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4 Virtual Machine (VM) Virtualization Software Reviewed

Posted by Charles | September 4, 2007 .

Virtualization is hot and needed. It’s happening everywhere, your life (or secondlife) or your work (outsourcing). All IT shops one way or another are working some kind of plan to virtualize the physical computing infrastructure. I’ve got a change (or need) to virtualize something so I sail out and tried the major four virtual machine software on the market: Microsoft VirtualPC, VMWare(VMW), LivePC and Xen (Citrix bought it). Here are what I got:

What I’ve done was to create a Windows XP Professional VM and install a server product along with it and created one web application that does data visualization. The requirement is to make the server product portable and can be demonstrated by none technical folks with good enough laptops. Thus, I was focusing on simple virtualization case rather than full scale server based IT virtualization.

Microsoft Virtual PC

vpclog 4 Virtual Machine (VM) Virtualization Software Reviewed I think Microsoft has done right with its Virtual PC. All you need is one piece of software, Virtual PC, got installed. Use the same software, we easily created a virtual machine. Then the same software is also the VM player to start the virtual machine. The foot print of Virtual PC is very small, only 35MB (it’s small, all right, in nowday)

Once you’ve got the virtual machine started, there are about 5MB to 20MB overhead added to your machine’s RAM. It’s kinda reasonable too. For what we want to do, it does what I expected.

By the way, did mention it’s free?

VMWare

vmwarelogo 4 Virtual Machine (VM) Virtualization Software Reviewed My task is focused on desktop not server. So only thing I need is the basic version of VMWare, not those server stuffs. Once I’ve got VMWare workstation installed. Man, it’s a 633MB giant on my machine. In addition, it installed three services, VMWare DHCP Service, VMware NAT service, VMware Virtual Mount Manager Extended. Plus, it created, be default, two network connections, VMware Network Adapter VMNet1 and VMware Network Adapter VMnet8. They are the same type of network connection. I’ve no idea why two of them got created. Really I’ve no intention use either of those services nor the connections. I just wanted a simple virtual machine.

Then, created the VM. It’s straight forward. Along the way, there are lots of helps information to guide me through. There are always have something to explain the configuration parameters when needed. Once I’ve done Microsoft Virtual PC. Things here were no-brainer. Of cause, there are lots of more powerful features here such as the virtual network stuffs having no use to me.

You can play the Virtual machine either from the workstation or from a free separate VMware player, which you can download it from their site.

I know, by reading the feature list, the VMWare is a much more serious virtualization tool. For my basic needs, it does what I wanted, however, is overkill too. VMware is trying to set VM and vdisk standard, almost already a de facto one. For now, Microsoft won’t play along.

Also, it’s not free even for my simple virtualization requirement.

Moka5 LivePC

livpclog 4 Virtual Machine (VM) Virtualization Software Reviewed This is very agile virtualization tool. You can directly install the whole thing on to a portable device, say, a USB hard drive. Installation is quick and easy. It uses some VMware’s technology, such as the vdisk standard. In a way, you can load VMware virtual disk with LivePC.

The tool is over simple. You won’t get helps when using it. There is no explanation about the feature. I have use the trial-n-error method to figure how to adjust the parameter. Also, it creates two disks, System Disk and User Disk and the default size number is put to high end. Both are not necessary. Some small thing hurts too, such as there is not wizard to pick path for the disk location.

It’s a player but not serious one.

XenSource

This one ay not evaluation friendly. It only comes with a ISO file, the raw image file for CD/DVD. Unless you have something like winrar installed, you will have hard time to get software installed. And, once you get software out of ISO, it’s about 670MB stuffs out there.

In order to run Windows and other non-paravirtualized guest operating systems, the system must have processors with Intel VT or AMD Virtualization support, and for Intel VT systems, it must be possible to enable this feature in the system’s BIOS.

Too bad, I got the software installed and find out It’s just client. and ask for server. forget it! This guy must came from the UNIX world. The UI everything is very unfriendly. It’s definitely not for small virtual task on desktop. Wondering what Citrix will do with it once the purchase transaction is done.

 Conclusion

Simple, for serious server (enterprise) virtualization, go with VMware. For simple virtualization on desktop, go with Microsoft Virtual PC. Play with others only when you have spare time to kill.

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2 Comments so far
  1. alan  December 10, 2008 3:26 am

    Ummm you forgot VirtualBox?

    Also, your spelling and grammar sucks…I’m no English teacher and mine isn’t great, but you’re righting fucking articles for OTHER PEOPLE put some work into it.

  2. Howard Scaggs  March 24, 2010 11:08 am

    I liked your review article at FLEX RIA. I have a question or two. I have a Windows 7 Pro system and run a Website, Web BBS and a Dos based BBS (via Telnet) using Apache Web Server 2.x The telnet BBS has a few DOS apps that, obviously won’t work under 64 bit. Other than that Apache serves me well.
    To get around the Dos apps problem I installed VMWare Server so that I could use Windows 7 XP Mode. But that’s like shooting rabbits with a cannon and don’t need or want Tomcat which is built in, just Apache 2.x. I tried Micrsoft’s Virtual PC, but that only uses one core of a dual/quad core desktop computer.

    With all this in mind what would you reccomend for an average, non-techie, user? Something that processor friendly?

    Thank you…

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