabric that lets me distribute both processes and storage across a single virtual host, backed by lots of $150 PCs stuffed with cheap IDE drives? How big can such a beast get?

Re:VM Fabric (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728720)

You /can/ transfer storage resources across the ether, but it all works best when the VMWare cluster is backed by SAN, iSCSI or other NAS.

Re:VM Fabric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15729041)

Why would you spend that sort of money on VMWare just to waste it trying to run it on cheap boxes with cheap IDE drives? Would you build a SAN like that? I don't see why you couldn't use the elcheapo machines as hosts, but have a proper storage solution and use proper infastructure.

Re:VM Fabric (5, Informative)

Natales (182136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728709)

The recently released VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 (which is basically ESX 3.0 + VirtualCenter 2.0 + some add-ons) can do this using a technique called Distributed Resource Scheduling (DRS). This is basically a global scheduler running on your VirtualCenter server that works in coordination with the local schedulers in each ESX server part of the same ESX cluster.

When you hit a user-defined treshold for either memory or CPU on a VM, then DRS will trigger a VMotion of that particular VM to another ESX in the cluster without user intervention, effectively running the VM where it can run the best, based on the SLA you defined when you created it.

The cool thing about this is that you can now have a predictable cluster utilization level, regardless of where the VMs are running.

[Disclaimer: I work for VMware]

Re:VM Fabric (1)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728889)

Kinda off topic, but seeing as you work for VMWare you might have an answer to this? I've dug around on the VMWare website and couldn't seem to find an answer to this... Can the now free VMWare Server create new VMs (I.E. just like GSX) or is it limited only to Virtual Appliances?

Re:VM Fabric (1)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728936)

VMWare Server is basically the successor to GSX, only free now. It can run on Linux and Windows, and allows you to create new machines. Looks like VMWare's business strategy is to get people introduced to virtualization on the small scale (VM Server, Player) then sell the really nice features with ESX (like clustering, load balancing, backup consolidation) for the enterprise.

Re:VM Fabric (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729088)

Can it do all that across the Internet, or even just a WAN with guaranteed bandwidth and latency, even if low bandwidth and high latency?

Re:VM Fabric (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728712)

Imagine a server divided to ten virtual servers, which form a beowulf cluster...

Yes, well ... (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728582)

... virtualization is essentially free wherever you might want to use it.

Then again, first hit is always free.

People just realize the potential now... (2, Interesting)

Datalanche (987331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728610)

Virtualization is a safe and fairly easy way to try new things or see how security measures may or may not work in a controlled environment. I'm a lowly IT guy who repairs broken Windoze boxes, so I couldn't imagine how useful it is for enterprise, but for the slightly above average user, it's great to test out new ideas or operating systems. Don't get me started on Parallels on OS X, because I'll go Mac fanboy for several pages on how cool that is. I'm quite glad that virtualization is getting so much attention lately. Interest often leads to more innovation!

Hardware support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728616)

Especially interesting since the newly released Core2Duo is the first x86 CPU with hardware support for virtualization.

Re:Hardware support (1)

StarHeart (27290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728919)

The Core Duos have hardware virtualization, as do AMD's AM2 based Athlon 64s. So the Core 2 Duos aren't the first.

I have personally used Linux with Xen to run Windows XP on my Macbook Pro. The Macbook Pro has a Core Duo in it. Windows won't run in Xen without hardware virtualization, or a hacked copy that was never released.

For the uninitiated... (2, Interesting)

hiryuu (125210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728627)

Since I don't claim to have any experience dealing with VMWare, and only passing experience with VirtualPC (and, previously, SoftWindows) on Mac, can someone explain to me how this is different from emulation? Is it different from emulation? I've kept one x86 workstation around my home running Win98 (and dual-boot with Slackware) for a small handful of applications and a few games. The notion of making the machine Slack-only and running Windows virtually with no performance hit from emulating is attractive, but I am quite ready for my assumption to turn out flawed. Could someone with a greater clue than I've got educate me?

Re:For the uninitiated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728675)

There is a subtle difference between virtualization (what things such as Zen do) and emulation (which things like VMWare do, essentially). Virtualization has next to no performance hit, whereas emulation (as you might imagine) has a signifigant one. You'd do best to keep that Win98 installation, at least until the new processors enable Zen to support Windows.

Re:For the uninitiated... (4, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728677)

The difference is somewhat semantic. Many people take emulation to mean "machine emulation" like Bochs for example, where you are emulating the entire hardware of the machine, and performance therefore sucks. What's commonly termed as virtualization emulates some items of hardware, but code is running natively on the CPU.

In reality, the terms emulation are somewhat interchangeable - you can say "full virtualization", which means the entire machine hardware is virtualized (what is commonly called emulation), and you could say "partial emulation" when referring to what is commonly referred to as virtualization. Indeed, you might even call the likes of WINE "API emulation", though that might be stretching it somewhat.

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

hiryuu (125210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728694)

The difference is somewhat semantic...

Thanks for the response - that helps my understanding quite a bit. So here's a slightly more practical question - does VMWare (with which, again, I am wholly unfamiliar) run on x86 with Linux as the host OS? I'm sure I could find the answer if I went digging, but since this discussion would likely involve people who outright _know_ these answers, I thought I'd ask here. My goal would be to run a Windows environment with minimal performance impact. Would this likely be close enough on a machine with enough horsepower to be an adequate substitute for having a native install of the OS? Including up through some gaming?

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728728)

VMWare does run on Linux, however the performance hit would be noticeable (though not Linux-specific), eg the Windows GUI would be somewhat slow, and wrt gaming, that's simply out of the question. As long as you wish to run apps you'll be fine, unless you want a micro-second reaction time when you pull down a menu, but gaming-wise, no way. You'd be better off running Windows natively and Linux virtualized - then your gaming experience wouldn't be affected negatively.

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728741)

Vmware runs fine on linux, and overhead isn't too bad (but keep in mind that if you want really good performance you'll need enough RAM to run the combined total of both OS's). However, not really ideal for gaming, as vmware does not support Direct3D/OpenGL well (I think there is some experimental support for it, but I can't vouch for how stable it is). Note that I've gotten my share of blue-screens using vmware (granted, this is on amd64 which is less than rock-solid for most software), and even the odd kernel panic (it does run at least partially in kernel space with a few modules - not sure why it would have to do that).

Still, I find it great for running those one-off windows-only applications without needing to dual-boot (which of course takes my server offline).

VMWware and linux (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728958)

The low-end versions of Vmware do run on top of linux or Windows, but VMWare ESX runs on it's own proprietary micro-kernel with linux running right on top of it as the management interface. As a result, ESX has much lower overhead than the other versions which run on top of other OS's. With ESX 2.5, the linux part is bolted on pretty tightly and can't be assigned resources like virtual machines, whereas, the new version (3.0) of VMware is more independent of the linux management interface. 3.0 runs the linux part as a virtual machine, which can be allocated resources just like all of the other virtual machines.

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728705)

Jeez, not had enough caffeine, that should read something more like:

"...but code executed in the guest OS is run natively on the host machine's CPU, and thus runs pretty much as fast as on a native machine."

Then it might actually make some kind of sense.

Re:For the uninitiated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728678)

Virtualization is more like running Mac OS 9 in the "Classic" mode...
(with the difference that it normally runs in a window, not rootless)

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728680)

Emulation, I believe, normally refers to one machine pretending to be another. "Machine", in this context, refers to CPU architecture. VMWare does not emulate a new architecture; it passes x86 straight through to the host.

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728693)

With emulation, you're recreating an entire computer in software...processor and all. Typically because you need to emulate an entirely different architecture (ie PPC to X86). With virtualization, you're taking an existing system and chopping up its runtime among different OS's. The net effect to you is that you see different "computers" running in one system.

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728699)

I can't speak for slackware, but I have one of the new white macbooks from Apple, and I run windows XP under parallels. I'm VERY impressed with the speed. However - I recommend oodles of RAM if you're gonna virtualize. Also realize that the macbook is dual core so there's essentially a processor available for each OS. I have no idea how well it would work on a single core or older machine.

Re:For the uninitiated... (1)

Eneff (96967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728743)

It is emulation.

You have a definite performance hit. However, depending on your machine it might not be such a big deal for those uses you have.

On my home machine, I've run linux and oracle application server inside of windows. It slowed down at pieces, but really wasn't that bad.

On my work machine, I run windows and Lotus Notes inside my Linux machine and don't even notice the extra OS. We'll see how that holds up as I put SQL Server on there.

Oh, but turn off the screensaver. The graphical subsystem is hit hardest by virtualization.

Summary of responses so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728688)

If Microsoft releases something for free they're being anticompetitive and evil.

If open source zealots release something for free they're making the world a better place even though all they're really doing is increasing Stallman's power through viral licensing conditions.

How much money does Stallman give to charity again?

The only discussion missing.. (4, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728703)

Is how much overhead does virtualization take up? At what point do you actually need another box because of the performance hit?

Re:The only discussion missing.. (1)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728955)

Depends on the services you are running in the virtual machines. Web servers that dish out static websites - pfff. You can put gobs of those on one box. A SQL box with loads of scriping running on it will probably need more hardware. VMWare ESX might be able to help out in that area by setting up memory and CPU pools so one virtual machine doesn't step on the another. QoS for processors. With all these free offerings from Microsoft and VMWare, testing with your specific applications would be best.

Re:The only discussion missing.. (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728960)

how much overhead does virtualization take up? At what point do you actually need another box because of the performance hit?

It's a subjective question. Virtualization is especially good for improving utilization on certain types of servers, for example Web servers. You might have some kind of intranet application running on a Web server that only gets used every so often. The rest of the time it's sitting there idle. So if you add another virtual server to the same machine, sure, in a strict technical sense there's some kind of performance hit, but in a practical sense there's not really any performance hit to the first server at all, because it was sitting idle anyway. By making each server its own virtual machine, though, you're retaining more flexibility than if you just hung multiple Web applications off the same instance of a Web server, because it's always easy to migrate one of those virtual servers to dedicated hardware if its utilization goes up.

Obviously it's all bad (1)

TheM$Man (802985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728706)

Microsoft did it. Therefore it's all bad.

Don't you see?

They are evil. So therefore everything they do is wrong.

Don't you see?

I was told this by many. It must be true.

Don't you see?

It's all a Bill Gates conspiracy. I was told.

Don't you see?

Only God can save us from Bill Gates now.

Don't you see?

Microsoft is to blame for all the wrong in the world.

NOW I SEE.

Re:Obviously it's all bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15729000)

Someone really needs to poke your eyes out...

It's free... At least now. (5, Interesting)

vmfedor (586158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728730)

I'm certainly not an expert but it doesn't take a genius to see what *might* (and possibly will) happen.


OK. So Microsoft makes Virtual PC free. Suddenly everyone starts using virtualization software and (besides the licensing fees Microsoft will get for each copy of its OS that is virtualized) it's free and wonderful and everyone is happy that they can run all of their Operating Systems on one PC with much less hassle than before. Virtualization takes off, new uses are discovered for it, and it changes the way networks can be used. Hooray!


But eventually Microsoft stops maintaining Virtual PC (and discontinues support for it on any future operating systems) and decides to release Microsoft's new "Virtual Console" software that costs mucho bucks. Suddenly everyone that relies on Virtualization realizes that they'll either have to switch to some other virtualization software, change their software systems entirely, or simply bite the bullet and spend the money to upgrade to the new program.


This probably isn't news to anyone. In fact, it's the way things have been done since the first closed-source software program was created and sold. But I think that this is a perfect example of where Open Source software could really fit the bill and cause a paradigm shift to a better world where people aren't locked into one provider or another. If the OSS community could pull together and release a killer Virtualization app that's free as in speech perhaps people would start to see *why* software needs to be free, and perhaps they would realize it goes deeper than simply price.


I'm not trying to spread Microsoft FUD or spread the OSS gospel... but I think in scenarios like this an OSS alternative would be a no-brainer. Are there any OSS virtualization software suites in development right now (besides Wine)?

Re:It's free... At least now. (2, Interesting)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728786)

Are there any OSS virtualization software suites in development right now (besides Wine)?

WINE is not virtualization software. WINE is more of a hack that maps API calls. If you are looking for OSS virtualization software, check out XEN [cam.ac.uk] aka The XEN Hypervisor. It works great. Xen is the reason that VMWARE and Virtual PC are now free. Xen smokes both VMWARE and Virtual PC in terms of performance.

Re:It's free... At least now. (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728859)

Except that with currently available hardware, XEN isn't a VM layer, its a hypervisor. Technology asside, that means that only OS's that have been specificly altered to run on it work, and so far that includes only (some) OSS OSs, unless you have an accademic/research license with Microsoft or work in Provo.

I dont agree that XEN is the reason for the zero-costing of these products. MS undercut VMWare on the workstation product line. VMWare noticed/realized/always-planned that the money was on the server, and (significnatly) server management side of things. So they cut MS off at the knees, producing a zero cost player, and then eventually zero cost Server.

XEN might have changed the timetable by a few months, or a year, but VMWare wasnt going to ship things for free just to keep up the numbers, unless they had a way to make money. The money is in the management.

Re:It's free... At least now. (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729089)

Except that with currently available hardware, XEN isn't a VM layer, its a hypervisor. Technology asside, that means that only OS's that have been specificly altered to run on it work, and so far that includes only (some) OSS OSs, unless you have an accademic/research license with Microsoft or work in Provo.

That is not true. You can buy a Core processor (or any processor with Intel-VT support) and run Windows XP under Xen right now.

There are even HOWTOs [planetjoel.com] doing the usual rounds.

Your information is 3 weeks out of date :-)

Re:It's free... At least now. (2, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728954)

Xen smokes both VMWARE and Virtual PC in terms of performance.

This often is true, but it really depends on what you need to do. Unless you're running Xen on a CPU that has VT support on-chip, you're not running any VMs at all unless the guest OS has a kernel specifically modified to run with it.

I use Xen at home to run five Debian servers on a single box (and had to recompile the kernels for the domU and dom0 VMs). It runs wonderfully, and hasn't given me a moment's trouble. However, I'd never be able to run a Windows guest on it, even if I wanted to. For everyday use, I have a Windows box that has several Linux VMs running under VMware Workstation (saves me *tons* of time for the kind of development work I do), and I've had no problems at all with performance. Just for giggles I tried BeOS 5 under VMware, and the BeOS OpenGL teapot demo still can manage 40 frames/second.

I don't think there's any one VM solution that you could say is "the best" - your needs are going to determine which is best for you.

Re:It's free... At least now. (3, Informative)

bazorg (911295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729179)

So Microsoft makes Virtual PC free. Suddenly everyone starts using virtualization software and (besides the licensing fees Microsoft will get for each copy of its OS that is virtualized)

I like to think of virtualization as 3 different sets of solutions: 1) for optimizing server performance vs. cost; 2) a "nice to have" kind of thing for development workstations 3) a tool to ease the transition between MS Windows and Linux

In the server optimization field, Microsoft may follow whatever trend they need to, in this case damaging a bit of the relationship they have with hardware vendors, as it's possible to do MSWindows-related tasks with less hardware than before. VMware and Microsoft solutions will be picked in different cases depending on how good they perform. MS gets to sell their other software as they always do, regardless of their clients using theirs or VMware virtualization solutions.

In the case of desktops, Microsoft may have much more to lose: Let's say you have a lot of workstations with legal copies of MS Windows and little incentive to upgrade to Windows XP or Vista. If you decide to do a round of hardware upgrades on your desktops, you can use VMware to stop the expense of automatically updating to Windows XP/Vista/Whatever:

  • backup "My documents" of all machines involved;
  • install Ubuntu Linux on all the new workstations;
  • install vmware workstation
  • reinstall MS Windows inside the virtual machine
  • backup the "clean install" you just did of Microsoft Windows
  • Move all the "my Documents" folders to some file server
  • Keep VMware running on one of the virtual desktops, so that the user can go back to its familiar environment and some old school windows app they really need - bonus points for having 2 LCD screens per computer, one with Gnome Desktop, another for virtualized Windows
The final step is to make your maniacal laugh be well heard on the day that your version of MS Windows is discontinued, and you still use it as happily as the day you started - you just broke the forced upgrade cycle.

mod 0P (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15728742)

my caaling. Now I gig in front of

Microsoft's strategy (1)

humankind (704050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728775)

1. Wait...

2. EU's windows-based PCs are infected with viruses and crash causing loss of all records relating to fines against Microsoft.

3. Profit!!

Re:Microsoft's strategy (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728851)

2. EU's windows-based PCs are infected with viruses and crash causing loss of all records relating to fines against Microsoft.

Why bother releasing a virus to crash Windows? All Microsoft has to do is drag this out long enough in court and the machines will trash themselves.

I hope ESX is a cash cow (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728780)

Microsoft can, of course, afford to play this "free" game until the cows come home. I hope VMware can survive this. While sysadmins (okay, maybe not MSCE "sysadmins") will likely continue to choose the VMware solution, in the end we all know deployment is often affected by drive-by management decisions.

Re:I hope ESX is a cash cow (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729020)

Microsoft can, of course, afford to play this "free" game until the cows come home.

That is why the government "punished" them for the IE Netscape thing. I guess it has been a long enough wait for them to use their large bank account to put yet another small company out of business.

Re:I hope ESX is a cash cow (2, Interesting)

engine matrix (553187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729135)

ESX is a cash cow and EMC owns VMWare. Until Microsoft gets into the enterprise SAN space I don't think VMWare has too much to worry about since ESX and EMC products are pretty much tied together.

Re:I hope ESX is a cash cow (2, Informative)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729175)

VMWare has the lead in the enterprise arena for Virtual Infrastructure. Comparing Microsoft's Virtual Server to ESX Starter, the features are pretty much one for one. Past those features though is where the enterprise is interested, and are willing to pay for those features. But like you said, hopefully management just doesn't look at the dollar figure, but at the big picture with what works best for their business practices.

Looking at Microsoft's features page:
http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/Lib rary/aace7325-ef73-46b3-929b-d1e6dbd0df691033.mspx [microsoft.com]

And VMWare's features page:
http://www.vmware.com/products/vi/esx/#_tabfeature s [vmware.com]

Currently VMware has these edges in the virtual machine features:
*SMP support (looks though like Microsoft may offer this in the next beta after the current beta)
*Clustering of the hosts, not just the virtual machines
*Backup consolidation - imagine being able to backup 40+ windows boxes with only one backup client at the file level (not just the virtual machine images), even if the windows virtual machines are powered off. This saves on having to load backup agents on each virtual, and saves a load of cpu horsepower.
*64 bit support
*Multiple virtual machine clustering with a shared disk
*Live migration between physical hosts - imagine moving a SQL virtual server, as it is being used, to another physical box. Doing a hardware upgrade on the prior physical box, then migrating back. Users don't notice a thing.
*Direct SAN support
*Multipathing for network traffic or to the shared storage

There are probably other ones that I didn't mention, but those are the ones that count for me. VMware knows Microsoft isn't going to sit idle and will probably be adding more on top of that. Same goes for Microsoft, but they have a lot of catching up to do.

Xen (1)

oneeyedelf1 (793839) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728796)

Xen is going to blow everything out of the water when the openmosix patches get finished. KABLOOMEY to everything else, though I could see still using vmware ESX for businesses that still have to use windows.

Re:Xen (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729138)

EXPN?

I know OpenMOSIX is something to do with clustering - but for it to be any real use you need a suitable application.

Xen... (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728896)

I've spent 10 hours over the last two days trying to get Windows XP working on Xen. I bought all the right hardware, followed all the right instructions, and hit a wall. I've found other people with the same problem (e.g. http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-users /2006-06/msg00452.html [xensource.com] ) and some of them got around it... others didn't.

I've tried IRC, I've read the docs, I've even rebuilt the FC5 kernel RPMs with some patches, but nothing works.

Wake me when virtualisation on Linux is as simple as it is on OS X with Parallels. I should have saved the money I spent on the chip and the board for a new Intel Mac :(

Re:Xen... (1)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729025)

VMWare Server runs in Linux for free. It isn't open source though like Xen. cd /usr/src/linux make cloneconfig make prepare (the above steps are necessary on Suse so the vmware kernel module compilation steps work) cd somedirectorywhereidownloadstuff rpm -ivh VMware-server-1.0.0-28343.i386.rpm vmware-config.pl (now in text setup script - accept license agreement) (hit enter for default mime type icon directory) (in all places I hit enter, the default was already what was wanted) (hit enter for default desktop menu entries) (hit enter for default app icon directory) (hit enter for it to build the kernel modules) (hit enter since it found the right place for my kernel include directory) (hit enter for yes I want to setup networking for virtual machines) (hit enter for yes I want to use NAT networking too) (hit enter for yes I want to probe for an unused private subnet) (hit enter for no I don't want to setup more NAT networking ranges) (hit enter for yes I want to setup host-only networking) (hit enter for yes I want to probe for an unused private network) (hit enter for no I don't want to configure another host private network) (hit enter for default network management port of 902 was to be used) (changed option to no for I don't want vmware server to setup permissions for me - I like to do that myself) (typed in default directory of /vmware where I want to put stuff, but default it wants to put it in /var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines) (changed option to yes for I want to type in serial number now) (typed in serial number I got for free from vmware from their website) After that, I installed the vmware server console on my workstation. You could install the console on the server though. rpm -ivh VMware-server-console-1.0.0-27828.i386.rpm Then ran the console on my workstation. The console doesn't have to match the os of the server. Like you could use the windows console to control a linux vmware server, or the other way around. Very slick interface. The VMware Virtual Center console is even better for the enterprise, and also offers a web console over https to control machines. vmware-server-console At the login screen I set it to my server ip address for destination, root for login, and the root password on the server. At that point, everything is ready to setup virtual machines. You could upload iso's to the server to boot off of in the virtual machines, or you could boot off a cd in your workstation over the network.

Re:Xen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15729031)

Once XenSource, the commercial extension of Xen, releases the XenEnterprise suite, you should be able to Xen-in-10, or Xen-in-20 minutes soon. In the meantime, keep up with the "hg pull " baby!

Re:Xen... (1)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729046)

-- Bah, this will teach me to use the preview button next time. ^_^

VMWare Server runs in Linux for free. It isn't open source though like Xen.

cd /usr/src/linux
make cloneconfig
make prepare

(the above steps are necessary on Suse so the vmware kernel module compilation steps work)

cd somedirectorywhereidownloadstuff
rpm -ivh VMware-server-1.0.0-28343.i386.rpm
vmware-config.pl
      (now in text setup script - accept license agreement)
      (hit enter for default mime type icon directory) (in all places I hit enter, the default was already what was wanted)
      (hit enter for default desktop menu entries)
      (hit enter for default app icon directory)
      (hit enter for it to build the kernel modules)
      (hit enter since it found the right place for my kernel include directory)
      (hit enter for yes I want to setup networking for virtual machines)
      (hit enter for yes I want to use NAT networking too)
      (hit enter for yes I want to probe for an unused private subnet)
      (hit enter for no I don't want to setup more NAT networking ranges)
      (hit enter for yes I want to setup host-only networking)
      (hit enter for yes I want to probe for an unused private network)
      (hit enter for no I don't want to configure another host private network)
      (hit enter for default network management port of 902 was to be used)
      (changed option to no for I don't want vmware server to setup permissions for me - I like to do that myself)
      (typed in default directory of /vmware where I want to put stuff, but default it wants to put it in /var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines)
      (changed option to yes for I want to type in serial number now)
      (typed in serial number I got for free from vmware from their website)

After that, I installed the vmware server console on my workstation. You could install the console on the server though.
rpm -ivh VMware-server-console-1.0.0-27828.i386.rpm

Then ran the console on my workstation. The console doesn't have to match the os of the server. Like you could use the windows console to control a linux vmware server, or the other way around. Very slick interface. The VMware Virtual Center console is even better for the enterprise, and also offers a web console over https to control machines.
vmware-server-console

At the login screen I set it to my server ip address for destination, root for login, and the root password on the server. At that point, everything is ready to setup virtual machines. You could upload iso's to the server to boot off of in the virtual machines, or you could boot off a cd in your workstation over the network.

Re:Xen... (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729162)

This does work, yes, but then I don't get paravirtualisation for stuff that _does_ support it. So I have to run VMware / Qemu for stuff like Windows, and Xen for stuff that has a modified kernel.

That's a waste of money that I spent on the Intel CPU and motherboard, and far more aggro than I want.

I'll keep plugging on Xen, but even something as simple as up-to-date or accurate documentation would help... For example, from the Xen manual:

"You can also copy an existing Linux configuration (.config) into e.g. linux-2.6.12-xen0 and execute:
# make ARCH=xen oldconfig"


From the command line: $ find . -name "*-xen0"
./buildconfigs/mk.linux-2.6-xen0

hmm...

$ cd linux-2.6.16.13-xen/
$ make ARCH=xen oldconfig
Makefile:439: /home/waynep/Xen/xen-unstable.hg/linux-2.6.16.13-x en/arch/xen/Makefile: No such file or directory
make: *** No rule to make target `/home/waynep/Xen/xen-unstable.hg/linux-2.6.16.13- xen/arch/xen/Makefile'. Stop.

Ok... no help there then. Grrr!

Re:Xen... (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729248)

Yes everybody should use the slower, more expensive solution until you can get Xen to work.

Spyware ahoy! (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728910)

Now you can run same spyware multiple times at the same time.

virtual what ??? (2, Funny)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728968)

There are virtually many virtual ramifications here. Obviously, the virtual slew of virtual products means virtual network managers can now virtually adopt virtual servers into their overall virtual strategies and don't have virtually any virtual acquisition costs providing a virtual justification to virtually avoid it. Other than the virtually very-high-end virtual VMware ESX and the virtual midline Microsoft Virtual Server on virtual mainstream XP virtual platforms, virtualization is essentially virtually free wherever you might want to virtually use it. What the virtually fuck are we virtually talking about ??????????????

Tested VMWare Server ... (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15728973)

I tested VMWare Server a few days ago.

I installed it under Windows XP, on a Pentium 4 HT 3.0 Ghz, 1 GB machine. It did not ask for a reboot (good thing).

Then just for fun, I installed Kubuntu 6.06 in it. It works, but you feel it is slow. So, it would not be something that I would run regularly.

I was hoping to run VMWare on Linux, and having Windows inside a VM for testing stuff. Not sure if Voice applications (e.g. Yahoo Messenger, MSN, ...etc.) would work on a virtualized Windows machine inside Linux or not. This is my next test.

Re:Tested VMWare Server ... (1)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729074)

I tried using a microphone using VMware Workstation in Linux with a Windows XP box virtualized. It worked.... but it didn't sound good at all. It jitter, sounded like the sound card wasn't being recorded from at a constant rate. Sound out from the Windows virtual machine worked great though.

Re:Tested VMWare Server ... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729166)

It will be if you're using it for desktop-type stuff.

Where this really shines is in the server room where you're less bothered about "does the display update quickly" and more bothered about "can it keep up with demand". When "demand" can't possibly be more than 100Mb/s (unless you're using gigabit throughout, of course), it takes a very processor-intensive app which requires 100% CPU time to keep up with 100Mbps.

A good replacement for laptops (2, Informative)

zlogic (892404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729007)

For those that don't want to carry their laptop from home to work and back again (not using on on the road), virtualization is a great option. I created a win'98 image with all kind of useful stuff and carried it to university and back home on a USB flash drive. When I get to a PC with VMWare installed, I load my environment and have everything configured, along with the latest copy of my files. Also great for demonstrating how your software works on a PC you don't own. You'll get your complete and familiar environment.
External HDDs also work well, but they won't fit inside a shirt pocket.

Re:A good replacement for laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15729232)

I like your idea.

One better might be to create a bootable Linux CD, with VMWare installed on it (or not, perhaps just put VMware on the USB stick, insuring it's compatible with the libraries on your bootable CD), and carry your VMWare Guest image on the USB stick.

Then, you can turn any x86 hardware into a VMWare host by booting the CD, and get your guest OS from USB stick. For extra points, make the USB stick bootable too, just incase you encounter a BIOS that can/will (you might be locked out of the BIOS if you're at a University) boot from it.

Software Virtualization Services (1)

j0217995 (597878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729030)

One of the greatest products that I have used for virtualization is SVS by Altiris (www.svsdownloads.com) which is free for personal use. The biggest difference between VM Ware and MS's offering is that it is for the software level and not the operating system level.

The best part about SVS is the ability to run mulitple version of the same product at thee same time. For example Office 97 and Office 2003 if you have specific work applications. Or the beta of Firefox along with the released version of Firefox without corrupting anything. Its a great product.

"Free" = "Mainstream" ? (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729043)

Funny, I always thought that when things used to cost money and now they're giving them away, that's called market failure.

Water falls from the sky and we still pay for it. How badly is virtualization tanking that they need to charge less than water?

Xen (1)

Roger Whittaker (134499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729057)

The key to this is the fact that Xen is about to go mainstream: more specifically, Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 is about to be released, which will be the first Enterprise Linux with Xen included.

Re:Xen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15729218)

Oh cool! And what makes SuSE Enterprise Linux a *mainstream* distro? With RedHat's commanding marketshare of the Enterprise, I'd bet on RHEL 5 accomplishing this instead. In any case, yeah, Xen will go mainstream, it has to, the Xen hype has been around for years, and especially now that XenSource investors are itching for a return on their investment, something needs to happen soon. However, given that there are three major players, RedHat, SuSE, and XenSource, vying for the piece of the VMware pie, in my non-PhD opinion, Xen will enter the mainstream in a fractured way though.

So here's a scenario:

1) SuSE Enterprise Linux 10 will include a customized for SuSE version of Xen
2) RHEL 5 will include a customized for RHEL version of Xen
3) Up-n-coming XenEnterprise suite, from XenSource, will include a customized for XenSource version of Xen

Each of these three, for obvious self-serving reasons, will swear that their version of Xen is *the* only way to go.

Where as VMware's Virtual Infrastructure management suite offers everything and then some under ONE umbrella, today, now, this moment. So, if *I* were to be the Joe CIO of the Enterprise, I'd think long and hard about support and stability of *my* Enterprise before falling for the mantras of "Xen smokes VMware" of Xen fanboys. Heck, as things stand today, people can run Xen within VMware server, without suffering through the "make world" pain. Now I wonder, no matter how ridiculous this may sound like or appears a redudant exercise, if anyone has tested running a Dom0 on ESX (I'm thinking a SLES 10 Dom0), if so, then heck with what VMware has to offer today, I could VMotion the crap out of Dom0s without sweating a tear...

VMWare Servers vs. Workstation (1)

west (39918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729169)

I've noticed that VMWare is still charging for their Workstation product, even as they're giving away VMWare Server. From the website, it seems that they have a more or less identical set of features. (They approach the products from quite different perspectives, so it's hard to compare them.)

Can anyone knowledgeable tell me what the difference between the Workstation and Server is? (I'm currently a happy owner of an older version of Workstation and want to know if I should upgrade Workstation or switch to Server.)

Many thanks.

Re:VMWare Servers vs. Workstation (1)

Zine (989213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15729204)

Been using Workstation 5.5 and Server. At the moment, not much difference. Though I haven't tried the multimedia features in server as much though. I think I remember some experimental 3d support going into workstation on their forums that wouldn't be possible on the server product.

One key feature that I would still pay for workstation for is the multiple snapshots. I don't think this was available before Workstation 5 where you could only have one snapshot per virtual machine. Server still only has the single snapshot ability.
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