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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
I'm due a new machine and I'm thinking to take a different approach to OS's then I have in the past.

I'd like to have a base OS of some sort within which I can virtualise other OS's. My intention would be that I wouldn't use the base OS other than to host the virtualised OS's.

I've heard of KVM (http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Main_Page) and that looks ideal for these purposes but I'm open to other approaches (including Windows based ones).

My question(s) are :

  • If you have done this what have you used as the base OS
  • When you ordered the machine what did you have lenovo put on it

Thanks

R.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:54 pm
Posts: 79
Location: atlanta ga
I run Windows 7 Pro (64 bit) with 8 GB ram and VMware Player (its Free) and have about 17 different Virtual Machines. VM's take a lot of Ram so you need to consider that when ordering, Intel Duo Core allow 16 GB and Quad Core allow 32 GB. Processor speed is not as important in running vm's but you should get one that allows VT-x and if you plan on running nested machines make sure you get one that supports some i5 and all i7 processors do.

My current machine is a T410 which I got before I got into virturalization. You should look into the T520 and the T530 (16 GB Max Memory) laptops and the W520 and W530 workstations (32 GB Max memory with Quad). If you are adding multiple VM's consider getting a 750 GB HD (7200 RPM).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 5:20 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Kent, WA
In choosing my most recent OS configuration, I started with Linux w/VMware Player, went to Server 2008R2 w/Hyper-V, then Win7 Enterprise x64 with VMware Player, then back to Linux (Ubuntu 12.04).

I would recommend against Hyper-V since it doesn't pass through devices and you'll end up spending a lot more time in the host OS instead of the guests. I really wanted to like it, but it wasn't suitable for my needs.

There's nothing wrong with 64-bit Win7 and VMware player - it was just a personal choice to go back to Linux.

If you're ordering a new machine and are going to use Windows, make sure you get at least Windows 7 Home Premium or better. Home Basic is limited to 8GB of RAM, Home Premium is 16. Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate are 192GB :).

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EasyMac308
MCITP: EDA, MCSE NT, MCSE 2000, A+
Work: Thinkpad T410 / i5-650 / 8GB / 500GB / Win7 Ent x64
Personal: T60 (4:3) / T7200 / 4GB / 500GB / Ubuntu 12.04 <scrap built>
Retired: 570E, T20, T21, T23, T30, T40, T42, T43


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:00 am
Posts: 598
Location: United States
indicium wrote:
Processor speed is not as important in running vm's but you should get one that allows VT-x and if you plan on running nested machines make sure you get one that supports some i5 and all i7 processors do.


I think you mean VT-d. VT-x is in all of the i3's through i7s, whereas VT-d is only is missing in the i3 and lower i5 (2400 series) but present in the i5 2500 series and i7's.

I use VirtualBox on Windows 7 on my T410's and R400, but I'm not a power user, just a user. :wink:

_________________
jayton4
Current models/upgrades:
R400 7439W1K- 8GB, Momentus XT 500GB, Intel 5300 WiFi
T410 2518X01- 8GB, Corsair Force GT 120GB
T410s 2901A3U- 8GB, Intel 6300 WiFi
T420s 4174PPU- 16GB, Intel 520-series 7mm 180GB & Crucial m4 mSATA 256GB, Intel 6300 WiFi
and a few classics in storage


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 8:40 pm
Posts: 833
Location: Pine Grove, PA
I use Ubuntu 12.04 as the host OS, VirtualBox and Ubuntu Server for non-graphical VM's of which I have about a dozen. Works very nicely. Boot off my 120gb Intel 520 series SSD and run the VirtualBox VM's off of the 750gb 7200 RPM drive in the ultrabay.

_________________
Thinkpad T420 | Core i-5 2520M | 16gb RAM | 120gb Intel 520 SSD + 750gb 7200 RPM | 6300 N | Ubuntu 12.04 x64
Desktop: AMD FX-8350 (8 cores) | 32gb ECC RAM | 240gb Intel 530 SSD + 1tb 7200 RPM | Ubuntu 12.04 x64 | HP ZR24w
Previous Thinkpads: A21m, R40, X61, T410


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:54 pm
Posts: 79
Location: atlanta ga
I did indeed mean VT-d. I started out as a user and somehow ended up a power user!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:39 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Arnhem, Netherlands
If you just want to provide a thin layer that gives you the framework for running multiple VMs: take a look at XenClient. (http://community.citrix.com/citrixready/xenclient)

It's a hypervisor that has been designed to run client operating systems.
It used to have limited hardware support (enterprise level laptops only, Thinkpad should do) but I looked at it two versions ago and it looked really sweet.

OS based virtualisation comes in multiple flavours. It does take a performance hit because of the underlying OS that requires resources.
- Windows 8 has Hyper-V 3 build-in. It does require Intel EPT (Enhance Page Tables) to function. Graphics performance kind of sucks and the console connection is in reality some sort of RDP connection.
- Microsoft Virtual PC emulates a P3 processor, steer clear!
- VMware makes nice and polished products. You could download a trail version of Workstation and keep using Player when the trail expires. Player is a fine product comparable to VirtualBox.
- VirtualBox is a nice product that is dependent on Oracle for software updates. If they keep the development up, it won't give you problems.
- KVM has problems with hardware acceleration of graphics. Not always as easy to use due to command line configuration.
- Xen is a bit older than KVM and has a less active community, with the exception of Citrix with the XenServer/XenClient products.

VT-d is only interesting if you want to give PCI-E storage controllers to your virtual machines. (http://software.intel.com/en-us/article ... o-devices/) Since you typically don't have RAID controllers or HBAs in your laptop that you wish to dedicate to your VM, you're probably not going to use it. Note: XenClient uses this method to give the VM complete control over the graphics card.
VT-x is the instruction set for virtualizing 64bit OSs and is common on all AMD processors and most Intel processors.
EPT reduces the load to recalculate every memory location and can make a 10% performance impact, worth having. (Intel Core i5-2450m and i5-2520m are just about equal but the 2400 series lack EPT)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Apologies for slow reply and thanks for the great answers. Particularly interested to hear of those who are using 'normal' o/s as the basis for a number of virtualised o/s'es but good to hear about the more specialist ones as well, XenClient etc.

Thanks again for all the info.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:00 am
Posts: 598
Location: United States
hans_lenze wrote:
If you just want to provide a thin layer that gives you the framework for running multiple VMs: take a look at XenClient. (http://community.citrix.com/citrixready/xenclient)

It's a hypervisor that has been designed to run client operating systems.
It used to have limited hardware support (enterprise level laptops only, Thinkpad should do) but I looked at it two versions ago and it looked really sweet.

OS based virtualisation comes in multiple flavours. It does take a performance hit because of the underlying OS that requires resources.
- Windows 8 has Hyper-V 3 build-in. It does require Intel EPT (Enhance Page Tables) to function. Graphics performance kind of sucks and the console connection is in reality some sort of RDP connection.
- Microsoft Virtual PC emulates a P3 processor, steer clear!
- VMware makes nice and polished products. You could download a trail version of Workstation and keep using Player when the trail expires. Player is a fine product comparable to VirtualBox.
- VirtualBox is a nice product that is dependent on Oracle for software updates. If they keep the development up, it won't give you problems.
- KVM has problems with hardware acceleration of graphics. Not always as easy to use due to command line configuration.
- Xen is a bit older than KVM and has a less active community, with the exception of Citrix with the XenServer/XenClient products.

VT-d is only interesting if you want to give PCI-E storage controllers to your virtual machines. (http://software.intel.com/en-us/article ... o-devices/) Since you typically don't have RAID controllers or HBAs in your laptop that you wish to dedicate to your VM, you're probably not going to use it. Note: XenClient uses this method to give the VM complete control over the graphics card.
VT-x is the instruction set for virtualizing 64bit OSs and is common on all AMD processors and most Intel processors.
EPT reduces the load to recalculate every memory location and can make a 10% performance impact, worth having. (Intel Core i5-2450m and i5-2520m are just about equal but the 2400 series lack EPT)


Welcome to the forum and excellent first post! Thank you for sharing your knowledge on the subject.

_________________
jayton4
Current models/upgrades:
R400 7439W1K- 8GB, Momentus XT 500GB, Intel 5300 WiFi
T410 2518X01- 8GB, Corsair Force GT 120GB
T410s 2901A3U- 8GB, Intel 6300 WiFi
T420s 4174PPU- 16GB, Intel 520-series 7mm 180GB & Crucial m4 mSATA 256GB, Intel 6300 WiFi
and a few classics in storage


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Quote:
If you just want to provide a thin layer that gives you the framework for running multiple VMs: take a look at XenClient. (http://community.citrix.com/citrixready/xenclient)


Just wanted to say that since I read this post I've now watched the XenClient vid on the citrix site and it's informative (unlike similar vids). The product looks like it has strong benefits for an IT department managing many machines and would also do what I want very nicely.

It seems that if you don't want the whole centralised management stuff (which looks amazing but I don't need it) then all I need is XenClient Express and that this is 'free' ?

Are you able to confirm that's what I should use hans_lenze (or anybody else) ?

And that not paying doesn't have any fish hooks ?

Also if I were to do this when you order a thinkpad are you able to order with :

  • XenClient pre-installed ?or
  • No O/S at all ?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:39 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Arnhem, Netherlands
Quote:
It seems that if you don't want the whole centralised management stuff (which looks amazing but I don't need it) then all I need is XenClient Express and that this is 'free' ?

Are you able to confirm that's what I should use hans_lenze (or anybody else) ?

There is no clear cut answer that fits every need. Based on personal preference alone, you could choose one product over the other. I cannot tell you what you *should* use. I can only give you information that helps with making an informed choice. (And even then I'm just a single source of information. One = none)

The Citrix hypervisor products are free. It's the management tools that require a paid license. Citrix really wants marketshare in the hypervisor world but has a hard time competing with VMware and Microsoft. XenClient has been developed as an extension of VDI. To be able to take your virtual hosted desktop with you and use it on the road is nice. It's what makes XenClient unique. But you watched the video, so you already know this.

Quote:
Also if I were to do this when you order a thinkpad are you able to order with :

XenClient pre-installed ?or
No O/S at all ?

As far as I know, there's no option for a different OS or hypervisor when you order a Lenovo laptop. In Europe, you have the option to decline the Windows license that comes with the machine. (Request a refund after buying your laptop and promise to never use the Windows installation that came with it) But if you're going to run a VM with Windows, you still need the license.
I'd get a standard laptop, burn the recovery&restore DVD's as soon as it comes out of the box and install XenClient.

[offtopic] Received my brand-new T420 today. Installing Windows 8 at this very moment and can't wait to play with Hyper-V 3. Next step: 256GB mSATA SSD. [/offtopic]


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