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                    Posts with keyword: virtualization


                    Building a Virtual Appliance: First Steps

                    Image by MrsWoman via Flickr This week I've been working on creating a virtual appliance (VA) version of the Kynetx engine. This is a necessary step for customers who need a version of the Kynetx Rules Engine (KRE) running behind their firewall (think SAS70 compliance, for example). This post documents some of what I discovered. (N.B. Since I'm working with Xen, much of what appears below could be Xen specific; I haven't taken the time to generalize it.) First, and most important, there's no standard definition of what a virtual appliance is or how they are built. There are
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                    Parallels Has a Command Line Tool Too!

                    When I wrote the head to head review of Parallels and Fusion for InfoWorld, I also did a sidebar on remote control of hypervisors and guests. At the time I wasn't aware that Parallels also has a command line tool called prlctl for managing the hypervisor and controlling guests. A simple "man prlctl" told me all I needed to know and a minute later, I was starting, stopping, and suspending guests from the terminal. The screenshot to the right (click to enlarge) shows it in the process of suspending a Vista operating system guest on my machine. In addition
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                    Fusion vs. Parallels: The Horse Race Continues

                    My second review of Fusion and Parallels appeared today in InfoWorld. I reviewed Fusion 1.0 and Parallels 3.0 a little over a year ago. They've both had major upgrades since then, so it was time for another look. The bottom line is that there's not a lot of difference between these two products. They both perform well and do what you'd expect them to. They both have lots of cool features--especially for Windows users on the Mac--the core audience. The differences are minor. While some of those differences might be the reason that you'd prefer one over the other,
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                    Reactivating Vista in Parallels 4.0

                    Windows Vista (oops, can I still call it that?) has "Windows Genuine Advantage" and so when it's moved to new hardware have having been installed somewhere else, it needs to be "reactivated." Parallels Desktop was recently updated to version 4.0. This apparently involved some changes to the virtualized hardware presented to the OS since machines created with older versions of Parallels have to be upgraded. You can see where this is going. The conversion process "fails" with a message that something has to be done manually. When you get into the machine, Vista is asking to
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                    Fusion 1.1.2

                    VMWare released a new version of Fusion last week: 1.1.2. There are a lot of little fixes that if they were a problem for you you'll be very glad to have fixed. If not, you might not notice much difference. I'd been bit a few times by Fusion refusing to release USB resources when it quit. Bottom line: if you're not having any issues, no rush.
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                    Belay My Last! Parallels Found Innocent!

                    Well, maybe not completely innocent. Here's the story: A little bit ago, I claimed that uninstalling Parallels from my system had solved some instability problems I was having. Not so fast. I'd gone five days when I wrote that post without seeing any evidence of the instability after removing the drivers. The next day they came back. What did change was that my erratic mouse problem went a way permanently, so I still believe that vmmain.kext was the cause of that. But it wasn't causing the freezing. As I said, that returned and kept happening. I began to suspect
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                    Parallels and OS X Instability

                    Lately, I've had a very rocky relationship with my Mac Book Pro. One of the things that attracted me to OS X was its stability. Over the past several months (before and after Leopard) my MBP has had trouble with sleeping, waking, and weird, inexplicable freezing. Often when the machine woke up, it would the screen would be black and never come back. The machine would freeze at odd times and nothing would unstick it. I couldn't even log in remotely using SSH, so it was pretty stuck. The final straw was erratic mouse behavior. The mouse seemed sluggish
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                    Xen and Multiple Networks

                    Last Friday I asked a question about how to set up a network in Xen with a machine attached between a public and private network, like you might use in a firewall or load balancing situation. I want to be able to mimic real world networking situation in Xen for experimentation and modeling purposes. There were numerous replies and I'm grateful for all the help. In the end, Steve Fulling (he's not as pointy haired as you though) came up with a pretty simple solution. To use virt-install to create a bridged, public machine, you'd do something like this:
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                    Xen, VLANs, and Load Balancing

                    I want to create a setup on XEN that has one or more machines load balancing for a number of other machines on a private network. This diagram shows roughly what I'm thinking: The idea is that some machines will be connected to both the public network and the private LAN and other machines will only be connected to the VLAN. This offers some security benefits and reduces the number of public IP numbers I need. The catch is I want to do this all virtually. Does anyone know of the recommended way to do this with XEN? I
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                    Dr. Mendel Rosenblum

                    GigaOM has an interesting interview with Dr. Mendel Rosenblum, the Chief Scientist at VMWare. We went down a rat hole on how we built the data centers. I am not surprised with all the problems we are having with data centers. In my opinion, the architecture has problems because it was built with inferior solutions. What you had was people placing services on servers in a way that led to lightly loaded machines that were idle most of the time. The whole thing was built for peak performance (and not maximum utilization.) Well, idle machines use as much energy
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                    DC Power in Datacenters

                    I just posted at article at Between the Lines on using DC power in datacenters to save power.
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                    Enomalism and Xen

                    I'm looking for a management console for Xen (besides the command line). I'd looked into this months and months ago and concluded that when the time came, I'd try Enomalism, but after some initial experiments I'm no longer sure. Any advice? Let me know what you use for managing the Xen hypervisor and why.
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                    Virtualization Security Threats

                    Laurianne McLaughlin has an excellent article in CIO magazine about security threats in virtual machines and what you can do now to mitigate them. One that caught my eye was No. 4, "Understand the Value of an Embedded Hypervisor". The reason I was tuned into that was a conversation I had with Gregory Ness on a Technometria podcast where he went into some detail about the role of a hypervisor in VM security. As an aside, am I the only one who finds the interstitial page ads that IDG is placing in this online magazines completely annoying? I wouldn't
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                    VMWare Fusion Clock Synchronization

                    When you install Linux in Fusion, make sure you install the tools. But just installing them isn't enough. Clock synchronization is turned off by default, so you need to start up the tools interface: sudo /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox Then click the box for synchronizing the guest time with the host. If you don't, the guest will lose time.
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                    What Should I Buy? Parallels or Fusion?

                    InfoWorld asked me to do a head-to-head review of Parallels and Fusion. That review appeared today. As a frequent user of both virtualization packages, I really enjoyed this review since it gave me an excuse to dig deep on some things and to talk to the product managers for both. One thing is clear: there's some stiff competition between Parallels and VMWare and the users are the winners. These are both great products that perform well. VMWare has a performance advantage--especially when you need multi-core performance. Parallels, I think, has a slight advantage in usability and a pretty big
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                    Installing Tools in Fusion When They Won't Install

                    In Fusion (and other virtualization systems) you should install OS tools on the guest OS to make it behave better. This is not something specific to Fusion, this is a general fact of virtualization. Usually, clicking the "Install VMWare Tools" does the trick--especially with Windows. Sometimes, however, it doesn't do anything. On those occasions you need to take over and do it manually. Here's how. First, mount the right ISO as a CDROM image. You'll find these in /Library/Application Support/VMWare Fusion/isoimages Select the right one for your OS. You may need to manually mount the disk. Fedora, for example,
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                    Lamont Peterson on XEN and Virtualization

                    Lamont Peterson, co-founder of NeverBlock is talking about XEN and virtualization. The talk is an intro to virtualization technology and a discussion of why use virtualization. Here are some pros: Resource consolidation: fewer systems to buy, own, manage, power, cool, etc. Unification: all VMs have the same "hardware" even if they're running on different hardware. Access and management tools allow VMs to be managed over the network. Utilization: most bare metal systems are under utilized. VMs allow that resource to be recovered. Fewer physical machines can improve reliability since there's less Of course, there are some cons: It can
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                    Why Vista?

                    I just put an article up at Between the Lines wondering why anyone would use Vista in a virtual machine if their primary goal is to be able to run Windows applications on their Mac.
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                    P2V: How To Make a Physical Linux Box Into a Virtual Machine

                    Over the last four days, I've been exploring how to convert physical Linux boxes into virtual machines. VMWare has a tool for doing P2V conversions, as they're called, but as far as I can tell it only works for Windows physical machines and for converting various flavors of virtual machines into others. I've had a Linux machine that I've used in my CS462 (Large Distributed Systems) class for years. The Linux distro has been updated over the years, but the box is an old 266MHz Pentium with 512Mb of RAM. Overall, it's done surprisingly well--a testament to the small
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                    Parallels Scares Me Sometimes

                    Tonight someone sent me an email with a spreadsheet in it. The extension was .xlsx, not something Office for the Mac understands. I clicked on it anyway to see what would happen. Here's what happened: Parallels fired up Excel in Windows in "coherence" mode so that my Windows version of Excel was running in it's own window--just like a regular application. Excel in Windows tried to open the file, but realized it was for Office 2007. Safari on Windows (apparently now my default browser) fired up and offered to download the compatibility pack. I did that and installed it,
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                    Security and Virtualization

                    I've been a big proponent of virtualization over the last couple of years, but I'd never stopped to think how it changed the nature of computer security. This week on the Technometria podcast, I interviewed Greg Ness about security in virtualized environments. It turns out there are things that virtualization makes more difficult, but the ability to run a privileged "security shield" on the hypervisor presents a new, potent weapon in the fight for more secure enterprise computing. I found the conversation fascinating.
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                    Building Emacs

                    I was building Emacs on a virtual machine today and realized that I've been building Emacs on various machines for nigh on twenty years. The first machine I built Emacs for was an IBM RT running AIX 2.1. That was a tough build--no one had done it before that I could find. This was before the standardized configure scripts that figured everything out for you. I learned a lot. Things have gotten considerably easier. I find that building Emacs is easier than trying to find the right thing pre-built and isn't that hard. Here's what you do. Use the
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                    Technometria on Virtualization

                    This week's Technometria podcast is an interview with Bogomil Balkansky on virtualization. Bogomil is director of product marketing at VMWare. We had a good discussion of who's adopting virtualization now and why. We talked about virtualization in the datacenter and the desktop. I enjoyed the conversation.
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                    Install the Parallels Tools!

                    Yesterday I did something in Parallels that I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't done before--it made a huge difference. I installed the Parallels tools in some guest OS's and compressed and defragmented their disks. The guest OS tools allow the guest OS to play better with the host. The biggest difference you'll notice is that the mouse "rolls" from the guest to the host OS without the need to push funny key combinations to "release the mouse." Not only that, drag and drop and cut and past work. Hurrah! Compressing my disk images cut them in half (6Gb to
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                    Cloning Machines and Race Conditions

                    While I've been playing with VMWare Fusion, I've simultaneously been doing some testing of NextPage's Document Retention product for an InfoWorld review. I needed two machines, so naturally, I used virtual machines (in Parallels, as it turns out). Being lazy, I did as much set up on one machine as I could before I cloned it. I recognized that I needed different identities on these machines for my test, so I got two different activations from NextPage, but if I hadn't, would the software have worked, seemed like it worked, or failed completely? I'm not talking about "work" in
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                    VMWare Fusion Beta 3 Released

                    I downloaded the 3rd beta release of VMWare Fusion today and spent some time playing with it. Fusion is the desktop virtualization application from VMWare for OS X. You can download it here and try it out for yourself for free, it you like. I wrote up my thoughts about VMWare Fusion and posted them at Between the Lines, if you're interested.
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                    Virtual Appliances

                    I spent a little time today playing around with a virtual appliance (VA) from VirtualAppliances.net. They have LAMP, Tomcat, Cacti, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and HTTTP server virtual appliances that you can download and run inside a variety of virtualization environments, including VMWare and XEN. I downloaded the LAMP stack VA and it booted in VMWare Fusion on my MacBook Pro. The VA uses DHCP to get its network address (there's no option or static IP numbers at boot time) and the boot screen gives the relevant URLs for the admin console. There's no way to log in--you use the management
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                    Mounting OSX Directories in Parallels

                    I found this nifty trick for mounting OS X directories from Linux. This is handy when you're using Parallels on your machine and want to easily pass information back and forth. Parallels comes with a utility for doing this from Windows, but not Linux. The idea is to use sshfs, the SSH filesystem. I installed it easily on Ubuntu using apt-get (on Fedora, you'd use Yum) and then mounting a disk on my OS X file system is as simple as sshfs pjw@10.37.129.2:Documents "OSX Documents" "OSX Documents" is an empty directory on the Linux machine that serves as the
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                    Using VMWare Fusion: A First Look

                    Last Friday I wrote that VMWare had released the second beta of Fusion, their virtual desktop for OS X. Over the weekend I took a little time to play around with it and had a few observations. Note that this is not a formal review--don't take it as one. First, Fusion works well, as promised. No major hiccups to report. I was able to set up a Fedora Core 6 image with only a few issues. Here are some of my discoveries and impressions: Fedora isn't one of the "supported" operating systems. I mistakenly chose "Redhat Linux" thinking that
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                    VMWare Releases Beta Desktop Virtualization for OS X

                    VMWare announced the release of Beta 2 for the OS X version of VMWare Desktop, codename Fusion, today. Fusion has a Cocoa-native interface that runs Windows apps side-by-side with OS X windows. Parallels has recently released a similar feature that they call "Coherence." I make increasing use of virtualization in my everyday work. For example, I needed to give my students a consistent development environment for a large chunk of code we're working on. We just created an image and let them download the whole machine. I suspect that VMWare wouldn't be paying the Mac a lick of attention
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                    Routing Around VMWare

                    Today Terry Wilcox, my grad students working on virtualization informed me that he had Xen installed and working on our virtualization testbed (two dell 6650's with 4 CPUs and 16Gb of RAM). Working means that he can transfer running instances from one box to the other. We have been doing a lot of performance studies of VMWare's ESX, but switched to Xen for the next part of Terry's research. The reason isn't that we wanted some infrastructural diversity, although that's not all bad. The reason is that we had reason to fear that VMWare might hinder the publication of
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                    Installing MS-DOS in Parallels

                    In the fun, but mostly useless, knowledge category, tonight I loaded MS-DOS 6.22 onto Parallels. I didn't have a copy on CD, only floppies and I couldn't get Parallels to see the USB floppy, but I was able to easily make floppy disk images of the originals and mount those. Here's how: Plug in the USB floppy drive and load the floppy. You should be able to see all the files from the Mac Finder window. Start OS X's Disk Utility application. Click on the floppy and then click "New Image" in the menu bar of Disk Utility. Select
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                    CTO Breakfast Report

                    We had the monthly CTO Breakfast this morning--perhaps for the last time in it's usually place. There was a good group present and some fun discussion. Bruce Fryer's brought up an ironic encounter with a word-of-mouth marketing company. The person who runs the marketing for a prominent WOM company somehow didn't get Linked-In and who social networks work. Funny. We got into a discussion of new media. I brought up the Bear Sterns report I blogged about the other day and it's breakdown of the media pipeline. There's a great opportunity in the "content packaging" space--although I wonder if
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                    VMWare ESX Performance Report

                    I've had a student, Terry Wilcox, working to understand the performance characteristics of VMWare's ESX virtualization monitor. Terry's finished his initial work and written up the tests and some conclusions. Overall, ESX scales quite linearly--that is each new virtual machine gets a fair share of the processor and other resources. There are some interesting conclusions: Single CPU virtual machines scale better than virtual machines using Virtual SMP. Hyper-Threading increases throughput if there are a large number of virtual CPUs, but makes no difference if the number of virtual CPUs is less than or equal to the number of physical
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                    Changing Linux Screen Resolution In Parallels

                    I've had parallels running now for some time on my MacBook Pro and it's really nice to be able to fire up Windows or Linux when needed. I have a feeling this is going to come in real handy this fall when I'm teaching CS462 and have 40 students using Linux to do their assignment. I can keep a fresh image that's identical to the one their using and just fire it up when I need to try something out. One thing that's bothered me, however, is that Fedora didn't want to create screens bigger and 800x600. I knew
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                    Parallels and Virtualization

                    I just posted a review of my experiences with Parallels on Between the Lines. Parallels is the virtualization technology that runs on OS X. It's been in beta, but today it's available as a final release.
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                    SOA Testing Webcast

                    I'm moderating a webcast for InfoWorld on Wed. The topic is testing in an SOA environment. iTKO is the sponsor and, hence, the presenter. I'm looking forward to it--SOA testing isn't a topic that get's much play, but's its important. The Webcast is free, so if you've got time in Wed (Jun 14) at 11AMPST, tune in. An interesting sidenote: while we were doing the dress rehersal, I dsicovered that the ON24 control console doesn't support anything but IE. Argh! (This isn't true, of the audience app--it works fine cross platform.) But I just updated to my new MacBook
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