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Xen alternatives

Pierre "Le Pierrot"
Hello,

I am sending this email out because I would like to know which are the
free alternatives to Xen. The requirements are: Stability/Performance,
preferably free but it can be commercial (like VMWare and Simics), can
support vast amount of virtualized machines running systems Linux and
Windows (XP/2000/2003) for an x86 computer (like a DELL PowerEdge
2850). I would've loved to end up with Xen working, but for some odd
reason, it ceases to work on the server and I can't spend more time
doing hacks on a trial'n'error in attempts to get it working -
deadline knocking on my door.

I've looked at Xen, Ms Virtual Server, Qemu, VMWare, bochs and
would've loved to try out simics but AFAIK they don't have trial
versions, we're seriously in doubt of which one to get. As a basic
analysis, we discarded bochs for stability and because of not being
solid enough. Virtual Server only runs linux with sp1 applied and has
bad performance in comparison to other alternatives. VMWare ESX (what
we were pointing at) license price is kinda high and it would take a
ton for someone of the hierarchical superiors to adjudicate budget for
it, whereas Microsoft it'd be easy, as the firm where I work at, is
like, gold partner and stuff. Last, but not least, Qemu - haven't
tried it and I've not clues about it's performance and what not. As
such, I would love to have suggestions on possible other alternatives
and if not, that you kindly share your experiences with the fore
mentioned and your personal choices. I know this is a bit off-topic,
but I surely hope the guys making xen keep doing the great work
they've done so far and that they bless me, as I do have a deadline
and can't spend any more time (Xen works wonders inside a vmware
workstation)  :-)

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Re: Xen alternatives

John Madden-4
> I've looked at Xen, Ms Virtual Server, Qemu, VMWare, bochs and

The requirement to run Windows is what gets you here.  (Search freshmeat.net --
there are probably another half-dozen that'll do Linux under various
virtualization models).   To run the other OS, you're limited in the type of
virtualization that you can do to begin with, which limits your choices in the
end.  How about running MS Virt for your Windows virtualization and the Linux
equivalent for your Linux virtualization?  Xen is the front-runner of just one
form of virtualization, so look at the other software available if you simply
can't get it to work.

John





--
John Madden
UNIX Systems Engineer
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
[hidden email]


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Re: Xen alternatives

John Madden-4
In reply to this post by Pierre "Le Pierrot"
> I've looked at Xen, Ms Virtual Server, Qemu, VMWare, bochs and

The requirement to run Windows is what gets you here.  (Search freshmeat.net --
there are probably another half-dozen that'll do Linux under various
virtualization models).   To run the other OS, you're limited in the type of
virtualization that you can do to begin with, which limits your choices in the
end.  How about running MS Virt for your Windows virtualization and the Linux
equivalent for your Linux virtualization?  Xen is the front-runner of just one
form of virtualization, so look at the other software available if you simply
can't get it to work.

John





--
John Madden
UNIX Systems Engineer
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
[hidden email]


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Re: Xen alternatives

Mark Foster-2
In reply to this post by Pierre "Le Pierrot"
Pierre "Le Pierrot" wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I am sending this email out because I would like to know which are the
> free alternatives to Xen. The requirements are: Stability/Performance,
> preferably free but it can be commercial (like VMWare and Simics), can
> support vast amount of virtualized machines running systems Linux and
> Windows (XP/2000/2003) for an x86 computer (like a DELL PowerEdge
> 2850)

I have worked with Xen, VMware ESX and qemu. Since you need to run
Windows and VT technology is not widely available yet, your choices are
reduced to full virtualization via VMware or qemu. VMware ESX is costly
but well supported. It is actually based on Red Hat 7.x. It has good SAN
support, training, add ons like VMTN and Virtual Center add up a pretty
solid product that you can use for a corporate or institutional
environment. Performance is not as good as Xen but probably on par or
better then qemu (haven't tried the qemu-accelerator myself).

qemu on the other hand is mostly open source, supports a wider variety
of (emulated) platforms, runs on more platforms (e.g. FreeBSD and
Windows versions are available) and also "supports" more platforms
although it has a more limited scope of peripheral emulation (sound
cards and such). qemu is better for labs and skunkworks-type projects,
non-profits & startups with tiny budgets, and of course tinkerers and
hackers.

That's all the spew I have time for now, but good luck in your decision.
HTH.

--
Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints...
Mark D. Foster, CISSP <[hidden email]>  http://mark.foster.cc/


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Re: Xen alternatives

Ralph Passgang
Am Montag, 9. Januar 2006 17:57 schrieb Mark Foster:

> Pierre "Le Pierrot" wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > I am sending this email out because I would like to know which are the
> > free alternatives to Xen. The requirements are: Stability/Performance,
> > preferably free but it can be commercial (like VMWare and Simics), can
> > support vast amount of virtualized machines running systems Linux and
> > Windows (XP/2000/2003) for an x86 computer (like a DELL PowerEdge
> > 2850)
>
> I have worked with Xen, VMware ESX and qemu. Since you need to run
> Windows and VT technology is not widely available yet, your choices are
> reduced to full virtualization via VMware or qemu. VMware ESX is costly
> but well supported. It is actually based on Red Hat 7.x. It has good SAN
> support, training, add ons like VMTN and Virtual Center add up a pretty
> solid product that you can use for a corporate or institutional
> environment. Performance is not as good as Xen but probably on par or
> better then qemu (haven't tried the qemu-accelerator myself).
>
> qemu on the other hand is mostly open source, supports a wider variety
> of (emulated) platforms, runs on more platforms (e.g. FreeBSD and
> Windows versions are available) and also "supports" more platforms
> although it has a more limited scope of peripheral emulation (sound
> cards and such). qemu is better for labs and skunkworks-type projects,
> non-profits & startups with tiny budgets, and of course tinkerers and
> hackers.
>
> That's all the spew I have time for now, but good luck in your decision.
> HTH.

qemu is quite nice, but in my opinion more or less a tool for testing stuff,
not for production systems with more then one virtual server running at the
same time.

qemu can run windows without problems, but even with qemu-accelerator it's
quite slow. On a Pentium M 1600Mhz notebook with 1GB RAM (512 dedicated to
qemu) I hadn't much fun working with windows. I don't know if the graphical
output makes the system slow or if it is something else (maybe even the
complete virtualisation), but I wouldn't want to work with a virtualised
windows on top of qemu. For me it was maybe as fast as a windows xp pc with
about a 333-500mhz processor. You had to wait all the time until a new
windows opens and suff like this.

For virtualizing windows hosts I would suggest using vmware or virtuozzo for
now (and of course xen, when you are one of the lucky persons which already
has an vt-x processor). VMWare is more or less the standard at the moment for
complete virualisation and is working well (with a bit more overhead then
xen). But you need to know what you want. VMWare Workstation, GSX or even
ESX.

Virtuozzo for windows is another comercial product. It doens't virtualize a
complete system for virtual servers, but instead it works a bit like a chroot
(and like Linux VServers). The advantage is, then virtuozzo has just a very
little overhead, but one of the main disadvantage is, then the security
between the virtual servers isn't as good as with xen, vmware or somehing
like this. If you manage to crash one virtual servers, then most likely the
whole system will crash. It is just one Operating System for all virtual
servers.

If you can't wait until you can buy vt-x processors I would use vmware.

--Ralph

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Re: Xen alternatives

Mark Williamson
In reply to this post by Mark Foster-2
> I have worked with Xen, VMware ESX and qemu. Since you need to run
> Windows and VT technology is not widely available yet, your choices are
> reduced to full virtualization via VMware or qemu. VMware ESX is costly
> but well supported. It is actually based on Red Hat 7.x. It has good SAN
> support, training, add ons like VMTN and Virtual Center add up a pretty
> solid product that you can use for a corporate or institutional
> environment. Performance is not as good as Xen but probably on par or
> better then qemu (haven't tried the qemu-accelerator myself).

I'd expect VMware to still perform better (for kernel / IO intensive stuff,
particularly) than Qemu at this stage, although Qemu is a very impressive
piece of software and is rapidly developing.

VMware will also use SMP fully.  Qemu now supports SMP guests but IIRC it
doesn't support SMP hosts: i.e. all a guests' processors are multiplexed on
one host CPU so it's just a testing tool, rather than a means of improving
CPU bandwtich.  VMware ESX does up to 4 virtual CPUs per guest IIRC; I'm not
sure about GSX.

> qemu on the other hand is mostly open source,

Worth noting that the accelerator is currently closed source, if that matters
to anyone.  It's still free-as-in-beer though.  Mmmm free beer.

> supports a wider variety
> of (emulated) platforms, runs on more platforms (e.g. FreeBSD and
> Windows versions are available) and also "supports" more platforms
> although it has a more limited scope of peripheral emulation (sound
> cards and such). qemu is better for labs and skunkworks-type projects,
> non-profits & startups with tiny budgets, and of course tinkerers and
> hackers.

There are also plenty of cool patches floating around to add features to Qemu
- several are incorporated in the Qemu device model used by Xen/VT-x.

Depending on how important Windows is to you, running Xen on the host and Qemu
or Win4Lin Pro (which is Qemu based - Win4Lin explicitly support running
Windows on Xen as a configuration) in guests may be worth looking at.  You
don't need special hardware, and will be able to live-migrate Windows guests.  
Windows won't run so fast, but Linux guests will obviously be very good
performance.  Just depends what's more important!

Cheers,
Mark

> That's all the spew I have time for now, but good luck in your decision.
> HTH.

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Re: Xen alternatives

Pierre "Le Pierrot"
In reply to this post by John Madden-4
Actually, windows is not the sine-qua-non of our virtualization needs.
Windows is like, a reasonable option for our first soft-production and
virtualization requirements, but it can be perfectly replaced by
Linux, that's why I kept trying to put xen to work for a whole week,
but time's over...can't spend more time on this solution and must
severely find a replacement for Microsoft Virtual Server... :-)

What got me here is the innability to put xen to work on a dell
poweredge 2850, otherwise, I would've sticked around the documents, as
they're very clear and concisely written.

Thanks for all sugestions so far. I am going to try qemu. As for
virtuozzo, I've never heard of it and from a first inspection, it
looks like a commercial option, but does it run Linux?

Cheers
Pierre


On 1/9/06, John Madden <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > I've looked at Xen, Ms Virtual Server, Qemu, VMWare, bochs and
>
> The requirement to run Windows is what gets you here.  (Search freshmeat.net --
> there are probably another half-dozen that'll do Linux under various
> virtualization models).   To run the other OS, you're limited in the type of
> virtualization that you can do to begin with, which limits your choices in the
> end.  How about running MS Virt for your Windows virtualization and the Linux
> equivalent for your Linux virtualization?  Xen is the front-runner of just one
> form of virtualization, so look at the other software available if you simply
> can't get it to work.
>
> John
>
>
>
>
>
> --
> John Madden
> UNIX Systems Engineer
> Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
> [hidden email]
>
>

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Re: Xen alternatives

Anand Gupta
On 1/10/06, Pierre Le Pierrot <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks for all sugestions so far. I am going to try qemu. As for
virtuozzo, I've never heard of it and from a first inspection, it
looks like a commercial option, but does it run Linux?

Its a commercial product and runs on Linux as well as Windows. The last i saw windows version was highly buggy.

--

regards,

Anand
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Re: Xen alternatives

Anand Gupta
On 1/10/06, Pierre Le Pierrot <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks Anand,

but what I meant is: Does it run Linux and Windows as guests?

It runs Linux as guests under its Linux version and same goes for windows.

--

regards,

Anand
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Re: Xen alternatives

Ralph Passgang
you can run linux guests on linux hosts and windows guest on windows hosts.
But you cannot mix them.

It's not really virtualisation that does the magic here, it is more like a big
chroot. You have to realize, that if you are using the linux virtuozzo
version you are using the same kernel kernel on host and guests (not multiple
instances, just one instance shared for all virtual servers) and you can only
choose the distro for each guest.

Virtouzzo for windows just works on windows 2003 server, so all guests will
also be windows 2003. There is no support for xp or anything else, and mixing
two diffrent windows versions on one virtuozzo host would even be in therory
impossible.

There is also an small open source version available for the linux virtuozzo
version (not for the windows version!). it was called open virtuozzo, but if
I rember it right they changed the name not long ago. I think the project is
just existing, because virtuozzo on linux is using other open source
software, so they had to release it for free. the commercial virtuozzo
versions just brings extra goodies like remote managment via webinterface and
so on to open virtuozzo.

But I wouldn't use virtuozzo for linux myself, because it's more or less the
same as VServers and the open virtuozzo project has never been very popular.
VServers should be better supported and you will find a lot more support if
you have trouble.

Paying for the commercial version doesn't make sense if you have
x-virtualisations techniques for linux that are for free and at least as good
as virtuozzo (the most even better).

Virtuozzo for Windows is more interessting, because it brings a kind of
vserver/chroot thing to the windows world. so you can run x-virtual servers
with almost no overhead. But real (and secure) virtualisation is not
possible, then better use vmware, xen+vt, qemu, whatever if this is a very
important aspect for you.

--Ralph

Am Dienstag, 10. Januar 2006 13:44 schrieb Anand:

> On 1/10/06, Pierre Le Pierrot <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Thanks Anand,
> >
> > but what I meant is: Does it run Linux and Windows as guests?
>
> It runs Linux as guests under its Linux version and same goes for windows.
>
> --
>
> regards,
>
> Anand

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Re: Xen alternatives

Dmitry Mishin
> There is also an small open source version available for the linux
> virtuozzo version (not for the windows version!). it was called open
> virtuozzo, but if I rember it right they changed the name not long ago. I
> think the project is just existing, because virtuozzo on linux is using
> other open source software, so they had to release it for free. the
> commercial virtuozzo versions just brings extra goodies like remote
> managment via webinterface and so on to open virtuozzo.
>
> But I wouldn't use virtuozzo for linux myself, because it's more or less
> the same as VServers and the open virtuozzo project has never been very
> popular. VServers should be better supported and you will find a lot more
> support if you have trouble.
www.openvz.org
It is not so small, as you think - it has all VServer features and more, such
as network virtualization, netfilters, better resource management, fair
scheduler and so on. It is more stable and convinient for end user - at
least, we have such opinions in our forum. About better support - try both
and compare.

--
Thanks,
Dmitry.

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Re: Xen alternatives

Pierre "Le Pierrot"
Alright,

Thank you all for sugestions so far. Qemu seems to work fine here, but
I am not that very happy with it and doesn't get me the same feeling
of a product that can be put to production servers. I talked to a
local vmware dealer and he provided me a CD with vmware esx and
virtual center and respective trial licenses. I am going to try it out
and see what comes out of this.

Is there any provision for xen to support windows natively without the
need of specific hardware?

Also, is there a way I can download the current snapshot from the
mercurial repository in a tarball? I am working on a closed network
segment that barely has internet connection and mercurial tools
support for proxy seem not to function as I'd like (or maybe it's my
profile that has little or no access in this proxy).

Cheers,
Pierre

On 1/10/06, Mishin Dmitry <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > There is also an small open source version available for the linux
> > virtuozzo version (not for the windows version!). it was called open
> > virtuozzo, but if I rember it right they changed the name not long ago. I
> > think the project is just existing, because virtuozzo on linux is using
> > other open source software, so they had to release it for free. the
> > commercial virtuozzo versions just brings extra goodies like remote
> > managment via webinterface and so on to open virtuozzo.
> >
> > But I wouldn't use virtuozzo for linux myself, because it's more or less
> > the same as VServers and the open virtuozzo project has never been very
> > popular. VServers should be better supported and you will find a lot more
> > support if you have trouble.
> www.openvz.org
> It is not so small, as you think - it has all VServer features and more, such
> as network virtualization, netfilters, better resource management, fair
> scheduler and so on. It is more stable and convinient for end user - at
> least, we have such opinions in our forum. About better support - try both
> and compare.
>
> --
> Thanks,
> Dmitry.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Xen-users mailing list
> [hidden email]
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>

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Re: Xen alternatives

Gildas-5
In reply to this post by Pierre "Le Pierrot"
2006/1/9, Pierre Le Pierrot <[hidden email]>:
Hello,

I am sending this email out because I would like to know which are the
free alternatives to Xen. The requirements are: Stability/Performance,
preferably free but it can be commercial (like VMWare and Simics), can
support vast amount of virtualized machines running systems Linux and
Windows (XP/2000/2003) for an x86 computer (like a DELL PowerEdge
2850).
 
If you need stability, performance and mixed VM environment support including proprietary OS, then vmware esx or gsx are your best bet here so far for a production environment.
 
From my own experience, gsx runs fine on a dell 2850 (with a w2k3 host), but you'll need a vast amount of memory and the dual CPU configuration if you want multiple VM running at a time.
 
esx will only provide better performances and other features like VM migration or hot backup. If it's not mandatory, gsx will fit.
 
Gildas

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Re: Xen alternatives

Steven Anderson-3
In reply to this post by Pierre "Le Pierrot"
Greetings!

You had ask wether there is provision for Xen to run windows without VT
enabled hardware.

Yes there is a comercial product called Win4Lin(which is basically QEMU with
a few changes) that will run a windows server and xp or terminal server
inside a domU.

It does have condiderable overhead just as qemu and vmware does.

The VT enabled hardware is now arriving! I would suggest for a production
environment that you find a dual or quad motherboard server with vt enabled
chips. You will be much happier. Also to support moving of vm's your going
to need a SAN. Blade servers such as eugeneras blade center is an excellent
alternavative to standard servers. Wether they currently support VT enabled
chips i am not sure.

Hope this helps!

Regards,

Steven



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Re: Xen alternatives

Kyler Laird-3
In reply to this post by Pierre "Le Pierrot"
"Pierre \"Le Pierrot\"" <[hidden email]> writes:

>What got me here is the innability to put xen to work on a dell
>poweredge 2850,

The 2850 isn't a problem (once USB is disabled).  I've been running
Xen on one for months.

>As for
>virtuozzo, I've never heard of it and from a first inspection, it
>looks like a commercial option,

The Free part is OpenVZ.
        http://openvz.org/
I've switched my efforts from Xen to OpenVZ.  It's vastly better for
almost everything I need to do.  (I just switched the 2850 to it.)

--kyler


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Parallels hypervisor runs Windows on non-VT hardware (Was: Xen alternatives)

Chris de Vidal
I just found out about Parallels:
http://www.parallels.com/

Like Xen it's a hypervisor (low-level virtual machine manager that sits between the hardware and
all OSes, even the "host"/dom0).  Unlike Xen it runs Windows unmodified on regular non-VT
hardware.  Unlike Xen it's $49 (which is great compared to, say, VMware's offerings, but who can
beat free?)  :-)

I haven't used it.  Someone please try it and compare it to Xen for us: performance, ease-of-use, etc.

CD

* Bad news: We've all broken God's 10 Commandments. Lust is adultery (Matt. 5:27-28), hate is murder (1 John 2:9). Break one and you've broken them all (James 2:10). We *all* deserve hell.

* Good news: Jesus paid my penalty. Turn from your sin & ask God's forgiveness by His blood -- while you still have time!

NeedGod.com

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Re: Parallels hypervisor runs Windows on non-VT hardware (Was: Xen alternatives)

Fajar A. Nugraha
Chris de Vidal wrote:

>I just found out about Parallels:
>http://www.parallels.com/
>
>Like Xen it's a hypervisor (low-level virtual machine manager that sits between the hardware and
>all OSes, even the "host"/dom0).  Unlike Xen it runs Windows unmodified on regular non-VT
>hardware.  Unlike Xen it's $49 (which is great compared to, say, VMware's offerings, but who can
>beat free?)  :-)
>
>I haven't used it.  Someone please try it and compare it to Xen for us: performance, ease-of-use, etc.
>
>  
>
First of all, you're asking someone to BUY a product, test drive it, do
a comparison, and reports back to you? Isn't it kind of selfish?

Second, I noticed on the web page that it's a DESKTOP virtualization
solution. I don't know about you, but if I'm searching for desktop-class
virtualization I'd go with the free Vmware Player. I was able to run 8
virtual machine nicely on a linux server (with some modifications to
/etc/sysctl.conf).

Regards,

Fajar


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Re: Parallels hypervisor runs Windows on non-VT hardware (Was: Xen alternatives)

Sven Oehme
In reply to this post by Chris de Vidal

you can download a trial version for 45 day use --> http://www.parallels.com/en/download/


Sven



Chris de Vidal <[hidden email]>
Sent by: [hidden email]

01/13/2006 01:23 PM

Please respond to
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[Xen-users] Parallels hypervisor runs Windows on non-VT hardware        (Was: Xen alternatives)





I just found out about Parallels:
http://www.parallels.com/

Like Xen it's a hypervisor (low-level virtual machine manager that sits between the hardware and
all OSes, even the "host"/dom0).  Unlike Xen it runs Windows unmodified on regular non-VT
hardware.  Unlike Xen it's $49 (which is great compared to, say, VMware's offerings, but who can
beat free?)  :-)

I haven't used it.  Someone please try it and compare it to Xen for us: performance, ease-of-use, etc.

CD

* Bad news: We've all broken God's 10 Commandments. Lust is adultery (Matt. 5:27-28), hate is murder (1 John 2:9). Break one and you've broken them all (James 2:10). We *all* deserve hell.

* Good news: Jesus paid my penalty. Turn from your sin & ask God's forgiveness by His blood -- while you still have time!

NeedGod.com

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