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Re: [K12OSN] Fwd: Vmware as base for K12LTSP

On 7/10/06, Henry Burroughs <hburroughs hhprep org> wrote:

 I didn't want to say anything yet (and jynx my project), but I just got a
new server (dual 3.6 GHZ with Hyperthreading) and VMware ESX 3.0.  My goal
is to put my k12ltsp server on top of ESX.  I'll let the list know how that
goes.  It basically is going to inhabit the same server as MS terminal
services, Exchange, and the Linux home directory server...so it'll be a good
stress test at least.  8 Gigs of ram at the moment, but going up to 12 soon.
 My hope with using K12LTSP in a VM is that I can deploy new versions side
by side and migrate users over after I test it.... and keep the old machine
powered off as a backup.

This idea of using vmware and other virtualization technology (Xen)
has come up a few times on this list. Basically if you have a server
powerful enough it's not a bad idea to stick both LTSP and Windows
Terminal server on one box using different VMs. Except for one thing:
CPU technology is not there yet. The first gen of virtualization
extensions is called Pacifica (AMD AM2) and VT (Intel Pentium D 9xx or
the New Dual Core Xeons). These new cpu's allow running an unmodified
OS (eg Windows) in a VM using Xen
Read "Paravirtualization with Xen" from the link above.

Previously, the only way to do this was to use VMware but the overhead
of running an unmodified OS was big, so it was slow and resource
hungry. But now Xen and these new cpu's can run Windows or any OS in a
VM much faster. However, for our purposes it's still not enough. The
servers we setup: LTSP or Windows Terminal Servers are Network I/O
intensive. There is no I/O virtualization, YET. So it's still going to
be sub-optimal. However, AMD has I/O virtualization (called IOMMU)
down the road.
The second gen of cpu virtualization extensions (expected in 2007)
will have I/O virtualization. From my understanding you should be able
to pop in another NIC and assign it to a specific VM (eg your Windows
Terminal Server). That's when this is really going to take off.

Till then the best use for VM's are on a THICK client running Windows.
Just start a VM and PXE boot to start an LTSP session. So you can run
Windows and LTSP on the client at the same time without rebooting.

BTW RHEL 5.0 is supposed to have Xen and virtualization support built
in. Exciting times ahead.
Robert Arkiletian
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada
Fl_TeacherTool http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/Fl_TeacherTool/
C++ GUI tutorial http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/

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