[K12OSN] Software virtualization...opensource way?

John G Ruff JRuff at Sihope.com
Wed Feb 8 15:57:54 UTC 2006

Xen, for now, only runs Linux virtual machines (VM). http://xen.sf.net/

VMware has released VMplayer for free usage (that's free as in cost, not
liberty). VMplayer is not intended to be used for VM creation, but can
be. Google for "OS.vmdk". VMware this week announced that it is
releasing Vmware Server as a free product.

VMplayer is great at running guest operating systems. Generally, the
guests are just as functional as a native installation. Boot up is
quick, hardware virtualization is very good, the mouse movement is
smooth and programs work as expected. A great plus is that damaged /
compromised / vandalized VM images can be deleted and replaced with a
master image. Or, one master image can be updated and copied to multiple
usage instances. Just like a real computer, any local data needs to be
backed up before "scrubbing."

VMware WorkStation (not free) adds functionality such as improved
networking, higher resolution video than the Windows VM default of
640x480x16 and tools for fine tuning and shrinking a VM.

The only real problem, especially in a LTSP environment, is memory
usage. Each VM needs to be allocated a chunk of RAM. Within limits, it
is feasible, but does not scale very far. Running Windows 95 instead
Windows XP can save considerably on the memory requirements, but at a
substantial functionality and stability cost. Windows 2000 runs just
fine in 96 Mb, but is then quite limited as to the programs that can be
started. Multiple VMs, all swapping, could cause a significant disk
performance problem on the host server.


On Wed, 2006-02-08 at 10:23 -0500, David Trask wrote:
> Ok....aside from the licensing of the OS or apps....(that part I
> understand)
> I'm reading a lot about software virtualization....In other words allowing
> one server to run multiple OS's or perhaps allowing one networked
> workstation or terminal to access multiple apps written for other
> platforms.  For example:  a Windoze workstation could access an app
> written for Mac OS X running on a virtual server in the server room.  I've
> read up a bit on Xen, but do not totally understand it.  
> Good article here:
> http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=6057
> and here's a company that does virtualization...
> http://www.ardence.com/
> My question....does anyone know of an Open Source or at least free way of
> doing this?  Is Xen the same thing?
> See here:
> http://fedora.redhat.com/projects/virtualization/
> I'm curious to know what others may have done, experienced, or are working
> on.
> David N. Trask
> Technology Teacher/Director
> Vassalboro Community School
> dtrask at vcsvikings.org
> (207)923-3100
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