A Lab on Your Laptop

Yesterday, on September 10 2008, we had a great launch here at Sun Microsystems of our new xVM (read virtualization) portfolio. A replay of the ca. 45min live webcast,
with Sun's EVP of Software Rich Green, and VP of xVM Steve Wilson, including several special guests, can be seen here.

These are exciting times for virtualization solutions coming from Sun. To be honest, who would have thought a few years ago that we'd have such offerings, and such a launch, including representation from both Microsoft and Intel ?

As part of this live event, Rich and Steve showcased the "Lab on Your Laptop" capabilities of Sun's open-source and easy-to-use xVM VirtualBox.

Well, I had the fun and pleasure to build this demo scenario for the launch.

The high-level overview, of how this was actually implemented, can be best shown with this diagram:

NOTE: all logos are trademarks of the respective companies.

As can be seen:

  • four guest operating systems or virtual machines have been created on top of the Apple MacBook Pro, running Mac OS X "Leopard".
  • Sun's open-source Java EE Application Server "Glassfish" has been installed in the OpenSolaris 2008.05 guest.
  • The standard welcome page of Glassfish has been modified with some additional text, and a little JavaScript that reads the browser and operating system information of the connecting client.
  • An internal network has been created between the four guests, so they can communicate with each other while being totally isolated from the outside world (although two of the guests have been configured additionally to be able to reach the outside world through VirtualBox's NAT capabilities, to be able to download needed binaries for example)

The idea is to be able to do cross-browser and cross-platform application testing, such as to test how certain web pages or web applications render on those different browser and operating systems.

Although this is a fairly straightforward and actually simple setup, I do believe it highlights the many more possibilities and real-world scenarios, and developer's or SysAdmin's needs, of truly having a "Lab on Your Laptop".

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Markus Weber



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