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Posts Tagged ‘vm’

Oracle releases VirtualBox 3.2

May 20th, 2010 1 comment

With the Sun now set, Oracle has released VirtualBox 3.2 finally 🙂 In particular some lovely optimisations for the newer Intel Core i5/i7 processors, Large  Page support (which helps significantly on Windows x64 and Linux) as well as a very welcome optimisation on the networking in VirtualBox as well as multi-monitor support for Windows Guests. Whats more RDP sessions are now accelerated (VRDP).

Amongst the changes from the changelog:

This version is a major update. The following major new features were added:

  • Following the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation, the product is now called Oracle VM VirtualBox and all references were changed without impacting compatibility
  • Experimental support for Mac OS X guests (see the manual for more information)
  • Memory ballooning to dynamically in- or decrease the amount of RAM used by a VM (64-bit hosts only) (see the manual for more information)
  • Page Fusion automatically de-duplicates RAM when running similar VMs thereby increasing capacity. Currently supported for Windows guests on 64-bit hosts (see the manual for more information)
  • CPU hot-plugging for Linux (hot-add and hot-remove) and certain Windows guests (hot-add only) (see the manual for more information)
  • New Hypervisor features: with both VT-x/AMD-V on 64-bit hosts, using large pages can improve performance (see the manual for more information); also, on VT-x, unrestricted guest execution is now supported (if nested paging is enabled with VT-x, real mode and protected mode without paging code runs faster, which mainly speeds up guest OS booting)
  • Support for deleting snapshots while the VM is running
  • Support for multi-monitor guest setups in the GUI for Windows guests (see the manual for more information)
  • USB tablet/keyboard emulation for improved user experience if no Guest Additions are available (see the manual for more information).
  • LsiLogic SAS controller emulation (see the manual for more information)
  • RDP video acceleration (see the manual for more information)
  • NAT engine configuration via API and VBoxManage
  • Use of host I/O cache is now configurable (see the manual for more information)
  • Guest Additions: added support for executing guest applications from the host system (replaces the automatic system presimparation feature; see the manual for more information)

Download from VirtualBox or get the Windows build. I’m really hoping the good Oracle keeps VirtualBox open, this is one kickass bit of kit.

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Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta Download

January 11th, 2009 1 comment

Now that the road to downloading Windows 7 Beta 1 and finding a key for Windows 7 Beta 1 have been travelled by most, its time to look towards Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta.

This release contains some significant updates to the virtualisation hypervisor in Windows Server (Hyper-Vwiki) and will only be offered as a 64-bit release sporting 256 processors (with 32 processors in VMs).

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Sun ushers in VirtualBox 2.1 with cool new features!

December 18th, 2008 2 comments

VirtualBoxIt only feels like last month Sun released VirtualBox 2.0 and they’ve just released 2.1 which brings a plethora of additional goodies… from the changelog:

  • Support for hardware virtualization (VT-x and AMD-V) on Mac OS X hosts
  • Support for 64-bit guests on 32-bit host operating systems (experimental; see user manual, chapter 1.6, 64-bit guests, page 16)
  • Added support for Intel Nehalem virtualization enhancements (EPT and VPID; see user manual, chapter 1.2, Software vs. hardware virtualization (VT-x and AMD-V), page 10))
  • Experimental 3D acceleration via OpenGL (see user manual, chapter 4.8, Hardware 3D acceleration (OpenGL), page 66)
  • Experimental LsiLogic and BusLogic SCSI controllers (see user manual, chapter 5.1, Hard disk controllers: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, page 70)
  • Full VMDK/VHD support including snapshots (see user manual, chapter 5.2, Disk image ?les (VDI, VMDK, VHD), page 72)
  • New NAT engine with signi?cantly better performance, reliability and ICMP echo (ping) support (bugs #1046, #2438, #2223, #1247)
  • New Host Interface Networking implementations for Windows and Linux hosts with easier setup (replaces TUN/TAP on Linux and manual bridging on Windows)

Some key things to note here, those “cool” people that run OS X can now get hardware virtualisation. Even if you have a 32bit host operating system your able to run 64bit hosts so long as you enable hardware acceleration on the CPU (AMD-V or Intel-VT) as VirtualBox’s Hypervisor requires this to work. A couple of other major additions – tested personally, include the enhanced virtualisation on the new Nahalem processors (Extended Page Table & Virtual Processor Identifier – see below) and the starting block for OpenGL (and later DirectX) Acceleration in XP and Vista. Testing this on OpenGL gave some decent performance though its still got a bit of work to do.

The move to include 3D acceleration is an interesting one, considering VMWare recently acquired Tungsten Graphics – who is the company behind Mesa, TTM memory manager and Gallium3D.  Interesting times ahead – as always 🙂

What’s an Extendable Page Table & that VPID thing???

Virtualisation in the Intel world comes in two flavours, the Intel VT-x and Intel VT-i Architectures. The VT-x is for IA-32 processors, whilst the VT-i is for Itanium processors.

Intel took a slice of the Virtualisation pie offered by AMD’s Pacifier architecture in implementing a method of translating ordinary IA-32 page tables from the guest-physical addresses to the host-physical addresses used to access memory. This way, guest’s can handle their own page tables directly and page-faults associated with them directly and minimize the (sizable) overhead associated with translating. This is known as Extended Page Tables (EPT).

Virtual Processor Identifiers (VPIDs) on the other hand allows a hypervisor (or a VMM) to assign a non-zero VPID to each virtual processor with the initial processor (VPID = 0) assigned to the hypervisor itself. This way, the CPU can use the VPIDs to tag translations in the Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB) which removes the performance penalties associated with flushing TLBs on VM Entry and exit.

Both these two bits of technology (along with NMI-window exiting)  come on the Nahelem processor‘s Virtualisation enhancments. If your interested in a more indepth explanation see the article Solving Virtualisation Challenges with VT-X and VT-I from the Intel Technology Journal.

Other Changes in 2.1

  • VMM: signi?cant performance improvements for VT-x (real mode execution)
  • VMM: support for hardware breakpoints (VT-x and AMD-V only; bug #477)
  • VMM: VGA performance improvements for VT-x and AMD-V
  • VMM: Solaris and OpenSolaris guest performance improvements for AMD-V (Barcelona family CPUs only)
  • VMM: ?xed guru meditation while running the Dr. Web virus scanner (software virtualization only; bug #1439)
  • VMM: deactivate VT-x and AMD-V when the host machine goes into suspend mode; reactivate when the host machine resumes (Windows, Mac OS X & Linux hosts; bug #1660)
  • VMM: ?xed guest hangs when restoring VT-x or AMD-V saved states/snapshots
  • VMM: ?xed guru meditation when executing a one byte debug instruction (VT-x only; bug #2617)
  • VMM: ?xed guru meditation for PAE guests on non-PAE hosts (VT-x)
  • VMM: disallow mixing of software and hardware virtualization execution in general (bug #2404)
  • VMM: ?xed black screen when booting OS/2 1.x (AMD-V only)
  • GUI: pause running VMs when the host machine goes into suspend mode (Windows & Mac OS X hosts)
  • GUI: resume previously paused VMs when the host machine resumes after suspend (Windows & Mac OS X hosts)
  • GUI: save the state of running or paused VMs when the host machine’s battery reaches critical level (Windows hosts)
  • GUI: properly restore the position of the selector window when running on the compiz window manager
  • GUI: properly restore the VM in seamless mode (2.0 regression)
  • GUI: warn user about non optimal memory settings
  • GUI: structure operating system list according to family and version for improved usability
  • GUI: prede?ned settings for QNX guests
  • IDE: improved ATAPI passthrough support
  • Networking: added support for up to 8 Ethernet adapters per VM
  • Networking: ?xed issue where a VM could lose connectivity after a reboot
  • iSCSI: allow snapshot/diff creation using local VDI ?le
  • iSCSI: improved interoperability with iSCSI targets
  • Graphics: ?xed handling of a guest video memory which is not a power of two (bug #2724)
  • VBoxManage: ?xed bug which prevented setting up the serial port for direct device access.
  • VBoxManage: added support for VMDK and VHD image creation
  • VBoxManage: added support for image conversion (VDI/VMDK/VHD/RAW)
  • Solaris hosts: added IPv6 support between host and guest when using host interface networking
  • Mac OS X hosts: added ACPI host power status reporting
  • API: redesigned storage model with better generalization
  • API: allow attaching a hard disk to more than one VM at a time
  • API: added methods to return network con?guration information of the host system
  • Shared Folders: performance and stability ?xes for Windows guests (Microsoft Of?ce Applications)

Performance & Updates

Overall, on the two different machines that I’ve tried the new 2.1 release on, they’ve both “felt” snappier (QX6850 and a Core i7 965Earchitecture summary) but unlike the 1.6 release – which was somewhat flakey for me, 2.x releases of VirtualBox are solid.

3D Acceleration Option

Dont take my word for it, download and try it out.

Gets me a VirtualBox 2.1

Grab your copy and try it out.

  • VirtualBox 2.1.0 for Windows hosts x86 | AMD64
  • VirtualBox 2.1.0 for Solaris and OpenSolaris hosts x86 | AMD64

Give it a shot, heck try OpenSolaris 2008.11 on there just for kicks!

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Breaking News: BD+ Broken

November 2nd, 2008 1 comment

BD+ is the DRM system for Blu-ray discs, as Wikipedia puts it:

BD+ is a component of the Blu-ray Disc Digital Rights Management system. It was developed by Cryptography Research Inc. and is based on their Self-Protecting Digital Content concept. BD+ played an important role in the past format war of Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. Several studios have cited Blu-ray Disc’s adoption of the BD+ anti-copying system as the reason they supported Blu-ray Disc over HD DVD.

One of the more humorous observations was that unlike DVD (which used DeCSS for its copy protection system) and AACS which powered the bulk of the HD-DVDs of the time that BD+ would uphold its protection for atleast the next 10 years. This may have been one of the key factors in the HD-Wars, but alas it seems someone  has found a way of traveling into the future and finding the break.

Oopho2ei (who claims is not a professional programmer :O) from the Doom9 forums along with a few others (bmnot, schluppo, Disabled, evdberg) have (it seems) successfully broken the BD+ protection scheme in a grand total of 5 weeks and 3 days (started on the 24th of August). They have restored the BD+ protected “The Day After Tomorrow”:

I am glad to announce the first successful restoration of the BD+ protected movie “The Day After Tomorrow” in linux. It was done using a blue ray drive with patched firmware (to get the volume id), DumpHD to decrypt the contents according to the AACS specification and the BDVM debugger from this thread to generate the conversion table. The conversion table is the key information to successfully repair all the broken parts in m2ts files to restore the original video content. This small tool was finally used to repair the main movie file “00001.m2ts” according to the conversion table.

To verify the correctness i compared my 00001.m2ts with the one AnyDVD-HD creates and they both match. The MD5 hash of this 30GB large file is in both cases “0fa2bc65c25d7087a198a61c693a0a72”.

Breaking the code is no simple feat, Oopho2ei and team has had to reimplement the VM that runs the BD+ protection layer and realises that there’s a fair chance that it could be blocked at a later stage and may phone-home:

There has to be some kind of firewall around the virtual machine which validates all communication between the ( potentially hostile ) content code and the outside world (traps and events). Part of the rules which are enforced by that firewall are the parameter checks on every trap call. It’s obvious that the traps and the event handling itself has to be carefully implemented. I believe this additional effort is necessary to prevent the content code from breaking out of it’s sandboxed environment and do nasty things like gathering user information and “calling home” when it detects an unlicensed emulator. So because these additional security measures make things more difficult i suggested to test this code first with the easy traps.

Even a guy from SlySoft (who makes the ever popular AnyDVD-HD product) chimes in early on but backs off after realising he could well get the sacker.

I’ll just say: due to certain properties of BD+, once you’re past a certain point, you can handle it pretty much without reversing – BD+ itself then helps you out – on any player

Actually you’d have to know how BD+ really works, to know what I meant (and even then you probably wouldn’t ).
But if I start unraveling that, I’d be finding myself looking for a new job by next week

Love this bit in one of Oopho2ei posts:

I would like to stress again that this project wasn’t intended to circumvent copy protection and promote piracy. This can already be done using commercial software like AnyDVD-HD. Instead this project was an attempt to enable users of open source operating systems (like linux) to playback their BD+ protected discs without having to use proprietary software. Furthermore only two movies “I Robot” and “The Day After Tomorrow” have been proven to be handled correctly so far. Obviously there is still a lot of debugging to be done.

Classy! Download a copy of the BDVmDbg build for educational reasons and try PortableBDVM which comes in C99 source form.

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