Posts Tagged ‘vmware workstation’
Unidesk is a PC Lifecycle Management company planning to provide
- Virtual Desktop Management
- Storage reduction
with no agent on the desktop.
Supports VMware ESX today. Intends to support Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, Citrix XenClient. and application virtualization technologies such as, VMware ThinApp, Microsoft App-V, etc.
CacheCloud: is a content delivery network (think Akamai) for pushing out VDI gold images to different data centers, laptops/desktops in branch offices or machines that connect intermittently. Cloud consists of a large number of virtual appliances, called CachePoints, running one per blade or laptop. Each CachePoint stores user personalization locally as well as replicates it out. CachePoint appliances are made of Linux, have virtualized storage that supports
- thin provisioning
Windows and app code is shared, user personalization is unique. This makes scanning for AV really fast since there is only image of code
Block-level replication of deltas, file-level replication for compositing. Personalization data can be written from several individual CachePoints to a NAS/SAN in the data center which enables legal discovery of changes to data, which was not possible until today.
Composite Virtualization understands the abstract layers, Windows’, apps and user data and knows how to merge them together (composite) in real time to create a bootable C: device and provide a rich desktop experience. Virtualizes each desktop into layers
- exe, com objects and dlls are apps
- Registry – configuration
- everything else is data
It will support encryption in the future: Shared keys for windows and apps code, personal keys for private data
Composting engine sits on top of the device driver and form the individual layers by merging individual IO streams with the namespace knowledge it maintains.
A virtualization storage layer implemented as a NTFS file system filter driver provides a high performance block IO device that talks to the CacheCloud. It loads early in the boot cycle. Once it is loaded, it loads a vmdk disk image which contains Just Enough Windows pre-composited to provide a bootable C drive. The latter can be served from the Cache Cloud.
It Snapshots the system automatically by auto detecting application installs/uninstalls, ActiveX control downloads. An admin can get a timeline view of user-installed software to reconstruct a hosed machine easily from the CacheCloud. Lets you recover system state while retaining your data.
Currently in Beta with 22 customers spanning Financial Institutions, Higher Ed and the Government.
Distribution through a channel strategy, working with Top Channel providers for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft. Can replace WAN acceleration, Backup and DR and Persistent Personalization products.
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
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 Fusion, MED-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.
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).
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.
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.
a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the disk to store the pieces of each file close together and contiguously. It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation.
Generically, the defragmentation of a Windows guest within a virtual disk running on a Windows host (Windows on Windows) requires a three-step process:
- Defragment the guest
- Defragment the virtual disk
- Defragment the host
On a Linux host or guest, the ext3 and ext4 file systems are more resilient to defragmentation.
Windows on Windows
You should perform the following steps whether you are using a Microsoft VHD, VirtualBox VDI or VMware VMDK virtual disk,
- On a Windows guest OS, run the Windows Disk Defragmenter to defragment the files within the volumes stored inside the virtual disk.
- Next, power down the virtual machine and defragment the virtual disk using contig. Defragmenting the virtual disk simply reorganizes the blocks so that used blocks move towards lower-numbered sectors and unused blocks move towards higher-numbered sectors.
- Run the Windows Disk Defragmenter to achieve an overall defragmentation of all files on the host including the virtual disk.
VMware VMDK specific
The following steps can be used generically for VMware VMDK, for Windows on WIndows or any other suppoted platforms. vmware-vdiskmanger:is a standalone tool for defragmenting a growable VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion or VMware Server, vmdk when it is offline. Note that you cannot defragment:
- Preallocated virtual disks
- Physical hard drives
- Virtual disks that are associated with snapshots.
The recommended steps for defragmenting a vmdk are:
- On a Windows guest OS, run the Windows Disk Defragmenter to defragment the files within the volumes stored inside the VMDK.
- Next, power down the virtual machine and defragment the vmdk using the command
vmware-vdiskmanager -d myVirtualDisk.vmdk.Defragmenting the vmdk simply reorganizes the blocks so that used blocks move towards lower-numbered sectors and unused blocks move towards higher-numbered sectors.
- If the host OS is also Windows, run the Windows Disk Defragmenter to achieve an overall defragmentation of all files on the host including the VMDK.
- Windows XP SP3, Office 2007, IE 7, Firefox, Dell D630 Intel Duo Core with 2GB of RAM, 60 GB Hard drive
- VMWare Workstation 6.5 running Fedora 9 with X windows or Ubuntu 8.10 base OS, no other apps running
With just one VM running here is what happens to the host
- Accessing C:\ drive takes noticeably long – is there a file system filter driver in the IO path even when the VM is not running ? There seems to be a non-linear path name resolution / drive mapping logic.
I should figure out whether I can report this somewhere on the VMWare site. They’ll most likely ask for a VM snapshot of my laptop, recursive packaging of VM’s – wonder what new behaviors that will expose?
After a few days of learning how to set up a virtual machine using VMWare Server and losing it all, I talked to Harvey Su, my colleague steeped in UNIX lore. He got me one of our corporate VM Workstation licenses and I recreated my environment on Fedora 9 in a much shorter time (I did not have to download the large Fedora image over the Internet this time around). The paid VMWare Workstation product seems far more mature and is noticeably more “user-friendly” than the free VMWare Server product. The X-Windows interface responds much faster, downloads are noticeably quick, I can suspend my laptop and the VM saves its state, restoring it when the laptop restarts. The integration with Windows is also snazzy. You should use it, it is really cool.
Now Harvey is a big open source fan and he cajoled me into provisioning our application on Ubuntu, a skinned down, install-as-you-need, version of Linux that seems to be in favor with seasoned UNIX developers. Harvey has been toying with deploying our application as a managed service on the Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud (ec2) and had found pre-packaged Ubuntu and mySQL Amazon Machine Images (AMI) offered on ec2. He wanted me to become familiar with the Ubuntu environment. Another 2 hours to download the Ubuntu Server 8.10 ISO and I started installing Ubuntu Server, which has no GUI. It was a character building experience!
I am glad I did not have to deal with Ubuntu over twelve years ago, when I used to drink 10 cups of Peet’s French Roast or Major Dickason’s Blend a day, brewed at my desk on my personal Bodum French Press and was perpetually irascible and on edge. I would have broken something – the monitor, my office chair, my hand or my foot. I did not have the time to go out and buy a copy of Ubuntu for Dummies, I am sure it would have helped, but I did feel like one while I was going through the experience of installing it, apt-getting all the packages, dealing with rpm’s for apps that had to be installed on Ubuntu, make depend failures and getting make to work. I must have done everything wrong that could possibly be done wrong but I had Harvey by my side and he was very calm, patient and steadfast in his missionary zeal to convert me into a lifelong Ubuntu fan (“Paul, you’ll love working with a pureOS”, I can almost hear a hushed ethereal choir and chimes riniging everytime he says this).
Needless to say, giving up coffee and becoming a parent have both helped me find a sense of balance and I was able to appreciate the stunning job that the open source community has done of putting together a professional distribution that works, once a novice user gets everything right! I was glad that I retained my composure throughout and thanked Harvey for this experience at 2 AM when we parted. I would recommend the experience of installing Ubuntu Server to anyone who wants to measure their own self control – great Linux distro, just don’t subject neophytes to it without a Harvey Su at their side.
Oh, we were talking about VMWare Workstation, well it just works. It ROCKS!