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VM Bulletin 2001

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Linux software company signs deals - Tech News -

SWsoft, a VMware competitor whose software lets a single Intel server run 10 to 200 instances of Linux, has signed deals to sell its product in conjunction with Dell Computer and IBM servers, the company said Tuesday. The Magnum-SC servers include SWsoft's Virtuozzo software installed on IBM or Dell servers with as many as eight processors.

Prices range from $10,000, for models that can host up to 10 Linux servers and are based on IBM's x330 or Dell's PowerEdge 1650, to $50,000, for a model using the x360 or PowerEdge 6650 and hosting up to 25 servers. The company didn't release pricing for a top-end version for hosting 50 Linux servers, based on a PowerEdge 8450 or x370.

SWsoft HSPcomplete - Hosting Automation Solution for the Hosting Service Providers

Virtuozzo is the most advanced multitenancy, virtualization, resource management and clustering technology available. Can be licensed and integrated into your solution through an OEM license arrangement. More...

VMware, NSA working to protect classified data VMware and the U.S. National Security Agency have teamed to research and develop new technology that they say could make it easier and less expensive to protect highly classified information.

NewsForge GPL Linux virtual machines and virtual machine clustering

GPL Linux virtual machines and virtual machine clustering
Tuesday January 22, 04:39 AM EST    [ GNU/Linux ]
- By Grant Gross -
Last week I wrote a roundup of the virtual machine-like technology available for Linux, and an alert reader pointed out the User-mode Linux project.

Think of User-mode Linux (UML), a modification to the Linux kernel that's released under the GNU General Public License, as a cross between the VMware workstation product that allows users to run Linux and Windows side-by-side and larger virtual machine-type products that allow dozens of Linux copies to run on one server. Jeff Dike, leader of the project, says users have reported running as many as 50 virtual machines on one piece of hardware.

Here's Dike's description of a virtual machine, probably better than I can explain it, from an article published in Linux Magazine: "(Virtual machines) offer the ability to partition the resources of a large machine between a large number of users in such a way that those users can't interfere with one another. Each user gets a virtual machine running a separate operating system with a certain amount of resources assigned to it. Getting more memory, disks, or processors is a matter of changing a configuration, which is far easier than buying and physically installing the equivalent hardware."

UML isn't the only Open Source project working on virtual machines or related technology. There are a couple of other projects released under the GNU GPL, unlike the mostly commercial and proprietary VM technologies I featured in the first article. Among the Open Source alternatives:

  • The FreeVSD project and its commercial counterpart Idaya market a Web-hosting platform that allow multiple virtual servers to be created on a single hosting server. The FreeVSD project's goals include this one: "To establish and support FreeVSD as the standard for global Web hosting whilst keeping it free from the constrictions and limitations of closed source software." Idaya offers ProVSD, while version 1.4.9 of FreeVSD is available for download here.


  • The Plex86 project has the goal of creating "an extensible open source PC virtualization software program which will allow PC and workstation users to run multiple operating systems concurrently on the same machine." This allows users to run Wndows software in Linux, much like VMware's workstation product. It's being developed under the LGPL.


  • The vserver project works within the Linux kernel to allow users to "run general purpose virtual servers on one box, full speed," according to project leader Jacques Gelinas. Vserver is also released under the GNU GPL.

    I asked UML's Dike about his progress on the project and what's next for it. One interesting idea he has is to use UML for clustering, a concept it took me a while to get my head around. Our email conversation follows. For more information, check out the project's extensive Web site, which includes case studies of UML being used in the real world, a list of uses for UML and screen shots of UML in action

  • LinuxTicker - Feature Emulating a complete PC with VMware

    VMware has become famous since it allows you to run other operating systems like MS-Windows on your linux desktop. Rado has written a short review about this PC emulator for those who still did not check out the free demo. Also he has interviewed Reza Malekzadeh, the director of marketing at VMware. Interview Mendel Rosenblum of VMware [Feb. 18, 2000]

    David Sims: How is that handled? Is the virtual machine an application that's running these operating systems?

    Rosenblum: Well, we have sort of a unique architecture where we're both an application and what is technically referred to as a virtual machine monitor which is like a special type of operating system. So, when we run one of the additional operating systems you add to your machine, we're actually running in the most privileged mode of the processor and have control of all the hardware on the machine. So, in that sense, you know, we're an operating system that just happens to allow other operating systems to run on top of them. So, we also have a mode in which we run in which we appear to the user as just a normal application running on one of the operating systems. That makes it a lot easier for the user to interact and makes it a lot easier to install and configure us. You download our product on say NT and it installs like using an install shield like any other application. So, the answer is we're kind of both, an application and an operating system.

    Sims: I think the analogy that more people have heard of VMWare or would be familiar with would be running PC applications, something like PC soft on the Macintosh.

    Rosenblum: Right.

    Sims: Is it similar technology?

    Rosenblum: Well it appears similar in that you can have it appear like an application that runs a PC application and PC operating system, but the technology is actually very different.

    Because we're running on the same like Intel x86 hardware, we can actually directly use the hardware to run the PC software like the operating system applications. And so what our software actually does is actually takes the hardware and uses it to run in these additional operating systems directly. So, unlike the sort of emulation technology like Virtual PC and the stuff that has come up on the Mac, we're not really a simulator and we don't really have the kind of slowdowns you experience when you're running through all these simulation layers, since literally what we're doing is just sort of giving the hardware directly to the operating system and having it run it.

    Sims: You know, it's interesting that you mention the slowdown. I have heard that it takes quite a bit of memory to VMWare. Is that your feedback also? How much memory do you recommend on, say a Linux running on a Pentium box?

    Rosenblum: Well, I think the minimum memory you would even probably consider doing this is 64 megs and it runs very comfortably in a 128 megs. So we recommend is put as much memory as you can on your machine, but we have people write us all the time saying "I'm running with 64 megs and it's enough." The issue is that, you know, you're running this whole new environment with the applications. It will still run if you don't have the memory, enough physical memory on your machine, it's just that you end up having to go to disk and that can slow you down tremendously. The minimum requirements to actually run the software is even lower than 64 megs it's just that end-user experience, your disk light would be on most of the time, you'd be sitting there waiting for the disk.

    [Oct 1, 2001] Novell tows VMware into education market - Tech News -

    VMware, a start-up whose software lets a computer run many operating systems simultaneously, has begun a new expansion into the education market and signed its first major customer: Novell.

    VMware will sell its program--though at discount rates--to the network of 1,100 businesses authorized to train people in the use of Novell's software products. The company believes as many as 25,000 copies of its software will be used in the Novell deal, with more to come from other educational initiatives.

    "We're expanding our channels for academic distribution," said Vice President of Marketing Susan Thomas, adding that the Palo Alto, Calif., company expects to complete a distribution deal soon that will get its products on the shelves of college bookstores. And "we're looking at other companies who are big trainers," she said.

    Novell was once one of the giants of the technology landscape, before its NetWare server operating system was swept aside by Microsoft's Windows. Though the company has shifted much of its attention to its eDirectory product, NetWare remains an important part of the computer industry.

    VMware's product allows a single Linux or Windows computer to host several operating systems simultaneously. Linux can run within Windows, or vice versa, or several versions of Windows can run side by side, for example, as long as the machine has sufficient memory.

    The company points to a few advantages its products have for the training market. In Novell's case, the lures are that it takes less time for instructors to set up computers and that students can run several interacting computers at the same time without actually running several computers. In addition, by shutting down a virtual machine without saving changes, a student can undo damage wreaked by incorrect settings or failed tests.

    "Students can do a lot more experimenting, because if they totally mess up their environment, they can just restore it by resetting," Thomas said.

    The most complex Novell course requires a student to use four operating systems, said Aaron Osmond, director of business development for Novell's education program. Novell has made VMware-based education kits for four courses and has five more of these Quick Classroom products under development.

    VMware can run only on Windows or Linux, but once it's operating, it can be used to run numerous operating systems that work on Intel-compatible chips. Novell's NetWare is not on the official list of systems VMware supports, though it can be run.

    "Theoretically, any operating system that runs on (Intel-compatible computers) will run. However, we don't claim official support for an operating system unless we have thoroughly tested it," Thomas said.

    Novell isn't worried that NetWare isn't supported, because it runs without trouble.   

    [June 22, 2001] Connectix has announced the release of a beta version of its Virtual PC product for Intel hardware. The software allows users to run guest operating systems, much like VMWare.

    Unlike VMWare, however, the product only runs under Windows 2000, Windows NT, and Windows ME. According to the company, the final product will ship in mid-June at an estimated price of $199. wrote up a brief review of the product, giving it generally good marks, but pointing out the underlying irony of running a stable operating system as a guest under Windows:

    Red Hat Linux installed and ran smoothly. However, the stability benefits gained with Linux are negated by fact it runs under the less-stable Windows 98. Besides supporting Red Hat Linux, Virtual PC works with the latest Linux distributions from SuSE and Mandrake.

    The no-cost download is available at

    LINE Is Not an Emulator

    LINE Is Not an Emulator. LINE is a utility which executes unmodified Linux applications on Windows by intercepting Linux system calls. The Linux applications themselves are not emulated. They run directly on the CPU just like all other Windows applications.

    Click here for a list of applications that are known to work (at least partially) under LINE.

    LINE was created by Michael Vines



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