Sunday May 03, 2009

"Free" Hypervisor Options

Since my last post where I described that the xVM Server product is being bundled into xVM Ops Center, I got a lot of questions about whether this means there's no truly open source option for hypervisors from Sun.  Of course, first there is VirtualBox.  There have been over 10,000,000 downloads of VirtualBox and it keeps getting better and better.  However, lots of people are clearly interested in a type-1, bare-metal hypervisor that supports features like multi-CPU guests and migration.

One great option for people that want a completely open source type-1 hypervisor is the xVM hypervisor that's included in every copy of OpenSolaris.  This is the same hypervisor that's at the core of xVM Server, but it's exposed as a feature of the OS instead of as a managed appliance -- all the same base capabilities are there.  It can be a little tricky to get started with xVM hypervisor if you don't have exposure to this style of product.  However, Paul Telles recently put up a couple of blog entries that show everything you need in order to get the hypervisor installed at get your first Windows VM running inside:

Check it out!

Sunday May 11, 2008

My Weekend with xVM VirtualBox 1.6

I did a quick install of xVM VirtualBox 1.6 a bit more than a week ago.  Then I got sucked into the JavaOne vortex, so it wasn't until Saturday that I got some really quality time to play with it.  So, I sat down on my Dell home PC (at XPS 400 if you must know) and set about trying some new things.

The first thing I decided to do was install the new OpenSolaris.  It was very smooth, and is even slicker than the Developer Preview 2 I'd done previously with VirtualBox 1.5.  One of the things I noticed after I booted from the Live CD image was that I was only using one CPU core doing the install (no surprised that this is a single threaded process).  So, I decided to get really greedy and created a second VM and installed the newest Ubuntu 8.0.4 release at the same time.  Here's a little picture of what it looks like (click the image for a full size link).

Installing OpenSolaris and Linux simultaneously on top of Windows XP -- how crazy is that?!?  The scary thing is, that it works like a dream.  The really scary thing is that I'm a relative newbie at using VirtualBox and I'm barely UNIX literate (having spent my early career developing on Mac and mostly using Windows these days for my work computers).  While a Solaris install may once have been only for certified Solaris system admins, that doesn't need to be the case anymore.

Now, there were a couple of little gotchas where I needed help (but Google was very helpful at finding me some pages).  The first thing I needed help with was getting the OpenSolaris networking going inside VirtualBox.  It turns out I had to change the default VirtualBox network adapter Intel Pro/1000MT from PC Net-Fast III and I was on my way.  Second thing I needed help with was installing the OpenSolaris guest additions.  The "guest additions" are software bits that you install into the guest OS that allows it to integrate with VirtualBox very tightly.  VirtualBox makes this easy by providing a menu item to automount a phantom CD-ROM to the desktop of the guest with all the software you need, but you must use a few commands to get it installed (any Solaris admin would know what to do -- I'm not a Solaris admin).  Fortunately, there is a nice little entry someone put together comp-sos web site that walks you through the whole thing.  Very Nicely Constructed!  xVM pubs team should take note!

Doing the Ubuntu install was also very straight forward.  I know the VirtualBox team has been working wth Ubuntu for a long time, and it shows.  Again, the only thing that stumped me was the details on installing the guest additions.  However, I quickly found this article that made it all clear.

Kudos to the VirtualBox and OpenSolaris teams.  Two major releases that work great together!

Monday Feb 18, 2008

Open Solaris in a Box

So, I just did my first Open Solaris install!  I just put the new Developer Preview 2 of OpenSolaris into a VirtualBox VM.  Seems to be working great (running on top of Microsoft Vista!).  Here's a picture of the VirtualBox UI with my VM and Disk Image displayed.


Here's a picture of the VM running inside VirtualBox. You can click to see it fun

The one tip I can give you if you try this yourself is that you'll need to bump up the size of the default video RAM size on the VM from the default 8 MB.  Otherwise you won't be able to boot.  However, this was really easy in the VirtualBox control panel.


Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.


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