Wednesday Aug 22, 2012

VirtualBox 4.2 Release Candidate 2 is available for testing

Release Candidate 2 of VirtualBox 4.2 is now available for testing. This release is made available for testers and early adopters, and should not be used on production or critical systems.

Version 4.2 will be a major update and contains the following new features.

  • Improved Windows 8 support, in particular many 3D-related fixes
  • Ability to group virtual machines
  • Expert mode for wizards
  • Allow more settings to be modified while a guest is running
  • Support for up to 36 network cards
  • Limiting network IO bandwidth
  • Ability to start VMs during system boot on Linux, OS X and Solaris
  • New experimental support for Drag'n'drop from the host to Linux guests. Support for more guests and for guest-to-host is planned. (bug #81)
  • Host parallel port pass through on Windows platform
  • New API functions for controlling guests (see the SDK documentation)

    In addition to the new functionality, the following bugs have been fixed since the last beta release.

  • Mac OS X hosts: sign application and installer to avoid warnings on Mountain Lion
  • VMM: improved VM context switch performance for Intel CPUs using nested paging
  • VMM: added support for FlushByASID features of AMD CPUs (Bulldozer and newer)
  • VMM: fixed unreal mode handling on older CPUs with VT-x (gPXE, Solaris 7/8/9; bug #9941)
  • VMM: fixed MP tables fixes for I/O APIC interrupt routing relevant for ancient SMP guests (e.g. old OS/2 releases)
  • VMM: support recent VIA CPUs (bug #10005)
  • GUI: network operations manager
  • GUI: allow taking screenshots of the current VM window content
  • GUI: allow automatically sorting of the VM list
  • GUI: allow starting of headless VMs from the GUI
  • GUI: allow reset, shutdown and poweroff from the Manager window
  • GUI: allow to globally limit the maximum screen resolution for guests
  • GUI: show the full medium part on hovering the list of recently used ISO images
  • GUI: do not create additional folders when a new machine has a separator character in its name (bug #6541)
  • GUI: don't crash on terminate if the settings dialog is still open (bug #9973)
  • Snapshots: fixed a crash when restoring an old snapshot when powering off a VM (bug #10491)
  • Settings: sanitise the name of VM folders and settings file (bug #10549)
  • Settings: allow to store the iSCSI initiator secret encrypted
  • E1000: 802.1q VLAN support
  • Storage: implemented burning of audio CDs in passthrough mode
  • Storage: implemented support for discarding unused image blocks through TRIM for SATA and IDE and UNMAP for SCSI when using VDI images
  • Storage: added support for QED images
  • Storage: added support for QCOW (full support for v1 and readonly support for v2 images)
  • Storage: added readonly support for VHDX images
  • Solaris additions: added support for X.org Server 1.11 and 1.12
  • Windows hosts: no need to recreate host-only adapters after a VirtualBox update
  • Windows hosts: updated toolchain; make the source code compatible to VC 2010 and enable some security-related compiler options
  • NAT: improvements for the built-in TFTP server (bugs #7385, #10286)

    Please refer to the VirtualBox 4.2 Release Candidate 2 Changelog for a complete list of changes and enhancements.

    Binaries for Windows, MacOS, Linux and Solaris can be downloaded here.

    Important Note: Please do not use this VirtualBox Beta release on production machines. A VirtualBox Release Candidate should be used for early evaluation and testing purposes.

    Report problems or issues at the VirtualBox Beta Forum.

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  • Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

    VirtualBox 4.2 Release Candidate 1 is available for testing

    Release Candidate 1 of VirtualBox 4.2 is now available for testing. This release is made available for testers and early adopters, and should not be used on production or critical systems.

    Version 4.2 will be a major update and contains the following new features.

  • Improved Windows 8 support, in particular many 3D-related fixes
  • Ability to group virtual machines
  • Expert mode for wizards
  • Allow more settings to be modified while a guest is running
  • Support for up to 36 network cards
  • Limiting network IO bandwidth
  • Ability to start VMs during system boot on Linux, OS X and Solaris
  • New experimental support for Drag'n'drop from the host to Linux guests. Support for more guests and for guest-to-host is planned. (bug #81)
  • Host parallel port pass through on Windows platform

    In addition to the new functionality, the following bugs have been fixed since the last beta release.

  • Mac OS X hosts: sign application and installer to avoid warnings on Mountain Lion
  • VMM: improved VM context switch performance for Intel CPUs using nested paging
  • VMM: added support for FlushByASID features of AMD CPUs (Bulldozer and newer)
  • VMM: fixed unreal mode handling on older CPUs with VT-x (gPXE, Solaris 7/8/9; bug #9941)
  • VMM: fixed MP tables fixes for I/O APIC interrupt routing relevant for ancient SMP guests (e.g. old OS/2 releases)
  • VMM: support recent VIA CPUs (bug #10005)
  • GUI: network operations manager
  • GUI: allow taking screenshots of the current VM window content
  • GUI: allow automatically sorting of the VM list
  • GUI: allow starting of headless VMs from the GUI
  • GUI: allow reset, shutdown and poweroff from the Manager window
  • GUI: allow to globally limit the maximum screen resolution for guests
  • GUI: show the full medium part on hovering the list of recently used ISO images
  • GUI: do not create additional folders when a new machine has a separator character in its name (bug #6541)
  • GUI: don't crash on terminate if the settings dialog is still open (bug #9973)
  • Snapshots: fixed a crash when restoring an old snapshot when powering off a VM (bug #10491)
  • Settings: sanitise the name of VM folders and settings file (bug #10549)
  • Settings: allow to store the iSCSI initiator secret encrypted
  • E1000: 802.1q VLAN support
  • Storage: implemented burning of audio CDs in passthrough mode
  • Storage: implemented support for discarding unused image blocks through TRIM for SATA and IDE and UNMAP for SCSI when using VDI images
  • Storage: added support for QED images
  • Storage: added support for QCOW (full support for v1 and readonly support for v2 images)
  • Storage: added readonly support for VHDX images
  • Solaris additions: added support for X.org Server 1.11 and 1.12
  • Windows hosts: no need to recreate host-only adapters after a VirtualBox update
  • Windows hosts: updated toolchain; make the source code compatible to VC 2010 and enable some security-related compiler options

    Please refer to the VirtualBox 4.2 Release Candidate 1 Changelog for a complete list of changes and enhancements.

    Binaries for Windows, MacOS, Linux and Solaris can be downloaded here.

    Important Note: Please do not use this VirtualBox Beta release on production machines. A VirtualBox Release Candidate should be used for early evaluation and testing purposes.

    Report problems or issues at the VirtualBox Beta Forum.

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  • VirtualBox 4.1.20 is now available

    VirtualBox 4.1.20 has been released and is now available. This is a maintenance release for version 4.1 and contains the following fixes.

  • VMM: fixed a crash under rare circumstances for VMs running without hardware virtualization
  • VMM: fixed a code analysis bug for certain displacement instructions for VMs running without hardware virtualization
  • VMM: fixed an interpretion bug for TPR read instructions under rare conditions (AMD-V only)
  • Snapshots: fixed a crash when restoring an old snapshot when powering off a VM (bugs #9604, #10491)
  • VBoxSVC: be more tolerant against environment variables with strange encodings (bug #8780)
  • VGA: fixed wrong access check which might cause a crash under certain conditions
  • NAT: final fix for crashes under rare conditions (bug #10513)
  • Virtio-net: fixed the problem with receiving of GSO packets in Windows XP guests causing packet loss in host-to-VM transfers
  • HPET: several fixes (bugs #10170, #10306)
  • Clipboard: disable the clipboard by default for new VMs
  • BIOS: the PCI BIOS was not properly detected with the chipset type set to ICH9 (bugs #9301, #10327)
  • Mac OS X hosts: adaptions to Mountain Lion
  • Linux Installer: fixes for Gentoo Linux (bug #10642)
  • Linux guests: fixed mouse integration on Fedora 17 guests (bug #2306)
  • Linux Additions: compile fixes for RHEL/CentOS 6.3 (bug #10756)
  • Linux Additions: compile fixes for Linux 3.5-rc1 and Linux 3.6-rc1 (bug #10709)
  • Solaris host: fixed a guru meditation while allocating large pages (bug #10600)
  • Solaris host: fixed possible kernel panics while freeing memory
  • Solaris Installer: fixed missing icon for menu and desktop shortcuts

    The full changelog can be found here.

    You can download binaries for Windows, OS X (Intel Mac), Linux and Solaris hosts at
    http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

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  • Wednesday Aug 15, 2012

    Pre-work for Upcoming Solaris 11 Boot Camps

    Over the next few weeks, I will be hosting some Solaris 11 hands on workshops. Some of these will be public events at an Oracle office while others will be private sessions for a specific customer.

    The public sessions I'm hosting are

    Note: there is also another identical Solaris 11 session hosted by my colleague, Pavel Anni, in Broomfield, Colorado on August 23.

    If you are planning on attending any of these sessions (including Pavel's), there are several things you can do in advance that will help not only you, but your fellow attendees.

    Enable VT-x or AMD-V on your Laptop

    If you will be using VirtualBox to host your workshop guest image, you need to enable the hardware virtualization feature. This is typically found in your BIOS and where you find the setting varies by laptop manufacturer. If you do not find it in the system or CPU settings, try looking in security. If you are given the choice of VT-x and VT-d, you only need to enable VT-x.

    If you have a company laptop that does not allow you to change the BIOS settings, you might ask your employer if they can provide you one for the day that is not locked down.

    Note: Enabling hardware virtualization is a requirement to complete the workshop.

    Download and Install VirtualBox

    Since this will be primarily a hands on lab, you are encouraged to bring a laptop. The labs will all be run in a Solaris guest machine, so your laptop will also need a virtualization application, such as VMware or VirtualBox. We recommend VirtualBox. You can download a free copy at VirtualBox.org. Binaries are available for Windows, MacOS, Solaris and most Linux distributions.

    After installing VirtualBox, you should also install the VirtualBox Extensions Pack. These are not required for the lab, but should you continue to use the guest machine after the workshop, you might find some of the features very useful.

    Download a Solaris 11 VM Appliance from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN)

    You can download a pre-built Solaris 11 guest image directly from the Oracle Technology Network. Here is a link to the VM download page. Accept the license and download the latest Solaris 11 VirtualBox guest image.

    Once downloaded, you can use the VirtualBox VM import function to create a usable guest. Clicking File -> Import Appliance on the VirtualBox main window will launch the import wizard. Select the file you just downloaded and in a few minutes you will have a bootable Solaris 11 guest. The import process should look something like this.


    Click image to enlarge

    Configure the Solaris Guest

    The first time you boot the Solaris 11 guest, you will be required to complete a short configuration dialog. Once you have specified all of the items on the page, press F2 to advance to the next screen.

    The introduction screen looks like this.



    Click image to enlarge

    On the second page, specify the host name and default network setup. The default name of solaris is used throughout the lab. For the network setup, select Automatic.



    Click image to enlarge

    The next item in the initial system configuration is the timezone. That does not matter for the hands on labs. If you are experiencing poor weather, I have found that setting the system to Aruba time can be helpful.

    The final step is to set the root password and set up the initial user. To stay consistent with the lab handouts, set the root password to oracle2011. The initial user should be specified as lab and its password should be oracle1.



    Click image to enlarge

    Finally, you will be presented a summary screen, which should look something like this. When satisfied, press F2 to complete.



    Click image to enlarge

    The Solaris 11 VM image from the Oracle Technology Network has the VirtualBox Guest Additions already installed. This enables keyboard and mouse integration as well resize/seamless windows.

    Set up a Local Repository

    To complete the zone installation labs in the workshop, you will need to access the Oracle public Solaris 11 repository, which means you also must have wireless network access. This does not always work well in a workshop with 30 or 40 users stressing out the local wireless access point. To make this easier, you can create your own customized package repository in your newly imported Solaris 11 guest. My colleague, Pavel Anni, has supplied this excellent set of instructions on how to do that..

    1. Create a directory or a ZFS file system to hold your local repository.

    # mkdir /repo
    or 
    # zfs create -o mountpoint=/repo -o compress=gzip rpool/repo
    
    2. Create an empty repository in it
    # pkgrepo create /repo
    
    3. Create a text file 'zone-pkgs.txt' with the list of necessary packages. That list should look like this (cut and paste is your best friend).
    
    pkg://solaris/compress/bzip2
    pkg://solaris/compress/gzip
    pkg://solaris/compress/p7zip
    pkg://solaris/compress/unzip
    pkg://solaris/compress/zip
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/SunVTS/SunVTS-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/X/X-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/admin/admin-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/cacao/cacao-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/cde/cde-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/cns/cns-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/dbtg/dbtg-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/desktop/desktop-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/desktop/gnome-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/gfx/gfx-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/install/install-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/ips/ips-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/java/java-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/jdmk/jdmk-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/l10n/l10n-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/ldoms/ldoms-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/man/man-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/nspg/nspg-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/nvidia/nvidia-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/osnet/osnet-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/sfw/sfw-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/sic_team/sic_team-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/solaris_re/solaris_re-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/sunpro/sunpro-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/ub_javavm/ub_javavm-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/userland/userland-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/vpanels/vpanels-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/consolidation/xvm/xvm-incorporation
    pkg://solaris/crypto/ca-certificates
    pkg://solaris/database/sqlite-3
    pkg://solaris/developer/base-developer-utilities
    pkg://solaris/developer/debug/mdb
    pkg://solaris/developer/macro/cpp
    pkg://solaris/diagnostic/cpu-counters
    pkg://solaris/diagnostic/snoop
    pkg://solaris/diagnostic/tcpdump
    pkg://solaris/driver/serial/asy
    pkg://solaris/driver/storage/cmdk
    pkg://solaris/driver/storage/mpt
    pkg://solaris/driver/x11/xsvc
    pkg://solaris/editor/vim/vim-core
    pkg://solaris/entire
    pkg://solaris/group/system/solaris-small-server
    pkg://solaris/library/database/gdbm
    pkg://solaris/library/expat
    pkg://solaris/library/libffi
    pkg://solaris/library/libidn
    pkg://solaris/library/libmilter
    pkg://solaris/library/libtecla
    pkg://solaris/library/libxml2
    pkg://solaris/library/libxslt
    pkg://solaris/library/ncurses
    pkg://solaris/library/nspr
    pkg://solaris/library/perl-5/sun-solaris-512
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/cherrypy-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/lxml-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/m2crypto-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/mako-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/ply-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/pybonjour-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/pycurl-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/pyopenssl-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/python-extra-26
    pkg://solaris/library/python-2/simplejson-26
    pkg://solaris/library/readline
    pkg://solaris/library/security/nss
    pkg://solaris/library/security/openssl
    pkg://solaris/library/security/trousers
    pkg://solaris/library/zlib
    pkg://solaris/media/cdrtools
    pkg://solaris/media/xorriso
    pkg://solaris/naming/ldap
    pkg://solaris/network/bridging
    pkg://solaris/network/dns/bind
    pkg://solaris/network/ipfilter
    pkg://solaris/network/open-fabrics
    pkg://solaris/network/ping
    pkg://solaris/network/rsync
    pkg://solaris/network/ssh
    pkg://solaris/network/ssh/ssh-key
    pkg://solaris/package/pkg
    pkg://solaris/package/pkg/zones-proxy
    pkg://solaris/package/svr4
    pkg://solaris/release/name
    pkg://solaris/release/notices
    pkg://solaris/runtime/perl-512
    pkg://solaris/runtime/python-26
    pkg://solaris/security/nss-utilities
    pkg://solaris/security/sudo
    pkg://solaris/security/tcp-wrapper
    pkg://solaris/service/file-system/nfs
    pkg://solaris/service/network/dns/mdns
    pkg://solaris/service/network/smtp/sendmail
    pkg://solaris/service/network/ssh
    pkg://solaris/service/security/gss
    pkg://solaris/service/security/kerberos-5
    pkg://solaris/shell/bash
    pkg://solaris/shell/ksh
    pkg://solaris/system/boot-environment-utilities
    pkg://solaris/system/boot/wanboot
    pkg://solaris/system/core-os
    pkg://solaris/system/data/terminfo/terminfo-core
    pkg://solaris/system/data/timezone
    pkg://solaris/system/device-administration
    pkg://solaris/system/dtrace
    pkg://solaris/system/dtrace/dtrace-toolkit
    pkg://solaris/system/fault-management
    pkg://solaris/system/fault-management/smtp-notify
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/autofs
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/hsfs
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/nfs
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/pcfs
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/udfs
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/ufs
    pkg://solaris/system/file-system/zfs
    pkg://solaris/system/install
    pkg://solaris/system/install/configuration
    pkg://solaris/system/install/locale
    pkg://solaris/system/kernel
    pkg://solaris/system/kernel/platform
    pkg://solaris/system/kernel/secure-rpc
    pkg://solaris/system/kernel/security/gss
    pkg://solaris/system/library
    pkg://solaris/system/library/boot-management
    pkg://solaris/system/library/c++-runtime
    pkg://solaris/system/library/gcc-3-runtime
    pkg://solaris/system/library/iconv/utf-8
    pkg://solaris/system/library/install
    pkg://solaris/system/library/libpcap
    pkg://solaris/system/library/math
    pkg://solaris/system/library/openmp
    pkg://solaris/system/library/security/gss
    pkg://solaris/system/library/security/gss/diffie-hellman
    pkg://solaris/system/library/security/gss/spnego
    pkg://solaris/system/library/security/libsasl
    pkg://solaris/system/library/security/rpcsec
    pkg://solaris/system/library/storage/libdiskmgt
    pkg://solaris/system/library/storage/scsi-plugins
    pkg://solaris/system/linker
    pkg://solaris/system/locale
    pkg://solaris/system/manual
    pkg://solaris/system/manual/locale
    pkg://solaris/system/network
    pkg://solaris/system/network/nis
    pkg://solaris/system/network/routing
    pkg://solaris/system/prerequisite/gnu
    pkg://solaris/system/resource-mgmt/resource-caps
    pkg://solaris/system/resource-mgmt/resource-pools
    pkg://solaris/system/system-events
    pkg://solaris/system/zones
    pkg://solaris/system/zones/brand/brand-solaris
    pkg://solaris/terminal/luit
    pkg://solaris/terminal/resize
    pkg://solaris/text/doctools
    pkg://solaris/text/doctools/ja
    pkg://solaris/text/groff/groff-core
    pkg://solaris/text/less
    pkg://solaris/text/spelling-utilities
    pkg://solaris/web/curl
    pkg://solaris/web/wget
    pkg://solaris/x11/header/x11-protocols
    pkg://solaris/x11/library/libfontenc
    pkg://solaris/benchmark/iperf
    
    4. Populate your local repository with the required packages. At present, it is not possible to do this in parallel, so the packages much be received on at a time. Depending on your network speed, this step could take 2 to 3 hours.
    # for f in `cat zone-pkgs.txt` ; \ 
    do pkgrecv -s http://pkg.oracle.com/solaris/release -d /repo $f ; \ 
    echo $f ; \ 
    done
    pkgrepo rebuild -s /repo
    
    5. Check if you really have 167 packages (if you have downloaded and installed the archive, it might be more, we have added apache and iperf packages for our demo purposes)
    # pkgrepo info -s file:///repo
    
    6. Set up and enable package repository service in the global zone:
    # svccfg -s application/pkg/server setprop pkg/inst_root=/repo   
    # svcprop -p pkg/inst_root application/pkg/server   (Just checking...)
    # svcadm refresh application/pkg/server 
    # svcadm enable application/pkg/server 
    
    7. Switch repositories (disable the all existing ones and mirrors and enable the local one):
    # pkg set-publisher -G '*' -M '*' -g http://10.0.2.15/ solaris
    
    Note that it should use your global zone's IP address (in this case, provided automatically by VirtualBox). Then all the zones you create will keep this address and be able to install packages from the global zone. It won't work if you set your repository's HTTP address just to http://localhost.

    Download zoneplot

    The zones portion of the hands on lab will make use of two utilities that are not in Solaris. You will need to download both Pavel Anni's zoneplot and Andreas Bernauer's Gnuplot driver utility

    Optional: Return your Solaris publisher to the Oracle default repository

    When you have completed all of the labs, you can restore the original Oracle default repository.
    # pkg set-publisher -G '*' -g http://pkg.oracle.com/solaris/release -P solaris
    
    That should be about it. Please leave a comment if you have any questions. I am looking forward to seeing you at one of these, or a future Solaris event.

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    About

    Bob Netherton is a Principal Sales Consultant for the North American Commercial Hardware group, specializing in Solaris, Virtualization and Engineered Systems. Bob is also a contributing author of Solaris 10 Virtualization Essentials.

    This blog will contain information about all three, but primarily focused on topics for Solaris system administrators.

    Please follow me on Twitter Facebook or send me email

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