Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

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Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:06 pm

Edit: Thread split from here. --JBI

flip-mode wrote:Now, I would like to (...) put ESXi on it and one of these spare computers I've got lying around.

So... Downloaded the ESXi software... Now the compatibility matrix at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compati ... search.php

is somewhat confusing... I can't just install this on anything? I have to literally make a shopping list for a certain mobo, etc... just to install esxi? :o
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Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:12 pm

ESXi is a "bare metal" virtualization product, that runs directly on the hardware with no intervening OS (another way to look at it is that ESXi *is* its own OS). VMware limits the platforms it will run on because they don't want to support device drivers for every motherboard, disk controller, NIC, etc. ever made.
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Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:18 pm

just brew it! wrote:ESXi is a "bare metal" virtualization product, that runs directly on the hardware with no intervening OS (another way to look at it is that ESXi *is* its own OS). VMware limits the platforms it will run on because they don't want to support device drivers for every motherboard, disk controller, NIC, etc. ever made.

Ah which is why I never got around to installing a working copy on anything I own at home or at work... But i'm ultra-curious on installing it. always wanted to run esxi at home instead of vmware server and/or vmware workstation (oh and oracle virtualbox too!).
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Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:24 pm

VirtualBox is definitely on my short list of "must install" freeware; I use it extensively both at home and work. I keep meaning to try building it from source sometime so I can mess around with the innards and maybe even contribute fixes for some of the annoying little bugs that crop up from time to time, but I never seem to get around to it.
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Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:29 pm

just brew it! wrote:VirtualBox is definitely on my short list of "must install" freeware; I use it extensively both at home and work. I keep meaning to try building it from source sometime so I can mess around with the innards and maybe even contribute fixes for some of the annoying little bugs that crop up from time to time, but I never seem to get around to it.

totally derailed this cpu thread... is there a virtualization thread we can continue off of or perhaps start a new one?

anyways, as much as i love using virtualbox, it does come with a lot of quarks! like how it limits you how many "snapshots" you can take... is it even easy to increase your virtual hard disk from 20gb to 40gb without ruining your image?

another beef i have is i copied a virtualbox image from my pc and placed it on my mac(bookpro) and it just didn't work out very well... so many problems. now whereas i copy a vmware workstation image from my pc and use it on the mac(bookpro) with vmware fusion --- it works flawlessly!
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Virtualization

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:44 pm

thegleek wrote:anyways, as much as i love using virtualbox, it does come with a lot of quarks! like how it limits you how many "snapshots" you can take... is it even easy to increase your virtual hard disk from 20gb to 40gb without ruining your image?

Define "easy"... :wink:

I normally do it like this:

1. Create a new virtual disk of the desired size.

2. Attach both disks (old and new) as *data* disks to a Linux VM.

3. Use dd to image the smaller virtual disk into the larger one.

4. Use gparted to expand partitions as desired to fill the new disk image.

Works for both Linux (Ext2/3/4) and Windows (NTFS) partitions... if you do it to an NTFS disk the Windows VM will want to run a chkdsk the next time it starts, but after that the disk image works fine.

thegleek wrote:another beef i have is i copied a virtualbox image from my pc and placed it on my mac(bookpro) and it just didn't work out very well... so many problems. now whereas i copy a vmware workstation image from my pc and use it on the mac(bookpro) with vmware fusion --- it works flawlessly!

No idea on this one, as I don't use Macs at all.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:08 am

just brew it! wrote:VirtualBox is definitely on my short list of "must install" freeware; I use it extensively both at home and work. I keep meaning to try building it from source sometime so I can mess around with the innards and maybe even contribute fixes for some of the annoying little bugs that crop up from time to time, but I never seem to get around to it.

Personally, I find VMware Server much more compelling than Virtual Box. And it's also free.

For one thing, it's a true server product. It doesn't just up and quite when you close the application. That might be a negative for some people, but it's not how I run my VMs.
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Re: Virtualization

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:11 am

just brew it! wrote:
thegleek wrote:another beef i have is i copied a virtualbox image from my pc and placed it on my mac(bookpro) and it just didn't work out very well... so many problems. now whereas i copy a vmware workstation image from my pc and use it on the mac(bookpro) with vmware fusion --- it works flawlessly!

No idea on this one, as I don't use Macs at all.

Another notch for VMware Virtual Server. There is great portability between the VMware products. I have taken VMs from VMware Fusion on my Mac, suspended them (didn't even power them off), copied them to VMware Workstation on my Linux box, and resumed them without a hiccup. I have gone the other direction as well, with the same result.

Going to a server version might require a translation, but VMware has a free tool to do that, and the modifications are minimal.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:37 am

Wasn't TheGleek banned a couple years ago? I vaguely remember the saga.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:45 am

Jon wrote:Wasn't TheGleek banned a couple years ago? I vaguely remember the saga.

He's been welcomed back. Further details are no longer needed.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:46 am

Buub wrote:
just brew it! wrote:VirtualBox is definitely on my short list of "must install" freeware; I use it extensively both at home and work. I keep meaning to try building it from source sometime so I can mess around with the innards and maybe even contribute fixes for some of the annoying little bugs that crop up from time to time, but I never seem to get around to it.

Personally, I find VMware Server much more compelling than Virtual Box. And it's also free.

For one thing, it's a true server product. It doesn't just up and quite when you close the application. That might be a negative for some people, but it's not how I run my VMs.


You can always use KVM as well. For work I went through them all and KVM seemed to strike the best balance between the inconvenience of a bare metal hypervisor and that of a bloated OS running virtualized images.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:36 am

ESXi is very useful. I am running an ZFS SAN/NAS All-In-One box that Gea came up with. Take a look here:http://napp-it.org/manuals/index.html

What exactly are you trying to accomplish exactly though with your server? If you want to use ESXi it is very picky as you can see and its designed for server hardware.

By the way ESXi 5 is coming out in the next couple of weeks. (I believe its 8/22) so I would hold off till that comes out if you can and are going that route.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:54 am

Buub wrote:Personally, I find VMware Server much more compelling than Virtual Box. And it's also free.

I ditched VMware Server 2-3 years ago, when a major new release busted the UI pretty badly. IIRC for a while they also had major issues installing on many Linux distros (getting it going on Ubuntu was a bitch). I imagine they've fixed those issues since then, but in the meantime VirtualBox has also matured quite a bit so I haven't had a compelling reason to switch back.

Buub wrote:For one thing, it's a true server product. It doesn't just up and quite when you close the application. That might be a negative for some people, but it's not how I run my VMs.

VirtualBox supports this mode of operation too, though perhaps not quite as smoothly as VMware. There's a "headless" mode where you launch the VM from the command line and can background it if you wish. There's no window by default; you connect to the VM's virtual display using a VNC client (Open Source version) or Windows Remote Desktop (available in the proprietary version).
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:44 pm

mmmmmdonuts21 wrote:ESXi is very useful. I am running an ZFS SAN/NAS All-In-One box that Gea came up with. Take a look here:http://napp-it.org/manuals/index.html

Looks intensely awesome! Which OS ISO route did you end up going with?
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:42 pm

just brew it! wrote:I ditched VMware Server 2-3 years ago, when a major new release busted the UI pretty badly. IIRC for a while they also had major issues installing on many Linux distros (getting it going on Ubuntu was a bitch). I imagine they've fixed those issues since then, but in the meantime VirtualBox has also matured quite a bit so I haven't had a compelling reason to switch back.

VMware Server is, in my experience, generally OK but it does have one major caveat: Internet Explorer is required. Now, ESXi is friggin super, in my experience, even though I've only been playing with it for a month. I am totally in love with it. If you're looking for a hardware compatibility guide for hardware that is technically unsupported, look here:

http://www.vm-help.com/index.html

I have installed it on a Dell PowerEdge R310 with great results, and also on an older Dell Optiplex 745 (2007) with a Core 2 Duo E6600 and it works great on that too.

In my experience, any VMware product (player, server, ESXi) offers a much better and more stable experience than Virtual Box. And that's a shame because I was really rooting for Virtual Box.

I haven't tried Xen - anyone with experience with that?
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:49 pm

VMware Server has been EOL'd and they say you should use Player or ESXi instead. Don't know offhand if Player lets you run VMs in the background, but I'd be surprised if it didn't, and mind that newer versions of Player let you create VMs.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:55 pm

I will say that VMware Player is terrific - better experience with that than Server - but I don't know about backgrounding and also migration to/from ESXi hosts seems to be less than optimal. Specifically, it might be impossible to maintain the same MAC address since the virtual NICs are different between the two products, and that has presented problems for me because some of the software I use authenticates, in part, using the MAC address.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:29 pm

bthylafh wrote:VMware Server has been EOL'd and they say you should use Player or ESXi instead. Don't know offhand if Player lets you run VMs in the background, but I'd be surprised if it didn't, and mind that newer versions of Player let you create VMs.


Player does, but it's not nearly as flexible as Workstation. I've also found I get better performance from VMWare Workstation than Player.

Of course, it costs a little (something that work picked up for me), but there are academic options.

P.S. Either VMWare Player or Workstation are much faster than XP Mode in Windows 7 for using XP apps, and far more flexible.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:46 am

Oh but there are MANY differences between the free vmware player and the more costly worth-every-penny vmware workstation:

http://vmfaq.com/entry/5/

Snapshots being the most important one of them all!
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:09 am

VirtualBox is free, and has snapshots...
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:09 am

Not as fast on hardware that doesn't support VT-x/Pacifica, though, and VB's USB2 implementation is dog-slow.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:36 pm

ESXi 4.1 is free and has snapshots and will actually run on most hardware. And the greatest benefit of ESXi is that it is an actual enterprise-level virtualization solution.

And with ESXi 4.1 you can have lots of fun hacking into the command line and stuff like that - gaining access to the VMware OS.

If you're just dipping a toe in virtualization, I'd recommend VirtualBox. If you're looking to get both feet wet: ESXi.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:17 pm

flip-mode wrote:
I haven't tried Xen - anyone with experience with that?


Yup and I prefer KVM and Virtualbox to it. Xen is a mess. It's a popular mess. It can be a stable mess. It can even be a fast mess that in some cases is faster than VMware solutions. However, it's still a mess and has some issues that all of the others don't have. That being said it's a great product to get acquainted with as it will teach you quite a bit about enterprise grade virtualization solutions. I would seriously recommend every one at least test it for a few weeks. Then after you get tired of chasing down niggling bugs then move to KVM. You'll appreciate it all that much more.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:45 pm

kc77 wrote:
flip-mode wrote:
I haven't tried Xen - anyone with experience with that?


Yup and I prefer KVM and Virtualbox to it. Xen is a mess. It's a popular mess. It can be a stable mess. It can even be a fast mess that in some cases is faster than VMware solutions. However, it's still a mess and has some issues that all of the others don't have. That being said it's a great product to get acquainted with as it will teach you quite a bit about enterprise grade virtualization solutions. I would seriously recommend every one at least test it for a few weeks. Then after you get tired of chasing down niggling bugs then move to KVM. You'll appreciate it all that much more.

Maybe I should just skip Xen and try KVM.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:24 pm

flip-mode wrote:
kc77 wrote:
flip-mode wrote:
I haven't tried Xen - anyone with experience with that?


Yup and I prefer KVM and Virtualbox to it. Xen is a mess. It's a popular mess. It can be a stable mess. It can even be a fast mess that in some cases is faster than VMware solutions. However, it's still a mess and has some issues that all of the others don't have. That being said it's a great product to get acquainted with as it will teach you quite a bit about enterprise grade virtualization solutions. I would seriously recommend every one at least test it for a few weeks. Then after you get tired of chasing down niggling bugs then move to KVM. You'll appreciate it all that much more.

Maybe I should just skip Xen and try KVM.


Well I kind of think of Xen like a weird Gentoo distro. You'll learn A LOT in terms of how to compile Xen and you'll learn it's quirks which can be beneficial if you end up in a place that primarily uses it. Xen is VMWare's #1 competitor so it can be just as ubiquitous. So it's worth it to learn it. However, my main problem with it is that upgrading it was a pain, and since Ubuntu no longer keeps the DOM0 in it's repos you'll end up grabbing a patched kernel or going for the Xen Live CD. It's a love / hate relationship.

You shouldn't concern yourself too much about Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisors either. At this point their performance differences just aren't that great considering the amount of hardware that is under most VM servers, and the need to pass through hardware into the VM is only required in some special cases. In addition the software for a lot of the Type 2's (Virtualbox) has become so good that it has blurred the lines between them anyway and can perform some of the same tricks of Type 1 hypervisors. So don't worry about it.

Really at this point the only thing separating the big boys from everyone else are the management tools. Since KVM can be managed by many of the same qemu tools that work with XEN it benefits and puts it in my eyes right up there with Xen and Vmware (to a point). Not only that but the benefit of a fully functional Linux kernel/distro has it's benefits when you want to work on the DOM0 itself.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:47 pm

flip-mode wrote:If you're looking to get both feet wet: ESXi.

Oh that I am! I have all the software, just not sure of the hardware req's. So much documentation it's overwhelming, I just want to throw in the CD/DVD into any random computer I have and let it go! But alas, they don't make it that easy - do they. LAME! It should work with anything I throw at it!
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:15 am

kc77 wrote:Xen is VMWare's #1 competitor so it can be just as ubiquitous. So it's worth it to learn it.

In the enthusiast space, maybe... not anywhere else.

In the enterprise space (where the money is made), it's Microsoft HyperV. Nothing else has the stability and infrastructure to compete with VMware's enterprise lineup.

You shouldn't concern yourself too much about Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisors either. At this point their performance differences just aren't that great considering the amount of hardware that is under most VM servers, and the need to pass through hardware into the VM is only required in some special cases. In addition the software for a lot of the Type 2's (Virtualbox) has become so good that it has blurred the lines between them anyway and can perform some of the same tricks of Type 1 hypervisors. So don't worry about it.

Once again, I suppose in the enthusiast space. Sure, I wouldn't recommend every guy with a PC to run ESX. But if we're talking corporate boxes, ESX can handle more load than anything else, anywhere, period, because of its Type 1 maturity and efficiency. I think your phraseology omits the framework of your point of view.

And even in the Type 1 space, VMware has a significant performance lead over Microsoft, showing I think two things: 1) their much greater experience in the space, and 2) their ability to go truly light-weight, unlike Microsoft who even in a Type 1 hypervisor is compelled to keep it tightly coupled with Windows.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:41 am

Buub wrote:
kc77 wrote:Xen is VMWare's #1 competitor so it can be just as ubiquitous. So it's worth it to learn it.

In the enthusiast space, maybe... not anywhere else.

In the enterprise space (where the money is made), it's Microsoft HyperV. Nothing else has the stability and infrastructure to compete with VMware's enterprise lineup.

You shouldn't concern yourself too much about Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisors either. At this point their performance differences just aren't that great considering the amount of hardware that is under most VM servers, and the need to pass through hardware into the VM is only required in some special cases. In addition the software for a lot of the Type 2's (Virtualbox) has become so good that it has blurred the lines between them anyway and can perform some of the same tricks of Type 1 hypervisors. So don't worry about it.

Once again, I suppose in the enthusiast space. Sure, I wouldn't recommend every guy with a PC to run ESX. But if we're talking corporate boxes, ESX can handle more load than anything else, anywhere, period, because of its Type 1 maturity and efficiency. I think your phraseology omits the framework of your point of view.

And even in the Type 1 space, VMware has a significant performance lead over Microsoft, showing I think two things: 1) their much greater experience in the space, and 2) their ability to go truly light-weight, unlike Microsoft who even in a Type 1 hypervisor is compelled to keep it tightly coupled with Windows.


Saying Xen isn't an enterprise solution is just laughable on so many levels. The performance benchmarks between Xen, VMware, KVM and HyperV have been done to death and the performance differences are not fully owned by any solution. Some have better disk performance, some have better network performance and some have better CPU utilization, some can run more VMs, but none of them have it all. If you think ESX beats Xen, KVM, and HyperV on all areas.....well.... sorry to say but It doesn't. KVM specifically can go toe to toe with ESX's VM count. In terms of efficiency ESX is anything but efficient when it comes to memory management. The DOM0 / hypervisor will take up about 300 - 500 MB itself without any guests running. Your basic Linux distro doesn't even use that much.

Frankly I think your phraseology is based more on myth and marketing slicks rather than fact. Feel free to provide benches of the ESX dominating in all areas... I will tell you right now though it doesn't. As I said before VmWare's strength lies in it's management tools. Trying to make some case that Type 1 hypervisors out perform Type 2's in all areas just isn't shown by the numbers. If they did then I would agree. However, after spending months going through them all the actual tangible benefits often comes down to what you need.

Feel free to look at this article on KVM handling more hosts than ESX (also being able to address more memory too). http://www.dawnofthered.net/?p=51 Since according to you KVM isn't enterprise grade it's amazing that it's running on a IBM x3850 with 2 TB of RAM. Who knew the Linux kernel could handle so much? /s
Last edited by kc77 on Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:07 am

thegleek wrote:
flip-mode wrote:If you're looking to get both feet wet: ESXi.

Oh that I am! I have all the software, just not sure of the hardware req's. So much documentation it's overwhelming, I just want to throw in the CD/DVD into any random computer I have and let it go! But alas, they don't make it that easy - do they. LAME! It should work with anything I throw at it!

Did you look at the vm-help link that I posted above? It's got a big list of hardware on it that people have tested ESXi with.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:08 am

flip-mode wrote:Did you look at the vm-help link that I posted above? It's got a big list of hardware on it that people have tested ESXi with.

Yeah, that link is the best help so far... Problem is I haven't put much effort or time into making this a reality yet.
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