Why should I use virtualization?
- Consolidation – It means combining multiple software workloads on one computer system. You can run various virtual machines in order to save money and power (electricity).
- Testing – You can test various configuration. You can create less resource hungry and low priority virtual machines (VM). Often, I test new Linux distro inside VM. This is also good for students who wish to learn new operating systems and programming languages / database without making any changes to working environment. At my work place I give developers virtual test machines for testing and debugging their software.
- Security and Isolation – If mail server or any other app gets cracked, only that VM will be under control of the
attacker. Also, isolation means misbehaving apps (e.g. memory leaks) cannot bring down whole server.
Open Source Linux Virtualization Software
- OpenVZ is an operating system-level virtualization technology based on the Linux kernel and operating system.
- Xen is a virtual machine monitor for 32 / 64 bit Intel / AMD (IA 64) and PowerPC 970 architectures. It allows several guest operating systems to be executed on the same computer hardware concurrently. XEN is included with most popular Linux distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, RHEL, Fedora and many others.
- Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is a Linux kernel virtualization infrastructure. KVM currently supports native virtualization using Intel VT or AMD-V. A wide variety of guest operating systems work with KVM, including many flavours of Linux, BSD, Solaris, and Windows etc. KVM is included with Debian, OpenSuse and other Linux distributions.
- Linux-VServer is a virtual private server implementation done by adding operating system-level virtualization capabilities to the Linux kernel.
- VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package, developed by Sun Microsystems as part of its Sun xVM virtualization platform. Supported host operating systems include Linux, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp, Windows XP or Vista, and Solaris, while supported guest operating systems include FreeBSD, Linux, OpenBSD, OS/2 Warp, Windows and Solaris.
- Bochs is a portable x86 and AMD64 PC emulator and debugger. Many guest operating systems can be run using the emulator including DOS, several versions of Microsoft Windows, BSDs, Linux, AmigaOS, Rhapsody and MorphOS. Bochs can run on many host operating systems, like Windows, Windows Mobile, Linux and Mac OS X.
- User Mode Linux (UML) was the first virtualization technology for Linux. User-mode Linux is generally considered to have lower performance than some competing technologies, such as Xen and OpenVZ. Future work in adding support for x86 virtualization to UML may reduce this disadvantage.
Proprietary Linux Virtualization Software
- VMware ESX Server and VMWare Server – VMware Server (also known as GSX Server) is an entry-level server virtualization software. VMware ESX Server is an enterprise-level virtualization product providing data center virtualization. It can run various guest operating systems such as FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Windows and others.
- Commercial implementationsofXEN available with various features and support.
- Citrix XenServer : XenServer is based on the open source Xen hypervisor, an exceptionally lean technology that delivers low overhead and near-native performance.
- Oracle VM : Oracle VM is based on the open-source Xen hypervisor technology, supports both Windows and Linux guests and includes an integrated Web browser based management console. Oracle VM features fully tested and certified Oracle Applications stack in an enterprise virtualization environment.
- Sun xVM : The xVM Server uses a bare-metal hypervisor based on the open source Xen under a Solaris environment on x86-64 systems. On SPARC systems, xVM is based on Sun’s Logical Domains and Solaris. Sun plans to support Microsoft Windows (on x86-64 systems only), Linux, and Solaris as guest operating systems.
- Parallels Virtuozzo Containers – It is an operating system-level virtualization product designed for large-scale homegenous server environments and data centers. Parallels Virtuozzo Containers is compatible with x86, x86-64 and IA-64 platforms. You can run various Linux distributions inside Parallels Virtuozzo Containers.
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux,have announced a partnership with Parallels, maker of the Virtualization products Parallels Workstation and Parallels Desktop for Mac. Consequently, the Parallels Workstation virtualization software is now available to download and install in Ubuntu Linux, completely supported by Canonical, and done entirely through the Add/Remove programs interface. This makes four different virtualization programs — three of which are installable via the package repositories — that run on Ubuntu Linux.
- What is VMware Player?
- VMware Player is software that enables users to easily create and run virtual machines on a Windows or Linux PC. VMware Player now creates virtual machines in addition to running virtual machines created by VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, VMware Server, or VMware ESX and supports Microsoft virtual machines and Symantec LiveState Recovery disk formats.
- What does it cost?
- VMware Player is free for personal non-commercial use. VMware Player is only distributable with written permission from VMware. Please apply here to request a distribution agreement.
- Do I need another VMware product to use VMware Player?
- No. VMware Player enables you to create and run virtual machines. However, if you need to leverage powerful developer-centric features such as Teams, multiple Snapshots and Clones, or Virtual Rights Management features for end-point security, you will need to upgrade to VMware Workstation.
- How does VMware Player work?
- VMware Player installs like a standard desktop application. Once installed, VMware Player runs virtual machines in a separate window. VMware Player includes features that enable users to create and configure their own virtual machines for optimal performance and access any devices connected to their PC.
- What can I do with VMware Player?
- Use VMware Player to create, run,evaluate, and share software running in virtual machines:
- Create: Use VMware Player to create virtual machines with the latest 32-bit and 64-bit Windows and Linux operating systems. With Easy Install it’s easier than installing them directly on your PC.
- Run: VMware Player can be used by anyone to run virtual machines on a Windows or Linux PC. VMware Player makes it quick and easy to take advantage of the security, flexibility, and portability of virtual machines.
- Evaluate: VMware Player is ideal for safely evaluating software distributed as a virtual appliance. Virtual appliances are pre-built, pre-configured and ready-to-run enterprise software applications packaged along with an operating system in a virtual machine. With VMware Player, anyone can quickly and easily experience the benefits of preconfigured products without any installation or configuration hassles. Run over 900 virtual appliances from leading software vendors available from the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace.
- Share: VMware Player can be used by anyone to run a virtual machine shared by a colleague or friend. For example, customer support and development teams can share a customer scenario encapsulated within a virtual machine.
- Can I run ACEs using VMware Player?
- ACE Instances are policy-wrapped virtual machines created with VMware ACE for additional control and security. VMware Player can run ACE Instances with the addition of an ACE client license that must be installed.
- How can I get VMware Player?
- VMware Player is available as a free download for personal use. We also recommend that you download a virtual appliance from VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace.
- What are the minimum PC requirements to install and use VMware Player?
- For a typical host system, we recommend that you have a 1 GHz or faster processor (2GHz recommended) and 1GB RAM minimum (2GB RAM recommended). You must have enough memory to run the host operating system, plus the memory required for each guest operating system and for applications on the host and guest. See your guest operating system and application documentation for their memory requirements. VMware Player requires approximately 150MB of disk space to install the application. For more details on minimum PC requirements, see the VMware Player Documentation.
- Where can I find other virtual appliances to run in VMware Player?
- Download virtual appliances from leading ISVs at the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace.
- How does VMware Player compare to VMware Workstation and VMware ACE?
- VMware Player enables you to quickly and easily create and run virtual machines. However, VMware Player lacks many powerful features, such as Teams, multiple Snapshots and Clones, or Virtual Rights Management features for end-point security found in VMware Workstation and VMware ACE.
- Can I redistribute VMware Player?
- Yes, with permission. If you are interested in redistributing VMware Player, please apply here.
- Are there guidelines for using VMware Player?
- Yes. Please refer to the VMware Player End-User License Agreement (EULA) for using VMware Player according to VMware design and licensing guidelines.
- Can VMware Player install on the same machine as other VMware products?
- No. VMware Player is not designed to co-install with other VMware products. If an installation of VMware Workstation, VMware ACE, or VMware Server is detected on a machine where VMware Player is being installed, the VMware Player installation will display an error message and abort. However, if you purchase and install VMware Workstation 7, VMware Player is included.
- Is VMware Player localized in Japanese or other languages?
- No. VMware Player is available in English only.
- Is Support and Subscription available for VMware Player?
- No. Support and Subscription is not available for VMware Player. However, VMware provides self-help resources such as:
Germany’s InnoTek Systemberatung GmbH started out by supporting enterprises and financial institutions that were running IBM infrastructure. “As many of these enterprises were running outdated solutions such as OS/2, but cannot simply replace such huge infrastructures with the snap of a finger, virtualization was a natural solution to them,” says Achim Hasenmueller, general manager of InnoTek. Hasenmueller adds that his company has been in the virtualization business for a long time and has also contributed substantial parts to what is now Microsoft Virtual PC. “Today we staff the largest group of virtualization experts in Europe,” he says.
VirtualBox began life as a special-purpose tool and has been in use by governments and corporations for several years. “As we still are a comparably small company”, Hasenmueller says, “we felt that open-sourcing the product would not only generate enough of a stir to make the product well-known, but it would also give us a chance to accept contributions from outside people and maybe find competent programmers who will eventually join the company.”
From today, VirtualBox will be available in two flavors. VirtualBox binaries are available free of charge to individuals, but they are not allowed to deploy them in an enterprise, with the exception of educational institutes. The other option is to use VirtualBox OSE, which is available with full source code under GNU General Public License 2.
Hasenmueller cites a review (in German) that shows VirtualBox’s performance to be on par with that of VMware. “This is what we were aiming for,” he says. “Feature-wise, we are quite comparable with the ‘premier league’ closed source virtualization programs like VMware and Virtual PC. Our goal is to run an unmodified guest operating system at excellent performance, for server, desktop, and embedded use.”
Hasenmueller touts the product’s “clean client/server design” which exposes all the virtualization functionality in a COM/XPCOM API. This allows for designing custom front ends to the virtualization engine. “Already now we have three graphical front ends and a command-line interface, and they can cooperate. So you can, for example, start a VM from the point-and-click GUI, and then freeze, save, restore it from the command line, or even remotely. No other virtualizer has this flexibility,” he says.
“We support arbitrary USB devices (since we virtualize a USB controller), and we support attaching to virtual machines remotely via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and we can even support USB over RDP; that is, you connect a USB device to your local machine, which is displaying RDP data from a remote virtual machine, and the remote machine can work with the local USB device. Also, VirtualBox can use iSCSI targets as virtual hard disks. So if you have a storage server that supports iSCSI, you can put your virtual hard disks there to circumvent the substantial overhead that comes with standard virtual disk files, which we still support, of course.”
But these last set of features are missing from the Open Source Edition. “All these features are primarily targeted at the enterprise,” Hasenmueller says, “and as we need some sort of revenue to keep VirtualBox development going, we have held them back to give enterprises a good reason to purchase the full release. Still, anyone can test these features as the full release is available in binary form free of charge for personal and educational use as well as evaluation.”
Hasenmueller says InnoTek plans to gradually release these features as open source, starting with USB and shared folders.
InnoTek supports users via an IRC channel (#vbox on irc.freenode.org) and mailing lists.
Having released the code under an the GPL license Hasenmueller expects more people to contribute to the development of VirtualBox. InnoTek has a suggestions for contributions page that lists areas where it is looking for contributions.
And the support is already pouring in, he says. “We are quite positively surprised that in the first few hours after the article appeared in a German magazine, people started pouring into the IRC channel and offering to add features. It seems people are even more excited about VirtualBox than we had hoped for.”
Apart from the community contribution, InnoTek is hoping to impress independent software vendors (ISV) with VirtualBox’s flexibility. Hasenmueller is looking forward to input from ISVs who can build their own solutions around VirtualBox. “If some developer wants to build a stress-tested virtualization solution, VirtualBox is the ideal infrastructure for it.”
While future products don’t have a fixed release cycle, InnoTek has automatic synchronization in effect already, which updates the OSE Subversion server immediately with all the changes from InnoTek’s internal tree.
Hasenmueller says VirtualBox is easily portable, and ports to Mac OS X and 64-bit platforms can be expected later in this quarter. “In addition, of course, there is always room for performance improvements and fixing particular problems with software virtualization, which we are working on on a continuous basis.”