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Posts Tagged ‘vmware’

Oracle releases VirtualBox 3.2

May 20th, 2010 1 comment

With the Sun now set, Oracle has released VirtualBox 3.2 finally ūüôā 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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VirtualBox 3.2.0 Beta 1 Released!

May 3rd, 2010 No comments

Finally downloaded the latest 3.2.0 release of VirtualBox today and gave it ago!

From the forum post for this pre-release.

VirtualBox Version 3.2.0 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
  • 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)
  • 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 (see the manual for more information)
  • USB tablet/keyboard emulation¬†for improved user experience if no Guest Additions are available
  • LsiLogic SAS controller emulation
  • RDP video acceleration
  • NAT engine configuration via API and VBoxManage
  • Guest Additions: added support for¬†executing guest applications¬†from the host system
  • OVF:¬†enhanced OVF¬†support with¬†custom namespace¬†to preserve settings that are not part of the base OVF standard

In addition, the following items were fixed and/or added:

  • VMM: fixed crash with the OpenSUSE 11.3 milestone kernel during early boot (software virtualization only)
  • VMM: fixed OS/2 guest crash with nested paging enabled
  • VMM: fixed Windows 2000 guest crash when configured with a large amount of RAM (bug¬†5800)
  • VMM: fixed massive display performance loss (AMD-V with nested paging only)
  • Linux/Solaris guests: PAM module for automatic logons added
  • GUI: guess the OS type from the OS name when creating a new VM
  • GUI: added VM setting for passing the time in UTC instead of passing the local host time to the guest (bug¬†1310)
  • GUI: fixed seamless mode on secondary monitors (bugs¬†1322 and¬†1669)
  • GUI: added –seamless and –fullscreen command line switches (bug¬†4220)
  • Settings: be more robust when saving the XML settings files
  • Mac OS X: rewrite of the CoreAudio driver and added support for audio input (bug¬†5869)
  • Mac OS X: external VRDP authentication module support (bug¬†3106)
  • Mac OS X: Moved the realtime dock preview settings to the VM settings (no global option anymore). Use the dock menu to configure it.
  • Mac OS X: added the VM menu to the dock menu
  • 3D support: fixed corrupted surface rendering (bug¬†5695)
  • 3D support: fixed VM crashes when using¬†ARB_IMAGING¬†(bug¬†6014)
  • 3D support: fixed assertion when guest applications uses several windows with single OpenGL context (bug¬†4598)
  • 3D support: added¬†GL_ARB_pixel_buffer_object¬†support
  • 3D support: added OpenGL 2.1 support
  • 3D support: fixed Final frame of Compiz animation not updated to the screen (Mac OS X only) (bug¬†4653)
  • Added support for virtual high precision event timer (HPET)
  • LsiLogic: Fixed detection of hard disks attached to port 0 when using the drivers from LSI
  • NAT: fixed ICMP latency (non-Windows hosts only; bug¬†6427)
  • Keyboard/Mouse emulation: fixed handling of simultaneous mouse/keyboard events under certain circumstances (bug¬†5375)
  • Shared folders: fixed issue with copying read-only files (Linux guests only; bug¬†4890)
  • OVF: fixed mapping between two IDE channels in OVF and the one IDE controller in VirtualBox

Bootilicious! Download links are on the site (updated for BETA2).

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VirtualBox 3.1 released!

December 1st, 2009 No comments

Just when you thought you can start a new month without some new software, Sun has blessed the world with a ray of VirtualBox 3.1 goodness on us all! All hail the Sun. I’ve been using the Betas and trying out the spanking awesome Teleportation feature in VirtualBox 3.1. So lets take a bit of a look at the new grub.

Beam me up Scotty!

You know, people say the catch phrase thinking its from Star Trek, but did you know that it was never actually mentioned in any episode?

Teleportation or ‘Live Migration‘ in Xen/KVM¬† or vMotion in VMWare allows you to move a running virtual machine to another host without any downtime. Sun brings us this ‘Enterprise’ feature to VirtualBox. Whats even cooler, is that you can teleport your running VM on different host platforms (Windows -> OpenSolaris or Linux, vice versa) but not from one hardware set (Intel) to another (AMD) unless they both have the same instruction-sets. The transport layer for the teleportation is TCP/IP, so as long as the agreed port is open and accessible you can even teleport it through the tubes! (assuming you have a fast link like those pesky Dutch)

There are a few conditions and caveats as I’ve found. Firstly you must ensure (as you’d expect) the target VM has to have the exact same configuration as the source VM (same RAM, graphics memory, storage, CD/DVD images etc) the other thing is to be weary of the CPUs the host computer has. As long as its between the same generations (different clock speeds are OK) it should work (I tried between a QX6850 -> E6600 but QX6850->AMD X2 4600+ wasn’t so pretty!).

Once you’ve configured the target host to match the source host, time to ask VirtualBox to keep its eyes open for an incoming beam.

VBoxManage modifyvm [VirtualMachineName] --teleporter on --teleporterport [Port]

Then on the source host, send out the beams to initiate the teleportation:

VBoxManage controlvm [VirtualMachineName] teleport --host [TargetIP] --port [Port]

Give it some time to think and if you tried a localhost migration, it should migrate seamlessly ūüôā

Scotty doesn’t know

Scotty doesn’t know about the other little changes, but you will. The new VirtualBox has lots of refinements in the UI. For one, new icons for all the Guest operating systems. The settings window has had a make over and includes ‘optimal settings’ detection.

Windows 2003 VM in VirtualBox 3.1

Windows 2003 VM in VirtualBox 3.1

Here its telling me my Windows 2003 VM should have atleast 20Mb Video Memory assigned to it to work well in full-screen mode. Heading over to the Display options in VirtualBox 3.1 we find that the Video Memory selectors have got little indicators now, as well as the inclusion of 2D Video Acceleration.

Windows 2003 VM - VirtualBox 3.1 Display Settings

Windows 2003 VM - VirtualBox 3.1 Display Settings

Depending how ever many cores you have, it will highlight what you should set as the maximum number of cores available for your VirtualMachine as well as the recommended RAM allocation. This is what I see in my Intel QX6850 development workstation.

VirtualBox 3.1 System Processor Settings

VirtualBox 3.1 System Processor Settings

VirtualBox 3.1 - Motherboard Settings

VirtualBox 3.1 - Motherboard Settings

VirtualBox now also has experimental support for Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) which will eventually replace the aging BIOS bootstrap (which is the default). Well known operating systems that boot via EFI include Windows Vista and Windows 7, Apple OS X and Fedora 11+.

The Storage controls in VirtualBox GUI has also had a bit of a make over. The options to select a disk and a controller have changed, CD/DVD drives can be attached to an arbitrary IDE controller too now!

VirtualBox 3.1 - Storage

VirtualBox 3.1 - Storage

The networking settings GUI in the new VirtualBox has change too, not only that but you can now configure the network interfaces whilst the guest is running – YAY!

VirtualBox 3.1 Network Settings

VirtualBox 3.1 Network Settings

Snapshots are a lot more flexible in this release (much like VMWare’s snapshot feature). Previously you can only restore from the last created snapshot, now any arbitrary snapshot can be restored too or branched off.

For those who use OpenSolaris (like yours truely!) the rewritten USB support (still experimental btw!) should mean we can interact with our USB devices in Solaris Nevada 124 or higher now – I’m running 127 and have USB devices appearing in my VMs.

If those don’t give you any indication on to the pure awesomeness of this release, there was a significant performance improvement for APE & AMD64 guests (VT-x/AMD-V) which will be quite noticeable from what I’ve been told by a college.

As Barack Obama said, tis time for a change..log.

He didn’t say that, I just reused 36 Mafia’s Lolli Lolli. The entire change log appears below from the website.

VirtualBox 3.1.0 (released 2009-11-30)

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

  • Teleportation (aka live migration); migrate a live VM session from one host to another (see the manual for more information)
  • VM states can now be restored from arbitrary snapshots instead of only the last one, and new snapshots can be taken from other snapshots as well (“branched snapshots”; see the manual for more information)
  • 2D video acceleration for Windows guests; use the host video hardware for overlay stretching and color conversion (see the manual for more information)
  • More flexible storage attachments: CD/DVD drives can be attached to an arbitrary IDE controller, and there can be more than one such drive (the manual for more information)
  • The network attachment type can be changed while a VM is running
  • Complete rewrite of experimental USB support for OpenSolaris hosts making use of the latest USB enhancements in Solaris Nevada 124 and higher
  • Significant performance improvements for PAE and AMD64 guests (VT-x and AMD-V only; normal (non-nested) paging)
  • Experimental support for EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface; see the manual for more information)
  • Support for paravirtualized network adapters (virtio-net; see the manual for more information)

In addition, the following items were fixed and/or added:

  • VMM: guest SMP fixes for certain rare cases
  • GUI: snapshots include a screenshot
  • GUI: locked storage media can be unmounted by force
  • GUI: the a log window grabbed all key events from other GUI windows (bug #5291)
  • GUI: allow to disable USB filters (bug #5426)
  • GUI: improved memory slider in the VM settings
  • GUI: the VirtualBox website couldn’t be opened from the help menu (bug #4559)
  • 3D support: major performance improvement in VBO processing
  • 3D support: added GL_EXT_framebuffer_object, GL_EXT_compiled_vertex_array support
  • 3D support: fixed crashes in FarCry, SecondLife, Call of Duty, Unreal Tournament, Eve Online (bugs #2801, #2791)
  • 3D support: fixed graphics corruption in World of Warcraft (#2816)
  • 3D support: fixed Final frame of Compiz animation not updated to the screen (#4653)
  • 3D support: fixed incorrect rendering of non ARGB textures under compiz
  • iSCSI: support iSCSI targets with more than 2TiB capacity
  • VRDP: fixed occasional VRDP server crash (bug #5424)
  • Network: fixed the E1000 emulation for QNX (and probably other) guests (bug #3206)
  • NAT: added host resolver DNS proxy (see the manual for more information)
  • VMDK: fixed incorrectly rejected big images split into 2G pieces (bug #5523, #2787)
  • VMDK: fixed compatibility issue with fixed or raw disk VMDK files (bug #2723)
  • VHD: fixed incompatibility with Hyper-V
  • Support for Parallels version 2 disk image (HDD) files; see the manual for more information
  • OVF: create manifest files on export and verify the content of an optional manifest file on import
  • OVF: fixed memory setting during import (bug #4188)
  • Mouse device: now five buttons are passed to the guest (bug #3773)
  • VBoxHeadless: fixed loss of saved state when VM fails to start
  • VBoxSDL: fixed crash during shutdown (Windows hosts only)
  • X11 based hosts: allow the user to specify their own scan code layout (bug #2302)
  • Mac OS X hosts: don’t auto show the menu and dock in fullscreen (bug #4866)
  • Mac OS X hosts (64 bit): don’t interpret mouse wheel events as left click (bug #5049)
  • Mac OS X hosts: fixed a VM abort during shutdown under certain conditions
  • Solaris hosts: combined the kernel interface package into the VirtualBox main package
  • Solaris hosts: support for OpenSolaris Boomer architecture (with OSS audio backend).
  • Shared folders: VBOXSVR is visible in Network folder (Windows guests, bug #4842)
  • Shared folders: performance improvements (Windows guests, bug #1728)
  • Windows, Linux and Solaris Additions: added balloon tip notifier if VirtualBox host version was updated and Additions are out of date
  • Solaris guests: fixed keyboard emulation (bug #1589)
  • Solaris Additions: fixed as_pagelock() failed errors affecting guest properties (bug #5337)
  • Windows Additions: added automatic logon support for Windows Vista and Windows 7
  • Windows Additions: improved file version lookup for guest OS information
  • Windows Additions: fixed runtime OS detection on Windows 7 for session information
  • Windows Additions: fixed crash in seamless mode (contributed by Huihong Luo)
  • Linux Additions: added support for uninstalling the Linux Guest Additions (bug #4039)
  • Linux guest shared folders: allow mounting a shared folder if a file of the same name as the folder exists in the current directory (bug #928)
  • SDK: added object-oriented web service bindings for PHP5

Overall this is a solid new release from Sun – unsure about its stability as I’ve only been running a few VMs (Windows 2003, CentOS and Fedora 12) for about 10-12hrs. Nothing bad as yet.

Download from the VirtualBox site:

  • VirtualBox 3.1.0 for Windows hosts x86/amd64
  • VirtualBox 3.1.0 for Solaris and OpenSolaris hosts x86/amd64

Enjoy!

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VirtualBox 3.0.12 released!

November 18th, 2009 No comments

VirtualBox 3.0.12 has been released.

VirtualBox 3.0.12 (released 2009-11-17)

This is a maintenance release. The following items were fixed and/or added:

  • VMM: reduced IO-APIC overhead for 32 bits Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 guests; requires 64 bits support (VT-x only; bug #4392)
  • VMM: fixed double timer interrupt delivery on old Linux kernels using IO-APIC (caused guest time to run at double speed; bug #3135)
  • VMM: reinitialize VT-x and AMD-V after host suspend or hibernate; some BIOSes forget this (Windows hosts only; bug #5421)
  • VMM: fix loading of saved state when RAM preallocation is enabled
  • BIOS: ignore unknown shutdown codes instead of causing a guru meditation (bug #5389)
  • GUI: never start a VM on a single click into the selector window (bug #2676)
  • Serial: reduce the probability of lost bytes if the host end is connected to a raw file
  • VMDK: fix handling of split image variants and fix a 3.0.10 regression (bug #5355)
  • VRDP: fixed occasional VRDP server crash
  • Network: even if the virtual network cable was disconnected, some guests were able to send / receive packets (E1000; bug #5366)
  • Network: even if the virtual network cable was disconnected, the PCNet card received some spurious packets which might confuse the guest (bug #4496)
  • Shared folders: fixed changing case of file names (bug #2520)
  • Windows Additions: fix crash in seamless mode (contributed by Huihong Luo)
  • Linux Additions: fix writing to files opened in O_APPEND mode (bug #3805)
  • Solaris Additions: fix regression in guest additions driver which among other things caused lost guest property updates and periodic error messages being written to the system log

Download it from the Sun VirtualBox download page.

  • VirtualBox 3.0.12 for Windows hosts x86/amd64
  • VirtualBox 3.0.12 for Solaris and OpenSolaris hosts x86/amd64

Woot!

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Part I: Rebuilding ZEUS, the journey of training the next home server

October 6th, 2009 No comments

I’ve been looking at upgrading our existing home server from the archaic (and unsupported!) Ubuntu Gutsy (because I was feeling gutsy at the time) to something newer, fresher and that will last me atleast another 2 years. This is purely for my documentation.

Current Setup

Currently running an AMD setup with Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10) – I didn’t think it would last this long, honest! Ubuntu 6.06 had too many issues with the hardware/driver incompatibilities.

DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu
DISTRIB_RELEASE=7.10
DISTRIB_CODENAME=gutsy
DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 7.10"

On an ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard (because you know, servers need SLI!) sporting a AMD Athlon64 3200+ (the only AMD CPU at home!) with 2Gb of RAM (hey, DDR1 wasn’t cheap enough!)

lspci

00:00.0 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation CK804 Memory Controller (rev a3)
00:01.0 ISA bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 ISA Bridge (rev f3)
00:01.1 SMBus: nVidia Corporation CK804 SMBus (rev a2)
00:02.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation CK804 USB Controller (rev a2)
00:02.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation CK804 USB Controller (rev a3)
00:04.0 Multimedia audio controller: nVidia Corporation CK804 AC'97 Audio Controller (rev a2)
00:06.0 IDE interface: nVidia Corporation CK804 IDE (rev f2)
00:07.0 IDE interface: nVidia Corporation CK804 Serial ATA Controller (rev f3)
00:08.0 IDE interface: nVidia Corporation CK804 Serial ATA Controller (rev f3)
00:09.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 PCI Bridge (rev f2)
00:0a.0 Bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 Ethernet Controller (rev f3)
00:0b.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 PCIE Bridge (rev f3)
00:0c.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 PCIE Bridge (rev f3)
00:0d.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 PCIE Bridge (rev f3)
00:0e.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation CK804 PCIE Bridge (rev a3)
00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G70 [GeForce 7300 GT] (rev a1)
05:06.0 RAID bus controller: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3114 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller (rev 02)
05:07.0 RAID bus controller: Silicon Image, Inc. Adaptec AAR-1210SA SATA HostRAID Controller (rev 02)
05:0a.0 RAID bus controller: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3114 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller (rev 02)
05:0b.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments TSB43AB22/A IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link)
05:0c.0 Ethernet controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8001 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 13)

/proc/cpuinfo

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 15
model           : 47
model name      : AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3200+
stepping        : 2
cpu MHz         : 1000.000
cache size      : 512 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 1
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt lm 3dnowext 3dnow up pni lahf_lm ts fid vid ttp tm stc
bogomips        : 2011.59
clflush size    : 64

This faithful boxen has been the primary source of our fileserver (XFS+LVM 3Tb) – used internal to our house and also by others who upload their stuff to be backed up. Subversion repositories, Apache/LightHttpd test servers for PHP work, Virtualisation for Windows 2003, 2000 and SqlServers running for testing and several other things (think: TeamCity, Continous Integration tools, Confluence etc). Its also been damn convenient when your at work or on holidays to be able to login, muse about via SSH and even fix things remotely.

Needs & Wants

The new server will need to fufil the following roles:

  • Function as a NAS to continue to offer backup (via users home directories) and storage options
    • No file-system constraints asside from no Ext3 or ReiserFS.
  • Offer the ability to still run Virtual Machines, need to virtualise CentOS, Ubuntu and Windows for testing, they’ll be running in¬† Bridged mode
  • No real need for a Gui (I can consider myself a little l33t than a few years ago)
  • Run a Subversion repository (not that hard!)

The idea is to have a bare bones operating system install and have the virtual machines handle the hard and ugly work – webservers to test things, servers to try development deployments (java) and other bits and pieces. The core OS just has to manage the NAS and allow the ability to SSH in to offer subversion access.

Hardware

The hardware I’ve picked from things I had around the place, the only thing I’ve bought is just new sticks of RAM.

  • Motherboard: ASUS P5QL-PRO
    This board offered some excellent specifications via the P43 chipset, the things I looked for was the number of SATA ports ‘out of the box’ – 6 native SATA2, the number of 1x PCIe slots (2!) for future addions of PCIe SATA adapters and the maximum amount of memory possible (8Gb). Oh ofcourse, something cheapy and that can run the CPU I had around. A Gigabit NIC was also important (dual would be better!) but if it wasn’t supported I had a trusty Intel PRO 1000MT Server PCI cards to fill the void – almost everything supports them (e1000)!
  • CPU: Intel Core-2 E6750 – 2.66Ghz (65W TDP, VT)
    Importance was Intel-VT support, low TDP and a dualcore thats not too high.
  • RAM: Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C5 (4Gb kit x 2 = 8Gb)
    Cheapy cheapy, twice the fun of a regular kit, slightly higher CAS, but who CAreS this isnt being overclocked.
  • Graphics: ASUS 9400GT PCI-Express
    The cheapest graphics card to be found at the legendary& award winning computer store MSY Technologies. Depending on how the drivers go (I’m usually biased towards ATI for all Linuxes) I might endup paying for a ATi card later.

Next up the investigation, be warned though I started this initially back in June/July (possibly a bit earlier).

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VirtualBox 3.0.2 released with SMP and Network IO fixes

July 13th, 2009 No comments

Quick note about VirtualBox 3.0.2 being released, this fixes up two critcal problems – one is the poor SMP performance everyone is coming to realise, and the network IO issue (reproduced in Fedora for

  • VMM: fixed network regressions (guest hangs during network IO) (bug #4343)
  • VMM: guest SMP performance improvements
  • VMM: fixed hangs and poor performance with Kaspersky Internet Security (VT-x/AMD-V only; bug #1778)
  • VMM: fixed crashes when executing certain Linux guests (software virtualization only; bugs #2696 & #3868)
  • ACPI: fixed Windows 2000 kernel hangs with IO-APIC enabled (bug #4348)
  • APIC: fixed high idle load for certain Linux guests (3.0 regression)
  • BIOS: properly handle Ctrl-Alt-Del in real mode
  • iSCSI: fixed configuration parsing (bug #4236)
  • OVF: fix potential confusion when exporting networks
  • OVF: compatibility fix (bug #4452)
  • NAT: fixed crashes under certain circumstances (bug #4330)
  • 3D support: fixed dynamic linking on Solaris/OpenSolaris guests (bug #4399)
  • 3D support: fixed incorrect context/window tracking for multithreaded apps
  • Shared Folders: fixed loading from saved state (bug #1595)
  • Shared Folders: host file permissions set to 0400 with Windows guest (bug #4381)
  • X11 host and guest clipboard: fixed a number of issues, including bug #4380 and #4344
  • X11 Additions: fixed some issues with seamless windows in X11 guests (bug #3727)
  • Windows Additions: added VBoxServiceNT for NT4 guests (for time synchronization and guest properties)
  • Windows Additions: fixed version lookup
  • Linux hosts: workaround for buggy graphics drivers showing a black VM window on recent distributions (bug #4335)
  • Linux hosts: fixed typo in kernel module startup script (bug #4388)
  • Installer: support Pardus Linux
  • Solaris hosts: several installer fixes
  • Solaris host: fixed a preemption issue causing VMs to never start on Solaris 10 (bug #4328).
  • Solaris guest: fixed mouse integration for OpenSolaris 2009.06 (bug #4365)
  • Windows hosts: fixed high CPU usage after resuming the host (bug #2978)
  • OVF: accept ovf:/disk/ specifiers with a single slash in addition to ovf://disk/ (bug #4452)
  • Fixed a settings file conversion bug which sometimes caused hardware acceleration to be enabled for virtual machines that had no explicit configuration in the XML.

Download links:

  • VirtualBox 3.0.2 for Windows hosts x86/amd64
  • VirtualBox 3.0.2 for Solaris and OpenSolaris hosts x86/amd64
  • VirtualBox 3.0.2 Software Developer Kit (SDK) All platforms (registration required)

I’ve been running it all day at work today without issues.

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Time flies: VirtualBox 3.0 final is out!

July 1st, 2009 No comments

It only feels like last week that I mentioned the beta release of VirtualBox 3.0, Sun has released the final version of the much anticipated v3.0!

As mentioned earlier, this release is super exciting for the simple fact that it has SMP support – a maximum of 32 virtual CPUs (but relax, you shouldn’t assign more than what you can afford – or the number of cores you have!). VMWare still only supports a maximum of 2 virtual-cpus (this _may_ change in VMWare 7.0!), another feat is the hardware 3D (Direct3D/OpenGL)¬† support for guests.

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

  • Guest SMP with up to 32 virtual CPUs (VT-x and AMD-V only; see chapter 3.7.2.2 of the user manual)
  • Windows guests: ability to use Direct3D 8/9 applications / games (experimental; see chapter 4.8 of the user manual)
  • Support for OpenGL 2.0 for Windows, Linux and Solaris guests

In addition, the following items were ?xed and/or added:

  • Solaris hosts: allow suspend/resume on the host when a VM is running (bug #3826)
  • Solaris hosts: loosen the restriction for contiguous physical memory under certain conditions
  • Mac OS X hosts: ?xed guest PAE
  • Linux hosts: kernel module compile ?xes for 2.6.31 (bug #4264)
  • VMM: ?xed occasional guru meditation when loading a saved state (VT-x only)
  • VMM: eliminated IO-APIC overhead with 32 bits guests (VT-x only, some Intel CPUs don‚Äôt support this feature (most do); bug #638)
  • VMM: ?xed 64 bits CentOS guest hangs during early boot (AMD-V only; bug #3927)
  • VMM: performance improvements for certain PAE guests (e.g. Linux 2.6.29+ kernels)
  • VMM: some Windows guests detected a completely wrong CPU frequency (bug #2227)
  • VMM: ?xed hanging and unkillable VM processes (bug #4040)
  • VMM: ?xed random infrequent guest crashes due to XMM state corruption (Win64 hosts only)
  • VMM: performance improvements for network I/O (VT-x/AMD-V only)
  • GUI: added mini toolbar for fullscreen and seamless mode (Thanks to Huihong Luo)
  • GUI: redesigned settings dialogs
  • GUI: allow to create/remove more than one host-only network adapters (non Windows hosts)
  • GUI: display estimated time for long running operations (e.g. OVF import/export)
  • GUI: ?xed rare hangs when open the OVF import/export wizards (bug #4157)
  • 3D support: ?xed VM crashes for client applications using incorrect OpenGL states
  • 3D support: ?xed memory corruption when querying for supported texture compression formats
  • 3D support: ?xed incorrect rendering of glDrawRangeElements
  • 3D support: ?xed memory leak when using VBOs
  • 3D support: ?xed glew library detection
  • 3D support: ?xed random textures corruption
  • VRDP: support Windows 7 RDP client
  • Networking: ?xed another problem with TX checksum of?oading with Linux kernels up to version 2.6.18
  • NAT: ?xed ‚Äúopen ports on virtual router 10.0.2.2 – 513, 514‚ÄĚ (forum)
  • NAT: allow to con?gure socket and internal parameters
  • NAT: allow to bind sockets to speci?c interface
  • PXE boot: signi?cant performance increase (VT-x/AMD-V only)
  • VHD: properly write empty sectors when cloning of VHD images (bug #4080)
  • VHD: ?xed crash when discarding snapshots of a VHD image
  • VHD: ?xed access beyond the block bitmap which could lead to arbitrary crashes
  • VBoxManage: ?xed incorrect partition table processing when creating VMDK ?les giving raw partition access (bug #3510)
  • VBoxManage: support cloning to existing image ?le
  • OVF: several OVF 1.0 compatibility ?xes
  • OVF: ?xed exporting of disk images when multiple virtual machines are exported at once
  • Virtual mouse device: eliminated micro-movements of the virtual mouse which were confusing some applications (bug #3782)
  • Shared Folders: sometimes a ?le was created using the wrong permissions (2.2.0 regression; bug #3785)
  • Shared Folders: allow to change ?le attributes from Linux guests and use the correct ?le mode when creating ?les
  • Shared Folders: some content was incorrectly written under certain conditions (bug #1187)
  • Shared Folders: ?xed incorrect ?le timestamps, when using Windows guest on a Linux host (bug #3404)
  • X11 clipboard: ?x duplicate end of lines (bug #4270)
  • X11 guests: a number of shared clipboard ?xes
  • Linux guests: Guest Additions support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11
  • Linux guests: new daemon vboxadd-service to handle time synchronization and guest property lookup
  • Linux guests: implemented guest properties (OS info, logged in users, basic network information)
  • Windows host installer: VirtualBox Python API can now be installed automatically (requires Python and Win32 Extensions installed)
  • USB: Support for high-speed isochronous endpoints has been added. In addition, read-ahead buffering is performed for input endpoints (currently Linux hosts only). This should allow additional devices to work, notably webcams (bug #242).
  • USB: ?xed error handling for some USB dongles
  • Web service: ?xed inability to handle NULL pointers for object arguments, which are valid values for a lot of APIs, in both the raw and the object-oriented web service.
  • Web service: object-oriented bindings for JAX-WS did not exhibit interface inheritance correctly, ?xed
  • Web service: added support for IDisplay and IGuest interfaces, which were previously unavailable
  • Registration dialog uses Sun Online accounts now

Why keep reading, upgrade dammit!

  • VirtualBox 3.0.0 for Windows hosts x86/amd64
  • VirtualBox 3.0.0 for Solaris and OpenSolaris hosts x86/amd64
  • VirtualBox 3.0.0 Software Developer Kit (SDK) All platforms (registration required)

Enjoy, see the manual online too!

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Citrix gives away XenServer & Enterprise Tools for Free!

February 24th, 2009 1 comment

A quick note before I head to bed tonight, Citrix has decided to give away its OSS XenSource virtualisation platform for free…

If you’re reading this, you already know the news: XenServer, our enterprise virtual infrastructure platform is now free (including resource pooling and live relo), and we have announced Citrix Essentials for XenServer, and Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V as our virtualization management portfolio that offers a rich set of automated functions that drive the compatible virtualization layers beneath – the free Hyper-V hypervisor from Microsoft, and the free XenServer Enterprise virtual infrastructure platform from Citrix.¬† Finally, and most importanly, we announced a powerful go-to-market roadmap with Microsoft.

The eqivalent of Citrix’s XenMotion – which can migrate a live virtual machine to any other XenServer host running in the same resource pool without downtime – in the VMWare world is a pretty $4-6K investment. Not a bad move considering VMWare is about to do its VMWorld Europe 2009 show soon.

From the product site, a direct comparison:

Features included at no cost Citrix XenServer VMware ESXi
Bare-metal hypervisor 64-bit 32-bit
Max virtual CPUs 8 4
Windows¬ģ and Linux guests
Unlimited servers, VMs, memory
P2V & V2V conversion
Shared SAN and NAS storage
Centralized multi-server management
Resilient distributed management architecture
Live motion
Shared VM template library
Centralized configuration management
Virtual infrastructure patch management
Intelligent initial VM placement
Intelligent server maintenance mode
Fine-grained CPU resource controls
Hot-swappable disks and NICs

Virualization.info has an interesting look at the move and what it may mean. Otherwise, go grab your copy.

Direct download links appear below:

Base Installer [296Mb] (MD5)
Linux Guest Support Installer [245Mb] (MD5)
XenCenter for Windows [6Mb] (MD5)

Enjoy!

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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 ūüôā

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‚Äôs 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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VWMare Fusion 2.0 out, comes with *FREE* McAfee Virus Scan to protect your Windoze…

September 17th, 2008 No comments

VMWare just released Fusion 2.0 which is a free update for 1.x users of the fruity OS, among the enhancements…

  • Greatly improved 3D performance and compatibility with DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 2 software and games. (VMware Fusion runs best with the latest graphics hardware, like the NVIDIA 8800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 2600, and ATI Radeon HD 3870.)
  • When playing high-definition video (720p, 1080i, 1080p) in a Windows XP or Windows Vista virtual machine, VMware Fusion now uses hardware acceleration for smooth video playback

Which is quite a feat, whilst I’m not a Fusion user – No Apple, It just Works!!! – it seems the Fusion Hypervisor is doing some serious legwork now. Whats more (heh) VMWare even ‘collaborated’ with McAfee to give those Apple users a little something something for their Windoze experience:

Virus Protection and Firewall Included for Windows XP and Vista Virtual Machines

  • To keep your Windows-on-Mac experience as safe as possible, VMware Fusion includes a complimentary 12-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus to protect your Windows investment

Funny.

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