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

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

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:33 am

bthylafh wrote:Not as fast on hardware that doesn't support VT-x/Pacifica, though, and VB's USB2 implementation is dog-slow.

At least we've finally gotten to the point where most new x86 CPUs support hardware virtualization. It annoys me that Intel felt a need to segment their product line by withholding features like this from some of their desktop CPUs. AFAIK all AMD CPUs have supported the Pacifica extensions (now known as AMD-V) since the transition to Socket AM2 5 years ago.

I agree that the VB USB2 stack is a bit of a dog...

kc77 wrote:Saying Xen isn't an enterprise solution is just laughable on so many levels.

At least one major cloud services provider (Linode) is using it...
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:29 pm

just brew it! wrote:At least one major cloud services provider (Linode) is using it...


Yup. In the cloud server space XEN is quite popular because of it's generally lower cost. I prefer KVM over it though. So does IBM, Red Hat, etc. However, it (Xen) does have it's followers. If you use XenServer the amount of bugs are few. The open source version? Well you'll be fixing and patching stuff to get it rock solid. However, it's not hard to do. I did it over a weekend. The point being that Virtualbox, Xen, ESX, Hyper-V, and KVM all have benefits and all of them in my eyes are viable virtualization solutions depending on the use.

I stopped using Virtualbox because of some issues I've had between versions. I kept getting errors when migrating VM's between Vbox versions and so now for desktop use I prefer KVM over it. The switch made sense since our severs use it too. But as always different strokes for different folks.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:22 pm

kc77 wrote: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.

You're conflating several issues, which lends credence to my initial complaint.

I am not stating that Xen or KVM are lesser in performance vs ESX. Beta software typically runs faster than fully mature software, because it does less. Xen is one long ongoing beta.

So, the comparison there is maturity, stability, and robustness.

Vs. another stable robust competitor, MS Hyper-V, ESX competes on performance.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:12 pm

Buub wrote:You're conflating several issues, which lends credence to my initial complaint.
I am not stating that Xen or KVM are lesser in performance vs ESX. Beta software typically runs faster than fully mature software, because it does less. Xen is one long ongoing beta.

You are comical. Yeah you did. You said..
Buub wrote: 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.

You feel like ninja editing that last post? In terms of Xen being some on going Beta that really only applies to the opensource versions. A full blown version of Citrix XenServer bought and paid for is anything but "beta". Not to mention ESX runs a 2.4 Linux kernel which is no different from Xen since the last time I built it, while KVM is built into the 2.6 linux kernel itself. Your amalgamation of beta software equaling performance is quite bizarre as beta software is about fixing issues within a product that's feature locked. Alpha software are builds which do not have all of the planned features for production.

The whole point of a Type 1 hypervisor is that is DOES'NT do more than it needs to and it doesn't load/access or make available resources it doesn't need. That's the whole point of a micro-kernel. The group think is that while a micro-kernel can lose some of it's ability to be used on a variety of hardware, it's tailor made to the hardware and it's not carrying the excess bloat of a full fledged kernel. Thus technically it should be faster than a macro-kernel + virt libraries (KVM) or macro-kernel + 3rd party virtualization (Virtualbox). However, in practice this doesn't necessarily translate to be true. Least of which is because of the sheer rate of improvement of Linux itself or the third party applications which make use of it.

Buub wrote:So, the comparison there is maturity, stability, and robustness.
Vs. another stable robust competitor, MS Hyper-V, ESX competes on performance.

Xen is older than HyperV by YEARS (2003). The final version of Hyper V didn't even arrive until 2008 R2. As for stability and robustness, let me know when you can provide a benchmark on that. IBM seems to be able to sell KVM as apart of their solutions. Citrix seems to be ok. Are you trying to tell me that IBM is selling Beta software at tens of thousands of dollars a pop? You know the IBM who makes money in the enterprise space?

For every comment you've made there's benchmarks a plenty disproving your notion. I would know since I ran most of them for months before putting any one of them into production. While pissing matches are nice, they don't really help people. So unless you've got a problem setting up KVM, Xen, or ESX continuing this "discussion" is a waste of time.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:21 pm

kc77 wrote:The whole point of a Type 1 hypervisor is that is DOES'NT do more than it needs to and it doesn't load/access or make available resources it doesn't need. That's the whole point of a micro-kernel. The group think is that while a micro-kernel can lose some of it's ability to be used on a variety of hardware, it's tailor made to the hardware and it's not carrying the excess bloat of a full fledged kernel. Thus technically it should be faster than a macro-kernel + virt libraries (KVM) or macro-kernel + 3rd party virtualization (Virtualbox). However, in practice this doesn't necessarily translate to be true. Least of which is because of the sheer rate of improvement of Linux itself or the third party applications which make use of it.


I'm thinking you don't know what a microkernel is. Hint: the Linux kernel that ESX and Xen use is /not/ a microkernel, which has a specific meaning.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:49 pm

bthylafh wrote:
kc77 wrote:The whole point of a Type 1 hypervisor is that is DOES'NT do more than it needs to and it doesn't load/access or make available resources it doesn't need. That's the whole point of a micro-kernel. The group think is that while a micro-kernel can lose some of it's ability to be used on a variety of hardware, it's tailor made to the hardware and it's not carrying the excess bloat of a full fledged kernel. Thus technically it should be faster than a macro-kernel + virt libraries (KVM) or macro-kernel + 3rd party virtualization (Virtualbox). However, in practice this doesn't necessarily translate to be true. Least of which is because of the sheer rate of improvement of Linux itself or the third party applications which make use of it.


I'm thinking you don't know what a microkernel is. Hint: the Linux kernel that ESX and Xen use is /not/ a microkernel, which has a specific meaning.


No I'm fully aware. I admit I was using the terminology in a sloppy way in order to differentiate the difference of virtualization between that of say KVM and that of Xen's Dom0 arch which isn't nearly as stark of a difference with that of a microkernel as you would think, especially in the situation of paravirtualized guests where the drivers are held within the Dom0. We can go over the points if you like, but you'll find many areas where Xen specifically has design elements similar to microkernels and many areas where microkernels have some design similarities of that of hypervisors. Although I will admit that using the two terms interchangeably was grossly incorrect.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:37 pm

Can someone clarify or define wtf a DOM0 is... Haven't heard of that... and I'm not sure VMware even uses that, but lemme know either way! thanks
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:02 am

thegleek wrote:Can someone clarify or define wtf a DOM0 is... Haven't heard of that... and I'm not sure VMware even uses that, but lemme know either way! thanks

Nope VMWare doesn't. Here's the Xen wiki.

http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/Dom0
http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/FrontPage
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:16 am

Buub wrote:
kc77 wrote: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.

You're conflating several issues, which lends credence to my initial complaint. I am not stating that Xen or KVM are lesser in performance vs ESX. Beta software typically runs faster than fully mature software, because it does less. Xen is one long ongoing beta. So, the comparison there is maturity, stability, and robustness. Vs. another stable robust competitor, MS Hyper-V, ESX competes on performance.

Meh, reading back, your first comments, boiled down, said that Xen isn't an enterprise-grade hypervisor or a competitor in the enterprise space. So far, I don't think that you've supported those statements very well, while kc77 has done much to say that Xen has as much merit as other hypervisors even while lacking here and exceeding there. And JBI noted at least one noteworthy deployment of Xen.

I think the whole conversation is a bit of a sideshow and kc77's original comment, again boiled down here - that for enthusiasts or unsophisticated users Xen is worth looking at just for the sake of edification before moving on to something more fitting - was a good enough comment.

Personally, kc77 has done more to dissuade me from looking at Xen than otherwise though, as I am currently more interested in productivity than edification. If I was independently wealthy, or writing a term paper on hypervisors, or lost my current job and felt that brushing up on hypervisors was my ticket to a new one, then I'd be more interested.

What kc77 has done, and I think intentionally so, is pique my interest in KVM. That sounds worth looking into.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:27 am

More shameless plugging for VirtualBox (and by "shameless", I mean AWESOME):

We have VirtualBox hosting over 60 virtual servers, with guest operating systems including: Windows 2003, Windows 2008, 2008 R2 64-bit, Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Red Hat Enterprise, OpenSuse, Suse Enterprise, CentOS 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and 6.0, and Ubuntu 10 and 11 all 64-bit.

We have NEVER had a failure due to VirtualBox, although back in the early days of 3.x (or maybe 2.x?) there was a memory leak that would cause the VM's to fill up the Host OS RAM - yet still not crash.

The longest uptime we've had was nearly 600 days straight. Only reason we stopped is because we had a mandatory power outage in our building :-/

Our biggest Host system has 48 GB RAM and 8 cores / 16 threads (2x i7-based Xeons), and currently handles 9 or so instances. Host operating system is... get this... Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:47 am

I was very preferential to VirtualBox until there happened to be something that I absolutely could not get to work on it, while the same thing worked just fine on VMware. At that point I jumped over to VMware with both feet.

The issue was that I had a Windows 7 guest running an Autodesk application. The application has to grab a license from a license server on the LAN, but also, those licenses can be borrowed so that you can use the application away from the office. Well, license borrowing refused to work with VirtualBox which is extremely odd to me and makes no sense. So we downloaded a VMware trial and license borrowing worked flawlessly. Such a strange problem and so unfortunate.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:13 am

JdL wrote:More shameless plugging for VirtualBox (and by "shameless", I mean AWESOME):

We have VirtualBox hosting over 60 virtual servers, with guest operating systems including: Windows 2003, Windows 2008, 2008 R2 64-bit, Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Red Hat Enterprise, OpenSuse, Suse Enterprise, CentOS 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and 6.0, and Ubuntu 10 and 11 all 64-bit.

We have NEVER had a failure due to VirtualBox, although back in the early days of 3.x (or maybe 2.x?) there was a memory leak that would cause the VM's to fill up the Host OS RAM - yet still not crash.

The longest uptime we've had was nearly 600 days straight. Only reason we stopped is because we had a mandatory power outage in our building :-/

Our biggest Host system has 48 GB RAM and 8 cores / 16 threads (2x i7-based Xeons), and currently handles 9 or so instances. Host operating system is... get this... Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit.

I'm a fan of using VirtualBox on my own system. But are you saying VirtualBox works like VMware Server does? I wasn't aware of this...
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:49 am

JdL wrote:We have NEVER had a failure due to VirtualBox, although back in the early days of 3.x (or maybe 2.x?) there was a memory leak that would cause the VM's to fill up the Host OS RAM - yet still not crash.

In my experience, 3.x running on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS also had some horrid network resource leak issues. Leave a system running for a few weeks, and you'd end up with thousands of orphaned TCP connections. Never did figure out whether this was VirtualBox's fault, Ubuntu's fault, or a collaborative screwup. Regardless, it has been fixed now.

flip-mode wrote:I was very preferential to VirtualBox until there happened to be something that I absolutely could not get to work on it, while the same thing worked just fine on VMware. At that point I jumped over to VMware with both feet.

The issue was that I had a Windows 7 guest running an Autodesk application. The application has to grab a license from a license server on the LAN, but also, those licenses can be borrowed so that you can use the application away from the office. Well, license borrowing refused to work with VirtualBox which is extremely odd to me and makes no sense. So we downloaded a VMware trial and license borrowing worked flawlessly. Such a strange problem and so unfortunate.

Do you remember what mode you had the network interface set to? If you were running in NAT mode it could've been an issue with VirtualBox's NAT engine (in which case switching to bridged mode would likely help).

thegleek wrote:I'm a fan of using VirtualBox on my own system. But are you saying VirtualBox works like VMware Server does? I wasn't aware of this...

I'm not sure what you mean by "like VMware Server does".
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:21 am

flip-mode wrote:
Buub wrote:
kc77 wrote: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.

You're conflating several issues, which lends credence to my initial complaint. I am not stating that Xen or KVM are lesser in performance vs ESX. Beta software typically runs faster than fully mature software, because it does less. Xen is one long ongoing beta. So, the comparison there is maturity, stability, and robustness. Vs. another stable robust competitor, MS Hyper-V, ESX competes on performance.

Meh, reading back, your first comments, boiled down, said that Xen isn't an enterprise-grade hypervisor or a competitor in the enterprise space. So far, I don't think that you've supported those statements very well, while kc77 has done much to say that Xen has as much merit as other hypervisors even while lacking here and exceeding there. And JBI noted at least one noteworthy deployment of Xen.

In spite of his "X uses it and Y uses it", the market has spoken. VMware ESX has vastly more market share than anyone else in the enterprise space, and it is in no danger of shrinking. The reasons are several, but mainly boil down to the rich management infrastructure, performance, and robustness.

How many fortune-500 companies run major infrastructure on ESX? Pretty close to all of them. How many run major infrastructure on Xen? I don't know, but I'll wager it's relatively small.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:37 am

just brew it! wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "like VMware Server does".

ie: anyone can access a "virtual machine" via a URL from the outside (or intranet) if a VMware server or ESX is running that VM.

you cannot do the same using vmware workstation or virtualbox because it's client-based. that is what i meant. and earlier someone mentioned virtualserver being able to do what vmware server/esx is doing. I was wondering how they made that possible?!
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:52 am

VirtualBox allows you to start a VM in the background with the VBoxHeadless CLI command. This VM's virtual display can then be accessed remotely. The OSE version uses VNC protocol; the non-OSE version uses Microsoft RDP. Any remote desktop viewer app that supports the appropriate protocol should work for this.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:21 pm

thegleek wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "like VMware Server does".

ie: anyone can access a "virtual machine" via a URL from the outside (or intranet) if a VMware server or ESX is running that VM.

you cannot do the same using vmware workstation or virtualbox because it's client-based. that is what i meant. and earlier someone mentioned virtualserver being able to do what vmware server/esx is doing. I was wondering how they made that possible?!


All you have to do is configure each VM you set up to use "bridged" networking and then it will be accessible on the local network just like any normal computer. After that you set up port forwarding or whatever on your router. And this is possible no matter what hypervisor product you use, Virtualbox included.

The guest operating systems don't even know any of this is happening. As far as they are concerned, they are as good as any other computer in the world. You can put them on the local network, or a private virtual network, or you can use "NAT" so they are essentially isolated from all machines - virtual or otherwise - and the only traffic that gets through is traffic that was requested.

You can set up a domain controller as a virtual machine, web servers, file servers, you can use Remote Desktop to access them. You can even set up FreeNAS or OpenFiler in a virtual machine. Heck, I think you can even host an Openfiler VM on an OpenFiler SAN, which makes me question whether the universe even exists.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:56 pm

flip-mode wrote:Personally, kc77 has done more to dissuade me from looking at Xen than otherwise though, as I am currently more interested in productivity than edification. If I was independently wealthy, or writing a term paper on hypervisors, or lost my current job and felt that brushing up on hypervisors was my ticket to a new one, then I'd be more interested.

What kc77 has done, and I think intentionally so, is pique my interest in KVM. That sounds worth looking into.

LOL...That pretty much was the point. Compiling a hypervisor from scratch isn't fun. However, I learned quite a bit from doing it. It's definitely not for everyone. It took me about 3 days to go through Xen source and get it to the point where I could say it was enterprise ready. While I can't tell you where I work, all I can say is Xen isn't unusual, and I've seen it plenty of times in many installations. I fought with drivers, grub, networking files, and then NTP/internal hardware time clock issues. However at the end of the day I now am in the position of walking up to a Xen installation and not feeling like I'm looking at an alien. That being said I feel that Xen will die off, mainly because of KVM. Not many people even realize that KVM is in every Ubuntu distro since 8.04 . Yet, KVM takes care of just about every issue I ever had with Xen and the performance is just as good if not remarkably better.

With it being supported within many distros it can be upgraded through apt-get or yum without too many issues (I've experienced zero) if any at all which is a god send in enterprise. For example there's a regression in I/O for disk access I think in one of the earlier Ubuntu versions which was fixed in 10.04. I took an LVM snapshot of the host, upgraded and downloaded about 300MB worth of files, expanded the VM volume group for more VM's later, and rebooted and I was back in business with a performance increase in about an hour. During the entire upgrade process the guests ran until I rebooted. That was the happiest moment of my life watching that occur. I upgraded the two boxes about a year ago and I've NEVER had to restart the host or guest since then. I will soon in order to bring on line a new tape backup up solution, but other than that the guests have been rock solid.

VMWare has it's place for sure. But unless you are running many VM's and have your storage pool provided through a complex SAN network where it's administration tools have a chance to shine you'll be better served using KVM. It's cheaper, performs just as well as ESX and enjoys the ease of use of any Linux distro you are comfortable with and it's compatibility exceeds that of ESX as it will happily run on anything.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:27 am

Does KVM offer any high availability or automatic failover features?

And how about migrating VM's - is that pretty simple?

And can I define a custom MAC address for the virtual network adapter? That's critical for my Autodesk license server.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:04 pm

flip-mode wrote:Does KVM offer any high availability or automatic failover features?

Proxmox VE supports high availability for KVM. http://pve.proxmox.com/wiki/DRBD
flip-mode wrote:And how about migrating VM's - is that pretty simple?

That's in the GTK GUI and is pretty straight forward.
flip-mode wrote:And can I define a custom MAC address for the virtual network adapter? That's critical for my Autodesk license server.

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

Postposted on Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:11 pm

Gleek,
Just install ESXi already.

I have it running on an old AM2 board from Gigabyte. MA790FX-UD5P with an X4 940 and 8 GB RAM. The only "enterprise" grade splurge is my Intel dual port gigabit NIC. ESXi 5.0 loads drivers for the Realtek NICs, which is not something that the older versions would do easily.

Regarding the Xen/ESX fight, my team sees ~80/20 in favor of ESX.
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Re: Virtualization (WAS: Shall i upgrade my processor now?)

Postposted on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:31 am

Xylker wrote:Gleek,
Just install ESXi already.

I have it running on an old AM2 board from Gigabyte. MA790FX-UD5P with an X4 940 and 8 GB RAM. The only "enterprise" grade splurge is my Intel dual port gigabit NIC. ESXi 5.0 loads drivers for the Realtek NICs, which is not something that the older versions would do easily.

Regarding the Xen/ESX fight, my team sees ~80/20 in favor of ESX.

I will! Just gotta find the time to do so! I hate playing games, but Minecraft & Deus Ex:HR are ruining my spare time! :evil:
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