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Posts Tagged ‘virtualbox

Type 1 and Type 2 Client Hypervisors

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This post is based on insight gained from two of Brian Madden’s posts: A deeper look at VMware’s upcoming bare-metal client hypervisor and Bare-metal client hypervisors are coming — for real this time

Wikipedia distinguishes between two distinct types of hypervisors

Type 1 Hypervisor

Type 1 (or native, bare-metal) hypervisors are software systems that run directly on the host’s hardware to control the hardware and to monitor guest operating-systems. A guest operating system thus runs on another level above the hypervisor. Some examples are VMware ESX, Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V, etc.

Type 1 hypervisors are appropriate when you want to provide the only OS that is used on a client. When a user turns a machine on, he only sees a single OS that looks and feels local.

Type 2 Hypervisor

Type 2 (or hosted) hypervisors are software applications running within a conventional operating-system environment. Considering the hypervisor layer as a distinct software layer, guest operating systems thus run at the third level above the hardware. Some examples are VMware Workstation, VMware FusionMED-V, Windows Virtual PC, VirtualBox, Parallels, MokaFive, etc.

Type 2 hypervisors are appropriate when you want a user to have access to their own local desktop OS in addition to the centrally-managed corporate VDI OS. This could be for an employee-owned PCscenario, or it could be a situation where you have contractors, etc., who need access to their personal apps and data in addition to the company’s apps and data.

Client Hypervisors

Over the past 5 years, Type 1 hypervisors are dominantly used in the server market, whereas, Type 2 hypervisors are being used on clients, i.e., desktops and laptops. Recently, the need for a Type 1 hypervisor that runs locally on a client device, called the client hypervisor, has emerged for supporting the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure VDI).

Benefits

VDI’s promise lies in realizing a significant cost reduction for managing desktops. A client hypervisor is useful because it combines the centralized management of VDI with the performance and flexibility of local computing. It offers several advantages:

  • It provides a Hardware Abstraction Layer so that the same virtual disk image can be used on a variety of different devices.
  • The devices do not need a “base OS” when the client hypervisor is present. The maintenance overhead of patching a “base OS” frequently on each of the devices is greatly reduced.
  • Once a virtual disk image has been provisioned, it runs and the display is driven locally. This frees up the client from the need to support remote display protocols.
  • It decouples the management of the device from the management of Windows and the user; administrators can spend their time focusing on user needs instead of device maintenance.

Type 1 Server and Client Hypervisors

Server hypervisors are designed to make VMs portable and increasing the utilization of physical hardware. Client hypervisors are intended to increase the manageability of the client device and improve security by separating work and personal VMs.

The bottom line is that even though they’re both called “Type 1” or “bare-metal hypervisors,” there are some philosophical differences in how each came to be. (This could help explain why it has taken over five years to extend the Type 1 hypervisor concept from the server to the desktop.)

Dimension Type 1 Server Hypervisor Type 1 Client Hypervisor
Design Goal Host multiple VMs and make each VM seem like a “real” server on the network. The user shouldn’t even know that there is a hypervisor or they are using a VM.
Virtualization Goal I/O: Disk and Networking Native device support that affects user experience, e.g.,
a) GPU and graphics capabilities
b) USB ports and devices
c) Laptop battery and power state
d) Suspend/Hibernate states
Tuning Maximum simultaneous network, processor and disk I/O utilization Graphics, multimedia and wireless connectivity
Hardware Support Narrow set of different preapproved hardware models Should (ideally) run on just about anything
Intrusiveness Controls most if not all of the hardware platform and devices and provide a near complete emulated and/or para-virtualized device model to the virtual machines running on top a) Should support full device pass-through to a guest VM.
b) Should also support dynamic assignment and “switching” of devices between different guests


Type 1 Client Hypervisor Vendors
In the Type 1 client hypervisor space, there are Neocleus NeoSphere and Virtual Computer NXTop. There are product announcements from both VMware and Citrix, however, there is no shipping product to date. There is also the Xen Client Initiative – an effort to port the open source Xen hypervisor to the client.

Editorial Opinion
Today, hypervisors are a commodity. While they are indeed foundational technology, they are “out of sight is out of mind”, i.e., most users do not perceive their presence and hence ascribe no/low value for this technology. Hypervisor developers will be hard pressed to build a lasting public company solely based on selling hypervisors.

Virtualbox branching / branched snapshots

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An illustrated, step-by-step procedure for branching snapshots using Virtualbox 3.1.0 is available here.

Roman Kennke’s post on branching snapshots describes the feature and provides a how-to guide: 

A typical use case would be to install an OS into a virtual disk, make that virtual disk read-only and use it as base image for several branches.

  1. For example, in one branch I would do testing/debugging of stuff that I develop. There might be several branches I use for testing.
  2. Then I might need a branch in which I install a build environment for OpenJDK, which could in turn be used for several more sub-branches for OpenJDK6 builds and OpenJDK7 builds.
  3. In another branch off the base image I would run tax software. Etc

Written by paule1s

December 10, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Posted in virtualbox

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Beam me up Scotty: Teleport with VirtualBox 3.1

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Read this on virtualization.info:

VirtualBox 3.1 is now capable of performing a virtual machine live migration, called Teleportation, between remote hosts over a standard TCP/IP network link.

Of course, because the virtualization layer sits above the host operating system, VirtualBox has limited compatibility issues with different CPU families, and no problems with different operating systems.

To work, Teleportation requires that both copies of VirtualBox have two identical VMs with same virtual hardware. These two VMs must access the same shared storage (NFS/CIFS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel).

Despite what the press release claims, the user manual highlights that teleporting a VM between an AMD and an Intel CPU may fail, despite VirtualBox is able to simulate the each other differences to a degree.

This feature seems analogous to VMware’s vMotion, except that there isn’t an ESX hypervisor providing a portablity/hardware abstraction layer.

Written by paule1s

November 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

A year in review: What are our readers looking for?

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Our readers are primarily asking questions like:

  • How can I free up disk space, on Windows, and on ext4, ext3 on Ubuntu and Linux, within virtual disks like vmdk, vhd and vdi?
  • Where can I find the best virtual appliances/ Top 10 virtual appliances?
  • How can I convert from one virtual disk (vmdk to vhd, or vdi to vhd) to another?
  • Who are the competitors for ec2?

An analysis of the search terms shows interesting clusters:

Serial

Topic

% of queries

Search terms

1

ext4 defragmentation

23%

ext4 defrag, defrag ext4, ext4 defragment, defragment ext4

2

ubuntu ext4 defragmentation

14%

ext4 defrag ubuntu, ext4 ubuntu defrag, ubuntu ext4 defrag, ubuntu defrag ext4, defrag ext4 ubuntu, defrag ubuntu ext4

3

vmware virtual appliance

14%

vmware virtual appliance, vmware virtual appliances, top vmware appliances, top 10 vmware appliances, best vmware appliances

4

virtual appliance

5%

virtual appliance, virtual appliances, top appliances, top 10 appliances, best appliances

5

vmware firewall appliance

5%

vmware firewall appliance, vmware appliance firewall

6

ubuntu defragmentation

4%

defrag ubuntu, ubuntu defrag, defragment ubuntu, ubuntu defragment

7

ec2 competitors

4%

amazon ec2 competitors, ec2 competitors

8

windows 7 virtual appliance

4%

windows 7 virtual appliance, virtual applaince windows 7

9

ext3 defragmentation

4%

ext3 defrag, defrag ext3, ext3 defragment, defragment ext3

10

convert vdi to vhd

3%

convert vdi to vhd, vdi to vhd

If I abstract it out, our readers are primarily interested in learning how to free disk storage and where to find the best / Top 10 vmware, Xen and Windows virtual applainces.

Thank you. I appreciate your interest in this blog.

Top 10 referrers for Q1 2009

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Top 12 referrers over the past 3 months

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VirtualBox – setup, share, shrink, convert

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Written by paule1s

December 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm