Virtual computing
Virtual and distributed computing technology and applications

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Sunday, June 13, 2004


U Cambridge Computer Laboratory - Xen virtual machine monitor: "Xen is a virtual machine monitor for x86 that supports execution of multiple guest operating systems with unprecedented levels of performance and resource isolation. " It's open source.  OS's must be modified to run under it.  Interesting comparison of performance vs. vmware and user mode linux, and an Oct 2003 academic paper.  Running PostgreSQL or Apache specmarks, vmware runs under 50% of raw Linux and Xen runs 90%.  8:01:44 AM  permalink  

Plex86 - An x86 Virtual Machine: "Plex86 is an OSS virtual machine project for x86. It can be used on its own to run Linux VMs using lightweight VM technology, or in conjunction with the bochs emulator as an accelerator to run non VM-friendly OSes."  Last activity mid-2003.  7:52:31 AM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, June 08, 2004


VMWARE scripting:  This forum post says that full scripting (called VCOMAPI) is available on GSX and ESX versions, but only limited control is available on the Workstation version.  In particular, there are command line options for starting vm's on Workstation, but real control requires GSX and ESX.  The cost of GSX as of June 04 is $1250 per processor ($2500/2 proc, $5000/4) plus a required annual support package (about $1100 for 4 processors). 

There was also a note on using Norton Ghost for expanding the size of VMware disks, which implies a way to do a manual PtoV.

  1:08:32 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, June 06, 2004


Virtualization Wiki:  New wiki being built on the topic, with many links to related technologies.  11:23:45 AM  permalink  

virtualization.info: Key blog on developments in the virtualization market.  Good coverage of developments in Europe.  Low static -- only a few entries per week.  11:15:14 AM  permalink  

VMWare Workstation 4.5 Review: Tour of latest release with many screenshots, and with performance results that show the processing cost of vmware to be small for server apps -- around 10% for most CPU operations and random disk I/O, 30% for sequential disk I/O (in dynamically allocated disks).  Graphics runs about 50% slower. 

The author is Hernán Di Pietro, an Argentine hacker, who runs both Virtual PC an VMware on his workstation.  His bottom line:  "now I'm using VMWare running Linux, FreeBSD and Windows 2003 and I've left VPC 2004 abandoned in the Start Menu and being clicked few times a week .. I still prefer VPC to run WIndows 95 in small development projects on antique Pentium II systems. Go, buy a copy of VPC 2004, which is relatively cheap, install it, put your guest OS and all we'll be fine.

I looked seriously to VMWare after I was in need of a strong and flexible networking support for a professional virtualization project. I've to face it: VPC 2004 can't do what VMWare can. So I'm now with VMWare for professional and complicated projects. And I still stay with VPC 2004 for small development projects with my friends, since it's cheap and very standard on the emulated hardware. "

Related: Virtual Machines & VMware reviews 3.0 release, which has more history and technical details, and sample of configuration files.

  11:13:04 AM  permalink  

Virtual PC 2004 FAQ - Robert Moir's Website:  Unofficial FAQ and reference site to everything about Microsoft Virtual PC 2004.  See also the oft-cited list of guest OS's.  11:10:17 AM  permalink  

An Introduction to Virtualization: Excellent brief into to the history and value of virtualization.  The author is an IIT graduate, whose other writings on the subject are also first-rate.  11:05:45 AM  permalink  

The Open Source IA-32 Emulation Project: Interesting open-source vm platform, started 1999 and still kicking.  Mostly for kernel debugging, but used for various purposes.  10:59:47 AM  permalink  

Why I Love My Virtual PCs: Nice tour of how workstation-scale virtual computing works, with snapshots from Virtual PC.  Shows virtual hard disks on base windows operating systems from 2 gb (for windows 2003 web edition) to around 5 gb.  Linux ranges all over the place, with 50mb cited for Damn Small Linux.  Virtual PC uses a short XML file to store the vm configuration.  10:48:03 AM  permalink  

Gartner on Server Virtualization: 2004 is their "year of virtualization:" Here's an interesting note on implications:  "Whereas mainframes are commonly utilized above the 80 percent range, RISC server utilization usually averages half of that, and Intel servers running at 10 percent to 15 percent utilization are common. Unlike mainframes, RISC and Intel servers are usually deployed with a single operating-system copy and a single application. The growth of virtualization technology deployment will create a significant discontinuity in the RISC and Intel server market. Utilization of RISC server capability should increase by 30 percent or more. Intel server utilization should double.

Even assuming an increase in the cost per server for hardware, software and space, with a reduction in the number of servers and a reduction in the cost of administration per server, enterprises will realize significant overall savings. If mature virtualization technologies could be applied to RISC and Intel servers today, a conservative rough estimate is that overall IT spending in support of RISC servers would decline by 10 percent to 18 percent, while overall spending in support of Intel servers would decline by 20 percent to 30 percent.  Enterprise savings would primarily occur in administrative costs. However, spending on hardware would decline by as much as 18 percent (due to fewer servers)..

Action Recommendation for 2004:  Enterprises should start now to build a multiyear strategy for server virtualization. "

  10:36:25 AM  permalink  

I have created a new category in this blog to carry notes culled about virtual computing, including virtual machines, virtual storage networks, and distributed and grid computing.  Earlier blog entries on grid and distributed computing have been spread between General Networking and Network Software categories.  I have a backlog to blog in the new category today; my apologies to subscribers to the whole blog if this isn't your cup of tea...  10:29:49 AM  permalink  

Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/24/2005; 11:48:35 PM.
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