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Sun Microsystems Software

Sun Bare Metal Hypervisors Now GPLv3 154

Posted by kdawson
from the make-it-up-in-volume dept.
ruphus13 writes with some more news for people foretelling the death of VMware. Sun has open sourced their xVM server, their bare-metal hypervisor virtualization solution. What used to once be the cash cow for VMware is now coming under increased threat, and Sun is once again turning to the Open Source community as a weapon. "Sun xVM Server is an outgrowth of the Xen project — which raises the question of why a company would go with Sun's version rather than the Xen one. Apart from its support for SPARC and Solaris (as well as other chips and operating systems), Sun is also building a services and sales organization around a commercial version of xVM server... If you want to kick the tires or cut your costs, you can hop over to xVMServer.org, download the source (GPL 3) and join the community. But Sun is betting that, as deployments move from an initial testing phase to active usage, large organizations will be willing to pay for guaranteed support (starting at $500 per year per physical server)."
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Sun Bare Metal Hypervisors Now GPLv3

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  • cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:41AM (#24978259)
    $500 bucks a year per physical server is pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things. Basically, you can try out and use it for free as you set the server(s) up, but when you go live, you can have the assurance that proper support brings. Or not. Your choice. Good move on Sun's part.
    • Re:cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spydum (828400) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:45AM (#24978307)
      I don't think it will be as successful as they hoped. Sun is far too late to this x86 virtualization game. LDOM's and Containers, and Xen are great technologies, but they just haven't been nearly as flexible as VMWare's offering. Management of the environments (LDOM/Containers/Xen guests) has been very kludgy. This is where VMWare has really gained dominance, and I suspect will retain it. They are years ahead in virtualization management.
      • Re:cheap (Score:5, Informative)

        by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:52AM (#24978461) Homepage

        Truth be told, the new xVM from sun (they bought VirtualBox) is pretty good. Certainly better than VB used to be, since it'll now actually boot windows XP and stuff. If their bare metal stuff is as good, I may just jump ship here.

        • Seconded. VirtualBox is damn fine, and running Windows 2000 in a VM on a Leengux host seems to be a heck of a lot less strain on the host system than the free VMware Player is. (Core 2 Duo, 1GB memory, Kubuntu 8.04.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I don't think it will be as successful as they hoped. Sun is far too late to this x86 virtualization game. LDOM's and Containers, and Xen are great technologies, but they just haven't been nearly as flexible as VMWare's offering. Management of the environments (LDOM/Containers/Xen guests) has been very kludgy. This is where VMWare has really gained dominance, and I suspect will retain it. They are years ahead in virtualization management.

        Not to nitpick too much, but there's some apples/oranges comparisons here. Xen is a paravirtualization technology, whereas VMWare is a straight-up virtualization technology. Paravirtualization is usually more efficient with like operating systems, so it does play to a different segment.

        It's like saying VMWare is better than Qemu, though Qemu lets me emulate arm and sh4 architecture machines and VMWare doesn't. Different tools for different jobs.

        • Re:cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tji (74570) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:30AM (#24979073)

          > Xen is a paravirtualization technology, whereas VMWare is a straight-up virtualization technology.

          That may have been true at some point. But, Xen has long ago supported full hardware virtualization (allowing it to run an unmodified OS, such as Windows). And, VMware now supports paravirtualization via "VMI" which they got included in the standard Linux kernel.

          In any case, the more important issue is their management capabilities. Xen has struggled in the past because its management was weak compared to VMware. If Sun can put their resources into improving the management side of things, they could make an impact.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            > Xen is a paravirtualization technology, whereas VMWare is a straight-up virtualization technology.

            That may have been true at some point. But, Xen has long ago supported full hardware virtualization (allowing it to run an unmodified OS, such as Windows). And, VMware now supports paravirtualization via "VMI" which they got included in the standard Linux kernel.

            In any case, the more important issue is their management capabilities. Xen has struggled in the past because its management was weak compared to VMware. If Sun can put their resources into improving the management side of things, they could make an impact.

            Xen's primary strength, however, is paravirtualization. Anything else on top of that is what you make of it.

            Also, there's a nice Virtual Machine management console available in the newer Linux distributions (libvirtd-based). Not perfect, but a step in the right direction for those of us which require paravirtualization.

      • Re:cheap (Score:5, Informative)

        by WilsonSD (159419) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:50AM (#24979385) Homepage

        We've already shipped over 6 million copies of our desktop hypervisor (xVM VirtualBox), which is available under GPL v2 from virtualBox.org. You should go check it out.

        We're putting a lot of resources into virtualization and we're going to surprise people.

        -Steve Wilson

        VP, xVM
        Sun Microsystems
        http://blogs.sun.com/stevewilson

        • We've already shipped over 6 million copies of our desktop hypervisor

          I can't think of a better way to give people a taste of virtualisation, myself. Once people see how easy it is to use on the desktop, they'll be more willing to accept the transition to this new way of providing services. By this I mean better acceptance of server consolidation, greener DC's etc. I just did a spec for a power company bringing some 400 discrete servers into a rack of Sun blades, and the power savings for that alone was close to half a megawatt. You give some, you get some, and it all add

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by discogravy (455376)
        Tell it to Novell: netware was it when it came to networking. Until Windows NT built it in. It wasn't as good as Novell, but it didn't need to be: it was free. MS is going after VMWare's "casual" users -- folks who would be interested but wouldn't lay out bucks for 10 ESX servers to host thousands of VMs. Sun's not competing for VM's market, they're fighting MS and Xen for the scraps coming off the VMWare carcass. VMWare's got years in the game still -- Win2k8 adoption is not exactly lightning-fast, Sun's a
    • Re:cheap (Score:5, Informative)

      by twiddlingbits (707452) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:15AM (#24978835)
      Thats not the full costs. I just looked at this the other day for my company. There are a lot of other costs involved if you want support and a 100% Sun solution guaranteed to work. I've also seen no benchmarks versus VMWare.
      Pricing Information
      Sun offers standalone subscriptions for Sun xVM Server software and Sun xVM Ops Center, as well as additional options that offer the combined benefits of the two products, allowing customers to virtualize and manage at Internet scale. Commercial subscriptions are priced annually in four-socket increments and provide premium 24X7 support, access to the latest, up-to-the-minute patches and updates, as well as installation and training. Available pricing options include:
      * Sun xVM Server software: Priced at $500/year per physical server.
      * Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise Subscription: Priced at $2000 per physical server per year, the enterprise subscription is designed to simplify the management of large scale virtualized environments and includes advanced features, such as management of live migration and of multiple network storage libraries.
      * Sun xVM Infrastructure Datacenter Subscription: Priced at $3000 per server per year, this option includes all the features in the Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise Subscription in addition to physical server monitoring, management and advanced software lifecycle management capabilities.
      * Sun xVM Ops Center: Available from $100 per managed server up to $350 a year, depending on customer selected features, along with a required $10,000 Satellite Server annual subscription for Sun xVM Ops Center.

      There are some significant technical restrictions as well if you dig deep you'll find
      Disk on which xVM server is installed
      * SATA or SAS (serial SCSI) * Fiber Channel to a JBOD * IDE disks are not supported
      Attached storage
      * NFS/TCP/IP/ethernet remote storage * CIFS remote storage
      Networking
      * Ethernet-based NICs supporting the Solaris GLDv3 driver specification * only MTUs of 1500 bytes are supported
      * For Windows guests, customers wanting full Microsoft support should run xVM Server on Windows Server 2008 logo certified hardware.
      • -IDE drives are not supported as in who uses them in a real server anyway??
        -NFS/TCP/IP/ethernet remote storage * CIFS remote storage -- as in that's not enough??
        -NICS supporting the Solaris GLDv3 driver specification-- fine
        -only MTUs of 1500 bytes are supported (when did you see one smaller recently??)
        - Windows Server 2008 logo certified hardware-- that's about all of the servers I know, sadly.

        Sun may thwart this one, too, but I'll give them a fighting chance. The model's somewhat sound but I'm eager to see

        • Nobody wants smaller MTUs, but with 1 and 10 gigabit ethernet, they sure as hell want larger ones.

          • GBE is FC at the MAC-- and a 1500 byte MTU is totally suitable. As for larger/jumbo frames in 10GBE(+), there's an increase in overhead admittedly.... but what relevant server doesn't use a TOE card to handle that anyway? Mostly moot, IMHO.

            • by TheLink (130905)
              Does it support vlan trunking/tags? IIRC vmware didn't use to support vlan stuff properly.
            • by swb (14022)

              Its not just checksum offloading, its the extra bytes making up the frame multiplied by many thousands of unnecessary frames.

              • Oh, I want all of those frames.

                You see, a lot of traffic is comprised of protocols that have miserably short answers. The banter back and forth between hosts is often maintenance traffic, and large packets/long packets can't encompass the data. It harkens back to the old days of ack/nak, file I/O requests, and other datagram traffic.

                I'm not suggesting that large MTUs might not be more efficient for some apps, but for the biggest part of traffic count by packets, it's fine. Others will just have to gnash the

                • by norton_I (64015)

                  One notable exception is NFS and iSCSI which are both frequently used for serving VM disk images and benefit quite a bit from having MTU > block size, typically 4k or 8k. Jumbo frames are a big win for this.

        • by DrSkwid (118965)

          > only MTUs of 1500 bytes are supported (when did you see one smaller recently??)

          We run 9000 MTU here on GigE which makes a difference for AoE & 9p

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:45AM (#24978319)

    ... why a VM has to "support" a given OS such as Vista or Solaris or Linux?

    FTA: "Apart from its support for SPARC and Solaris..."

    Surely if these VMs truly are PCs emulated in software with standard emulated devices then surely any OS than runs on the PC architecture and has drivers for these devices will install and run on these VMs regardless?

    • As an outgrowth of Xen, I think it's a hypervisor running on the hardware beneath the OS. I suspect that on architectures that don't support virtualization (eg Intel/AMD processors prior to Vanderpool/Pacifica which have a "ring -1" as the most privileged level rather than "ring 0"), the OS would need to be modified. I don't know if Xen in its native form supports whatever virtualization technology is present in the SPARC architecture.
    • No OS uses every possible function of the hardware beneath it, only a subset. Hence, each emulator only emulates those functions, vice the entire hardware set. Smart programmers don't write code they don't need.

      Adding an OS to an existing emulator may be as simple as adding a few additional functions to extant code. In real life, though, it can require rewriting many modules to account for unique OS specific behavior and parameter passing bugaboos.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by joebok (457904)

      There is long precedent in the meat world of hardware requirements for operating systems. There are physical "PC architectures" than can't run some OSes. An extreme example, an IBM PS/2 isn't going to be able to run Vista. Less extreme - clever people can get OS X running on some non-Apple hardware, but not all.

      A VM is just like another set of hardware - that may or may not satisfy the requirements of the OS and/or work as advertised.

      I'm frankly impressed that they work so well! Even after years of usin

    • by DrSkwid (118965)

      > Surely if these VMs truly are PCs emulated in software

      they're not, they *a specific* PC emulated in software. Generic PCs don't exist. We've run into this problem with VirtualBox and people whining that Plan 9 must be broken because VB can't run it.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Most virtual machine progs provide optimised drivers for supported operating systems. The one I run most is Parallels Desktop with Windows XP, and the Parallels drivers make a huge difference to performance.

    • Xen and its offshoots use what is called "paravirtualization". To summarize, there are a few calls that an operating system can make to the underlying hardware that are very expensive in terms of CPU utilization. Paravirtualization removes these calls, but requires OS support. Many of these calls are related to memory so, for example, the guest OS communicates with the host OS to allocate memory versus the host OS trying to trap for each of those calls.

      The upside is a great improvement in speed especially o

    • You need to provide some drivers for the guest OS to do certain things in a really efficient way. Video is one example where it makes a really big difference, but I'm sure that virtually everything works faster when you have guest drivers that are aware that they run in a virtualized environment, and talk to host using more efficient means and protocols.
  • I'd be leery of any company promising me guaranteed anything. Guaranteed support could mean anything from a full-fledged support staff to an automated phone system designed to loop callers back upon themselves.

  • not a milk cow (Score:5, Informative)

    by michalk0 (1362753) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:47AM (#24978349)
    vmware does not make its money on bare metal hypervisor. It makes a fortune, and is actually doing pretty good, on enterprise products like vmware infrastructure or virtual desktop environment.
    Actually their bare metal hypervisor - ESXi comes for free as well (although not GPLed, but we're not talking about ideology here are we)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ralish (775196)

      Actually, it makes a huge amount of money on its bare metal hypervisor. I haven't exactly analyzed their profits based on individual products, but I'd be willing to bet that their bare metal hypervisor and associated technologies is where the big money is made for them. For companies like VMware, it's the enterprise market where they traditionally reap the big profits, and VMware has been a major presence, if not THE presence until recently in the enterprise virtualisation market.

      Also, I think you don't qui

      • VMware Infrastructure is their management suite; VirtualCenter. That's their cash cow, not the hypervisor.

        They give away the hypervisor for free... have done for a while. They know they can't compete just selling the hypervisor because everyone and their mother has one these days.

        And FYI, the advanced technologies such as VMotion are part of the whole "Virtual Infrastructure" suite... the VI suite is what you buy, ESX is part of that suite. The simple fact is that VMware have already toyed with releasing ES

        • by zyzko (6739)

          I agree with you 100%. What VMware needs to do is to get their licensing act together. There are "nice" startup bundles with VirtualCenter and limited number of managed ESX hosts (Foundation, Standard) with manageable price (for a SMB). But if you want to add that 4th ESX host to the setup, prepare to be royally screwed. You need all kinds of upgrade packages and believe me, they are not cheap, my advice is that go for the enterprise even if you don't need the features, it's much easier that way. It is expe

      • by norton_I (64015)

        bare metal hypervisor and associated technologies

        Associated technologies is the watchword there. They make their money off of everything that goes around the hypervisor to make it easy for admins to manage dozens or hundreds of VMs across many servers.

  • Beer ware (Score:2, Funny)

    by DrDNA (713626)
    They should follow the beer-ware model. They won't get rich, but boy will they have fun!
  • by houghi (78078) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:53AM (#24978475)

    Please put that under a new license.
    More info here [wikipedia.org]

    • You have missed the point.

      Sun did not release xVM under the GPL to be nice. They did it to strengthen their position for selling their other products.

      Releasing ZFS under the GPL would probably weaken their position, so they are not going to do it.

    • Why would they want to do that?

      Why not give OpenSolaris a whirl instead? Or FreeBSD? Or a Mac?

      Face it, CDDL is just much more compatible and fosters more sharing than GPL. It was a good choice.
      • Why not give OpenSolaris a whirl instead? Or FreeBSD? Or a Mac?

        Because linux is the most popular open source operating system out there, and if Sun really wanted to play nice with the community they'd make it available to as much of the community as they could.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BrainInAJar (584756)
          Or maybe they want to play nice with as many communities as they can.

          If they only wanted to play nice with the biggest community, all others be damned, they'd have just ported it to Windows
    • Re:ZFS (Score:5, Informative)

      by BrainInAJar (584756) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:02AM (#24978645)
      Oh, and one more thing. Read that wiki article you posted. The CDDL isn't the problem, it's that Linux's license doesn't permit linking. Not the other way around.

      So, why not quit complaining about the permissive license ZFS is under, and start complaining about the restrictive license Linux is under? ( your post should read "Please put Linux under a new license" )
      • Well, I guess the GP was aware of the fact that Sun can relicense ZFS in a second, but the Linux kernel might not be able to do it even if a great majority of developers wanted to.

        Still, that's not much of an excuse. Also worth noting that even if ZFS was GPL3 (Sun prefers GPL3 over 2, it seems), then that would still not be good enough for Linux. So yes, this is where Linus' choice of license is giving us some problems. Overall it was a good choice, but this is the bad part.
        • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:33PM (#24980123)

          Still, that's not much of an excuse. Also worth noting that even if ZFS was GPL3 (Sun prefers GPL3 over 2, it seems), then that would still not be good enough for Linux. So yes, this is where Linus' choice of license is giving us some problems. Overall it was a good choice, but this is the bad part.

          It was foolish and short-sighted for Linus to release Linux under the GPL v2 only, and not GPL v2 or later, as recommended by the Free Software Foundation. Now it is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to relicense the kernel under another license (the missing "or later" part), as there have been far too many contributors, some of whom are dead, in prison, or have otherwise vanished from the Community.

          Sun prefers GPL v 3 as it does a better job of keeping the code free, particularly with respect to software patents, which, while not a problem for those of us lucky enough to be in Europe (not a problem for the moment, anyway), are certainly a concern in the US and other nations the US has bullied into adopting similar legislation.

          As a result, technologies like ZFS are unlikely to ever make it into the Linux kernel. In the coming decades, as more and more technologies come along like this, Linus' inflexible licensing choice is likely to relegate the kernel to a historical footnote, where other kernels, licensed under either the "or later" clause (or other more permissive licenses) will continue. It's a pity, and I say that as one who has been using Linux since 1993, and will continue using it for the foreseeable future.

          • Hurt us all? I'm typing this on a FreeBSD desktop, and FreeBSD is getting a lot of attention lately from people who want to play with ZFS. Some of us are perfectly OK with Linus's bullheadedness (although I otherwise completely agree with you).

      • by Yaa 101 (664725)

        Linux is Linux due to that "restrictive" license, without that license we would have nothing.

      • by segedunum (883035)

        The CDDL isn't the problem, it's that Linux's license doesn't permit linking. Not the other way around.

        Hmmmm. Interesting way of putting it. Linux's license does permit linking, but you're going to have to use a compatible license and contribute something to the Linux kernel or the ecosystem or get your users to install it themselves to get around distribution. Given Linux's success with that development model, I'd be inclined to stick with it.

        Now, the GPL has been around for quite a while, and Linux h

        • "Linux's license does permit linking, but you're going to have to use a compatible license"
          Right, and Windows' license allows redistribution and reverse engineering, so long as you do it with MS's blessing. You're twisting words around to make it sound less viral than it is.

          "Given Linux's success with that development model, I'd be inclined to stick with it."
          I'd argue that Linux's success is in spite of the license, not because of it.

          "Now, the GPL has been around for quite a while, and Linux has us
          • by segedunum (883035)

            You're twisting words around to make it sound less viral than it is.

            No I'm not. Who are you to shout the word 'viral' when no BSD or CDDL based kernel has the breadth of hardware and driver support that Linux does, and where it has nowhere near the amount of open source drivers and code? That's why the GPL was chosen and why other projects, some that have been around longer, have languished.

            I'd argue that Linux's success is in spite of the license, not because of it.

            No, you don't understand this like so m

    • What are you saying? That open sourcing the two projects under different licenses makes them looked two faced? That this is an obvious stunt to help their failing virtualization software gain a user base so that it doesn't fail completely? That Sun is an opportunistic supporter of open source and takes advantage of the community instead of actually trying to help it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's ironic that the GPL is supposed to provide users with freedom, yet you cannot even mix GPL code with other "incompatible" free licenses. Maybe it's a good thing that ZFS was released under a license that is truly free and actually enabling rather than restrictive...

  • Quality (Score:1, Informative)

    by gentimjs (930934)
    I tried this out a month ago on opensolaris, linux, and solaris10 (both on x86). I've historically been a big supporter of Sun, but .. well .. It just 'didnt work' with solaris as the 'guest' OS. The guest would start up, launch X, and freeze. Default options for host&guest&xVM... Not a good start.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:00AM (#24978607)

    http://kenai.com/projects/xvmserver/forums/120-Announcements/topics/59-First-open-source-release-of-xVM-Server?

    This release is designed to allow interested parties to view the code - not run it. It will be some time in the future before we have all of the pieces available for you to compile and run your own copy of xVM Server.

    But stay tuned, we're getting there :-)

    scott

  • One thing people here are looking for in virtualized environments are snapshots and disaster recovery simplicity. All the products handle moving VMs from one box to another differently, and so far I've heard VMWare is much easier than the rest. So it's not just hardware and OS support, it's ease of management -- which is VMWare's strength (though you pay for it).

  • by teknopurge (199509) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:14AM (#24978813) Homepage

    Which has a boatload of problems. The fact is there is enough competition in the market that just being able to be a hypervisor is not enough - you need to measure up and offer proprietary advantages.

    The reason this release is not a big deal is that VMWare spanks the performance of every other hypervisor. VMWare ESX networking is magnitudes ahead of every single other competitor in the benchmarks.

    • Please enlighten us.

    • I've benchmarked Windows and Linux under various hypervisors, and that is simply untrue.

      Linux under Xen 3.3.0 gets 98% and better bare metal performance (both 32 and 64 bit paravirtualized). VMWare won't paravirtualize 64-bit (though they allude that someday they might), arguing it isn't necessary, BUT 64-bit Linux under VMWare gets nowhere near 98% bare metal performance.

      Likewise, Windows (XP, 2003, 2008) under Windows Server 2008 with HyperV performs better than under VMWare ESX, and I say that as one wh

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:20AM (#24978921) Homepage Journal
    In other words, will this new xVM run unmodified operating systems on ordinary 32-bit hardware that doesn't have hardware VM extensions?
  • by paleshadows (1127459) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:23AM (#24978975)
    and didn't put vmware out of business... arguably, sun's hypervisor isn't any different.
    • by amorsen (7485)

      didn't put vmware out of business

      They're pushing VMWare to the high end. Going high end rarely works out for a company. SGI. Or Sun, for that matter.

  • The installation of xVM itself on my late-model Dell desktop running a fully updated Windows XP OS but I could never get Ubuntu to install and/or run on three separate attempts. The first time, the Ubuntu install process froze. The second time, it completed but when shutting down to reboot post-install, I got hit with an near-endless stream of error messages and the OS never rebooted. The third attempt also apparently installed but wouldn't boot.

    They do claim to support Ubuntu as a guest OS but my experienc

  • -Sun forks a opensource project - Xen
    -Sun continues developing their fork in a propietary way
    -Now they release it as opensource! OMG we opensourced it!

    Sorry, but this is not interesting. This looks like the typical "I'm going to make my own fork" effort. Sun has probably already lost many of the features being coded in Xen right now just because of the fork.

  • by jregel (39009) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:57AM (#24979487) Homepage

    I've been tracking xVM for a while now, along with the other major VM players, for my home VM setup. I've downloaded and evaluated ESXi, XenServer Express and Hyper-V. The one difference that xVM will have that the others don't is a web interface for administrating the VMs. All the others require a Windows application, which in turn requires Windows (I haven't tried using Wine). xVM Server can be administered from any platform running a decent web browser.

    The other difference between xVM and other Xen-based hypervisors is the base on which it's built. Citrix XenServer is built around CentOS which is used for the Dom0 (the administrative domain). Sun have built xVM around Solaris, so benefits from the FMA (Fault Management Architecture AKA self-healing), Crossbow (virtualised network stack), Dtrace and ZFS.

    There is a lot of cool technology in xVM Server and it's certainly worth a look.

    • I'm looking at setting up a new server in my house.

      Currently I have a old AMD server running debian with VMWare server on it running XP which I can Remote into to do my Windows Only stuff. (Rather than waste space on my MacBookPro with VMWare). XP is doggishly slow (It's only 1.5gHz mobile processor).

      I'm looking at turning that into an OpenFiler or FreeNAS machine (it has 2TB of HD on it) and getting a newer machine to help with iPod transcoding, other processing and virtualizing XP.

      What should I be looking

      • by jregel (39009)

        I've recently bought an HP ML110 G5 for my VM experiments. It's got a dual core Xeon with the hardware virtualisation features that some products require, and it's dead cheap (at least in the UK , from Ebuyer). Has 4 DIMMM slots and can take up to 8GB RAM, four hard drive bays, plus two 5.25" for optical and is very, very quiet once booted. It's what I've used to test XenServer, Hyper-V and ESXi - all work fine (although ESXi needed more than the default 1GB RAM).

    • by styrotech (136124)

      OK you've pointed out the difference between xVM and XenServer from Citrix. But what are the difference between xVM and the open source Xen project? Is it just the continuation of the old OpenSolaris port of Xen under a new name?

      Because the differences you mentioned seem (to me at least) to mostly be roughly the same differences between XenServer and open source Xen anyway. What has Sun added to xVM that makes it better than the open source Xen?

      Note: I'm just curious, I'm familiar with Xen but not xVM.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      There is also Proxmox VE, which has the web interface and uses an embedded VNC Java applet for controlling the machines... It seems quite good, but is still in beta.

      The requirement for a windows management program put me off too, i would much rather have something web based for the management of the host (adding/removing virtuals, power up/down, changing virtual hardware etc) and something standards compliant for interacting with the virtual images (eg vnc for graphical, ssh for text based serial consoles).

  • What gives? (Score:2, Funny)

    by A440Hz (1054614)
    I don't know why Geordi LaForge has to have his vision system under GPL. Let the guy see with out all the red tape! You're giving him a headache with all of this paperwork!
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Friday September 12, 2008 @02:39PM (#24982403)

    I've played with Xen, we use zones in Solaris, and I've used Microsoft's Virtual Server offering, but only VMware lets me do the one thing that no one else does: Put up a machine *fast*. I mean, from nothing to a fully working Linux/Windows/whatever machine whether it's a clone from an existing guest, or a brand new one.

    I have a lot of projects that are ephemeral; we need a box to test something on and boom, we have a virtual machine that runs pretty darn fast and when the testing is done, we shut it down. No muss, no fuss. No other product on the market is so good about bringing up a machine, throwing additional "hardware" at it when necessary.

    The other thing VMware rocks over everyone else is snapshots; I can create branches of branches of snapshots when my testing goes in all kinds of directions, and I can always roll back to any of them. I described it to a coworker as having the entire machine on top of a Subversion repository.

    • I call BS on "branches of branches of snapshots". Even VMware explicitly warns you NOT to do this because it absolutely murders performance.

      If you want lots and lots of snapshots with vmware you'd be much better served with netapp storage on the backend.
  • A true bare-metal hypervisor would just run on bare-metal without any assistance of any OS, and would present the appearance of a bare-metal environment (usually one of exactly the same architecture, or architecture class, that it runs on) before any OS is even running on this. There would be no need for special OSes to be run on it. There would be no need for Solaris or Linux to be around. I could run only MS-DOS 1.0 on it, if it were for the x86 architecture.

  • At this point in the game, virtualizing isn't a big deal. Its the suite of management tools aimed at the enterprise which separates the amateurs from the big boys.

    Lets hope sun can step up to the plate and compete, and still stay in the OSS world in the process.

  • I love Sun, but this isn't viable yet. Vmotion? Clustering? A (relatively) easy to use GUI? Not even close.

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

Working...