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VMware, XenSource Join Forces For Linux 63

Posted by Hemos
from the a-brighter-tomorrow dept.
porjo writes "Peace has been established on at least one front: XenSource and VMware are working together to improve virtualization in the Linux kernel. Their original disagreement has been displaced by a commitment to work on a solution together, says Simon Crosby, CTO of XenSource, the company that builds products around Xen virtualization software. The two are trying to come up with a common approach to virtualization support in the Linux kernel. [snip] The work now under way would let hypervisors from Microsoft, VMware, and Xen work together in the same data center. Under such a scenario, it would be possible for a Xen virtual machine, trapped on a piece of failing hardware, to be automatically moved over to a VMware hypervisor on another piece of hardware."
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VMware, XenSource Join Forces For Linux

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  • If this is true, then its a great news for standards, since atleast I hope that now anyone (possibly) could write a hipervisor for unknown/research systems with a lot of testing and deployment testing available.
  • Good thing but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Devv (992734)
    It is great to see that big software manufacturers can help each other and build up a better product. Though, with all my reservations, I might not know enough about this debate to say this. I will do that anyway and you can read it the way you want. Consider the fact that every company making a major product would start helping each other. As far as this drive the development further it's great! This might though carry the risks for having an oligopoly driving the prices forward which is not so great. A
    • Re:Good thing but.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by mabinogi (74033)
      > I should also tell you that I don't even know in what extent these products do cost anything.

      Xen is Open Source, and VMWare has two free of cost products - VMWare Player and VMWare Server and two commerical products - VMWare Workstation and VMWare ESX

  • by supasam (658359) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:58PM (#15894987) Journal
    Maybe some day we'll only power down our computers after uploading them-still running-to an off site server to continue their existence. An then some day those never ending processes can mate and have children.
  • by stas2k (951288) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @02:05PM (#15895011) Homepage
    Now this is great news! As VMware user on production systems, I am very pleased with such news. Now one of many thing that can go wrong in such "alliance" as that hypervisor interface will get bloated with vendor specific extensions. And we will end up with non-compatible interfaces as it was before.
  • I'd really like to run a virtual machine environment, so I've got Linux or OpenBSD underneath and a Windows client OS on top for when I want to run Windows applications. There seem to be a range of choices if I want Linux client OS, including Xen, VMWare, User-Mode Linux, etc., and some for BSD client OS, but is the VMWare server for Linux the only free choice if I want to support Windows clients? Free-beer is good enough, and I'm not a gamer, so accelerated graphics performance isn't critical either. If
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Run VMware to sandbox MS DRM crap and Xen to sandbox VMware!
    • by Trelane (16124) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @02:30PM (#15895064) Journal
      There seem to be a range of choices if I want Linux client OS, including Xen, VMWare, User-Mode Linux, etc., and some for BSD client OS, but is the VMWare server for Linux the only free choice if I want to support Windows clients?

      At this level, it is because Microsoft VirtualPC doesn't support a Linux host, Xen requires modifications that (apparently) they can't legally use with a Windows client, UML is User Mode Linux (not Windows) and requires kernel-level modifications (obviously unavailable outside of Redmond, WA, USA), and Win4Lin has no free offering. (These are the only ones I'm familiar with) With Hypervisor, however, Xen no longer requires the legally-questionable mods, so there's hope for the future if you don't like VMWare. So, the answers seem to be: lack of support, lack of free, and lack of source.

      Otherwise, there're technologies like Bochs, which emulate the actual chip, but are much slower.

      • Virtual PC can run Linux distros, you just have to try it. I've had Gentoo run and livecd's based on FreeBSD (PC-BSD and DesktopBSD) and OpenBSD (OliveBSD).
        And there's also Qemu [bellard.free.fr] which is available for *nix and Windows. Together with the kqemu accelerator it runs Windows very fast on *nix and vice-versa.
        (currently running Windows in Qemu on FreeBSD 6, Ubuntu 6.06 desktop in VMware server on Windows XP and Windows in VMware server on Ubuntu 6.06 desktop)
      • by spectro (80839) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:32PM (#15895260) Homepage
        Xen requires modifications that (apparently) they can't legally use with a Windows client

        I understand Xen 3.0.2 can run unmodified windows guests if you have a processor with virtualization extensions (Intel Pentium D 9xx series, or AMD Athlon 64 X2 Windsor series). I am planning to try this out but I need a few months to shell out the $400+ to buy new cpu, mobo, video and DDR2 memory.

        • I understand Xen 3.0.2 can run unmodified windows guests if you have a processor with virtualization extensions

          That was my understanding as well, although I wasn't sure if it was out yet. That's why I said:

          With Hypervisor, however, Xen no longer requires the legally-questionable mods, so there's hope for the future if you don't like VMWare.

          Though maybe I was confusing terminology; maybe "hypervisor support on the CPU" would have been clearer.

        • It only recuires a AMD AM2 socket and it will work.

        • I have bought a $6k box for work to run xen. The results were incredibly disappointing. The para-virtualization is lightning quick, but the HVM is crap.

          GFX: The Graphics emulation is incredibly slow (on par with Qemu some of the time, other times slower). VNC display driver has serious mouse issues (this could be solved by using a touch screen emulation, but I don't believe there is one yet.

          Sound: Not tested. it's a server after all.

          Network: Only emulates PCnet32 and NE2000PCI NIC's, for some reason rightly
          • There is an 8139too network target too (which is 100mbps), which should be more than acceptable, but I think you need to build Xen yourself to get it.
            Also, what of giving the guest OS it's own network card through a PCI mapping? I always have more onboard/outboard network controllers than I know what to do with in my servers. It's not the most transparent way of going about things but if you have a bandwidth-hogging virtual host to run...
      • Qemu can install and run Windows from inside Linux.
        http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/ [bellard.free.fr]
      • QEMU is a dynamic translator, ie like bochs but MUCH faster. Not only, there is KQEMU that is a kernel module to enable true virtualization for QEMU (like VMWare). Unluckily, KQEMU is not open source, but the creator Fabrice Bellard is willing to release the source if he gets the money he deserves. I think QEMU/KQEMU deserves more attention...
        • Also it would be nice if we got a few more emulated devices supported. Maybe a gigabit ethernet adapter. A CDROM 'server' that allows you to attach and unattach ISOs (which might look like insert/remove events).
          The holy grail would be M on N threading. But I don't think that fits into his emulation model very cleanly.

      • I couldn't even get XP SP2 installed inside an M$ virtual PC on a Win2K box. But it worked perfectly under VMWare. Micro$oft - always the bridesmaid, never the bride...
    • Screenshot of XP running on Xen [flickr.com].
  • Weird (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Under such a scenario, it would be possible for a Xen virtual machine, trapped on a piece of failing hardware, to be automatically moved over to a VMware hypervisor on another piece of hardware.

    This is just like that episode of Star Trek where Professor Moriarty succeeds in escaping from the holodeck!
  • It's only a matter of time before the hypervisor/virtualization layer is a commodity - and with standardized interfaces, the vendors can focus on infrastructure management software.

    VirtualCenter is imho way ahead of anything else available - and will be VMware's most important product going forward.
  • Is this article talking about the paravirt_ops API that is being discussed on linux-kernel lately, or something else?
  • More importantly... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DanMc (623041)

    it would be possible for a Xen virtual machine, trapped on a piece of failing hardware, to be automatically moved over to a VMware hypervisor on another piece of hardware.

    Nobody is really going to use this. When people talk about this, it's like saying, "if it's the 3rd Tuesday of a month that ends in 'ber', I'm in an important meeting, sitting in my assigned seat, and I spill coffee on my shirt but not my tie, I can totally switch my shirt without taking off my tie with only a small hiccup in the meeting

  • Can someone explain to ignorant old me what linux-on-linux virtualisation is for? What problem does it solve?
    • by McGiraf (196030) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @06:59PM (#15895999) Homepage
      "Can someone explain to ignorant old me what linux-on-linux virtualisation is for? What problem does it solve?"

      It's for running linux on linux, it solves linux not running on linux.

      Hape that helps.

      • Virtualization is for "running windows on linux", "running linux on windows", "running macosx os freebsd" and so on.

        You may use another operating system without having to reboot the computer, without having to leave your desktop
        and with a performance that makes it to be as near as possible the performance of the system outside guest OS.

        The joint is for making hardware virtualization working better on Linux and for VMWare and Xen solutions to interoperate.
    • You may want to run bind and apache on the same machine, but not have to worry about the security issues of one affecting the other, so you run two virtual machines, each with a seperate server (I know about chroots, but a vm is more secure).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Can someone explain to ignorant old me what linux-on-linux virtualisation is for? What problem does it solve?

      Well, lets say you run a hosting operation. Normally you rent servers in your data center to your customers.

      What if the customer doesn't need a quality server (with scsi raid & redundant power) all to themselves but they still want full control (with root) of the operating system?

      Create a linux VM for them. Customer gets a "server" they fully control, running on quality hardware.

      Or, what if you'r
    • It's simple. A typical computer running a web server is idle most of the time. With virtualization, you can run many OSes simultaneously on a single machine. That's attractive to web hosting providers who can buy one beefed up server and pretend they have a gazillion separate machines. So each customer gets a dedicated "computer" for running their website, but there's only one real machine to pay for, do maintenance on, and lease space in the colo.

      s/web server/other service/g

    • Here are [openvz.org] some typical usage scenarios for OS-level virtualization; server consolidation is number one I believe. All that also applies to Xen and VMware (although their overhead in those cases would be higher); in addition, they can run *different* operating systems on the same box -- this is what OpenVZ don't do.
  • It'd be really great if they'd also learn the lessons and great ideas from the mainframe, where IBM has been doing virtualization (VM, now z/VM) and a decoupled hipervisor (that's their term I believe) for more than 35 years now. It's clear that the hipervisor in System i and System p are all gearing up to really allow one to move VMs from one place to another as the situation demands.

    Disclaimer: I do not work for IBM, but I think they've got great technology. I'd love to have the dough to buy a new System
  • Parallels really is the counterexample to this paper, the speed is pretty much the same in hardware VT-X or software only, but the main difference is that the processor load is way lower once VT-X is turned on.

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