1. OpenSolaris presentation at Technical University of Kosice

Couple of weeks ago we (CZOSUG) were invited to do a presentation of OpenSolaris at Technical University in Kosice, Slovakia(tiny, but beautiful country in the heart of Europe) by a local university computer network laboratory.

singing fountain before the theatre in Košice

I traveled there with my colleague Vita and we presented OpenSolaris, Virtualbox, showcasing some Solaris technologies and deep diving into ZFS, Zones and Dtrace.

I have a picture from the event, so see for yourself :

me showing the intro to OpenSolaris

During the presentation I promised to answer questions, which I took offline, on my blog, so here you go guys (ENG is in round brackets) :

Q: Funguje "copy & paste" medzi virtuálnymi strojmi(VM) vo VirtualBoxe?
(Does copy & paste work between two virtual machines(VM) in VirtualBox?)
A: áno, proste funguje, AK su správne nainštalované a funkčné "Hosťovské doplnky", je nutné podotknúť, že pre väčšinu systémov copy and paste medzi VM a hostiteľom funguje len v grafickom rozhrani (X, alebo Windows)
(Yes, it just works, IF the "Guest Additions" are correctly installed and working, we have to mention, that for majority of OSes copy and paste between VMs and host works only in graphics (X, or Windows).)

Q: Dá sa pripojiť virtuálny disk .vdi k systému na čítanie aj bez naštartovania vo VirtualBoxe?
(Can one mount a virtual disk .vdi to a system for reading without having it shared in running VirtualBox?)
A: áno, no nie je to triviálne a zatiaľ oficiálne podporované, odporúčam blog kolegu Renauda a určite si pozrite forum virtualboxu pre pripájanie vdi obrazov (myslím si, že táto aplikácia bude adoptovaná virtualboxom, prípadne väčšinou distribúcii a umožní transparentné pripájanie obrazov diskov vo formáte .vdi)
(Yes, but it is not trivial and not officially supported, I recommend a blog from colleague Renaud and be sure to check virtualbox forum project for mounting vdi images (I think that this application will be adopted by VirtualBox and maybe by majority of distributions and will allow transparent mounting of disk images in .vdi format))

Q: Ak odinštalujem balíček v IPS pomocou pkg, budu odinštalované aj závislosti, ktoré si balíček doinštaloval a už nie sú viac potrebné?
(If you uninstall a package using IPS pkg command, will also its dependencies, that it installed, be uninstalled , when they are no longer used by any other packages?)
A: zatiaľ nie. Pokiaľ viem, je to funkcionalita, ktorú má v dnešnej dobe iba Debian a jeho deriváty v podobe deborphan, ktorý bol prednedávnom pripojený do apt (obdoba pkg, no pre správu .deb balíčkov). Začal som ale mailové vlákno na danú tému, tak uvidíme aká bude odozva vývojárov IPS (skontrolujte dané mailové vlákno pre viac informácii).
(Not yet. As far as I know, it's functionality, which is today only Debian and its derivatives in the form deborphan, which was recently annexed into apt (it's something like the pkg, but for managing .deb packages). I started a mail thread on the subject, so we'll see what will be the response of IPS developers (please check the mail thread for more info).)

Q: Dajú sa do virtuálneho stroja vkladať lokálne disky?
(Can you use local hard drive in virtualbox?)
A: nie priamo virtualboxom, no jedna z možností čo tento problém rieši nepriamo je iSCSI - viac v príkaze VBoxManage, príp. návod z blogov Sun-u(hostiteľ je Solaris a jeho iscsi server) alebo v príručke virtualboxu
(Not directly by VirtualBox, but one of the options that addresses this issue indirectly is iSCSI - more in help of VBoxManage command, eventually check instructions from sun blog(host is Solaris and its iscsi server) or in the manual of virtualbox

Q: Ako je to správou veľkého počtu virtuálnych strojov vo Virtualboxe?
(How to manage a large number of virtual machines in VirtualBox?)
A: momentálne si človek musi vyrobiť vlastné riešenie, založené buď na príkazovej riadke (pomocou VBoxManage v pdf príručke, sekcia VBoxManage reference) alebo na web services - vboxwebsrv (viac vo VirtualBox SDK). Je istý predpoklad, že Sun doplní podporu pre virtualbox aj do xVM Ops Center-a, čo je hlavný nástroj na správu serverov momentálne vyvíjaný v Sune.
(Currently, one must create his own solution, based either on the command line (using VBoxManage pdf manual section VBoxManage reference) or on web services - vboxwebsrv (more in the VirtualBox SDK). It could be that Sun will add support for VirtualBox in the xVM Ops Center, which is the main management tool for servers currently being developed by Sun.)

I left the tricky question till the end:
Q: Aká je výkonová strata virtualizácie pri porovnaní Xen-u a Virtualbox-u?
(What is the virtualization performance loss when comparing Xen and VirtualBox?)
A: táto otázka je strašne zaujímavá, no bola vzťahovaná na porovnanie VirtualBox-u a Xen-u. A to je sčasti ako porovnávať hrušky a jablká. VirtualBox plne emuluje virtuálny počítač, no Xen musí mať príslušné jadro OS "portované na platformu" Xen(i86pv). Takáto paravirtualizácia v Xen-e je blízka výkonu jadra priamo na HW (uvádza sa, že záťaž spôsobená virtualizáciou je menej ako 10%), no cena je práve uvedená modifikácia OS. Sun xVM Server založený na technológii Xen(od v.3.0 vyššie) ponúka ešte možnosť tkzv. HVM módu - čiže plnej virtualizácie a tá by sa už možno dala porovnávať s virtualboxom. Tu sa ale dostávame k ďalšiemu problému a tým je testovacie kritérium. Potom na konci vysvitne, že pri istých podmienkach je vhodnejší VirtualBox a pri iných zase Xen, zaujímavý článok ohľadne tohto som našiel na fedoraproject.org - je to ale iba porovnanie na Linuxe, takže zase nie stopercentne objektívny článok a v podstate aj dosť starý. Ďalšia debata by mohla nasledovať, ak by sme porovnávali virtuálne stroje bez a s hosťovskými doplnkami. Takže z mojej strany by som asi navrhol, nech si každý skúsi a rozhodne sám. Objektívnu odpoveď si netrúfam vysloviť.
(This question is very interesting, it was asked regarding VirtualBox and Xen. This is unfortunately the same as comparing apples and pears. VirtualBox fully emulates a virtual computer, but Xen must have the OS kernel "ported into the platform" Xen (i86pv). Such paravirtualization in Xen is close to running on bare metal hardware (it says that the overhead caused by virtualization is less than 10%), but the price for it is the porting effort. Sun xVM Server based on the Xen technology (v.3.0 from above) has a so called HVM mode - full virtualization, and could be compared with VirtualBox. Here, however, get to the next problem and this is benchmarking. Then in the end one figures out, that in certain situations VirtualBox is better and in other Xen, an interesting article on this is on fedoraproject.org - it's but only a comparison on Linux, so it's not that objective and in fact, quite old. Further discussion could follow, if we compare the virtual and host machines without guest additions. So from my side, I would suggest you go & try each and decide for yourself. I don't dare to answer this objectively.)

So I'd like to thank YOU for reading this blog and guys in Slovakia for coming to our presentation.

Two days ago I found out that students from that university started Slovak OpenSolaris User Group - SKOSUG after our presentation, so I'd really like the outcome of the whole trip and who knows, maybe I get a chance to come back and present more ;)

Oh ... and find the slides on the CZOSUG archive site and I hope the video will be uploaded to the videoserver of the university lab soon.

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