Virtual Machine Questions!

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ADDandy
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:19 am

Virtual Machine Questions!

Post by ADDandy » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:00 am

Hey Computer Wiz's,
Background: The extent of my knowledge of virtual machines is running VMware on my mac to use windows.

First question:
Is it possible to have a dual boot machine (windows 7 + linux) and have each OS be able to run the non active os as a virtual machine (while in windows run the ubuntu partition as a vm, in ubuntu run the windows partition as a VM). i'm wondering because on my mbp, i can so something similar to this with VMware fusion and bootcamp (while in osx i can run my windows partition as a vm).

The reason i want to do this is because i like to play games (thus the windows 7), but i also prefer to develop/code/work on projects in linux. the problem i run into is that after using windows for a while, when i boot into the linux partition, i have to spend a chunk of time doing software update. same goes for windows, after i've been in ubuntu for a while, i switch over to windows to play a video game and bam, steam needs to update.

Now a valid solution to this would be to just run ubuntu as a VM inside windows, because most of the stuff im doing in ubuntu doesn't require as many clock cycles and i can fullscreen it if i have to. but i want my cake and eat it too.

second question:
when i buy my new computer, my old computer (still an OK chunk of metal) i want to turn into a multi purpose server. i've heard good things about using virtualization servers, so i was thinking about trying to set up an EXSI server (hypervisors are neat).
What i want to know is, is it possible, if i have 2 NICs, to run a BSD firewall in a VM. Then use 1 nic as WAN input, and then the other NIC goes to my router (which will turn into a switch/wifi access point)? or is it better to just leave my router be (it is currently a linksys 610nV1 with DD-wrt on it).


Cheers
-Andy

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Bergo
Posts: 323
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: Virtual Machine Questions!

Post by Bergo » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:32 pm

most hosted hypervisors store their virtual machine disks as a file, at least in my experience that's all I've seen (VMware server, workstation, citrix xenserver, and vmware fusion). I'm not sure of a way to run a hosted hypervisor on both of your OS instances and utilize the other OS as a virtual machine, sorry.

As far as your question about bare metal hypervisors - ESXi is fairly picky about hardware, Xen is a bit more forgiving. That ebing said, I've seen ESXi running on some fairly modest hardware. Check the VMware HCL for more info, but pretty much any CPU that supports VT + decent NIC and you're good to go.

As for the network stuff, ideally you want a switch that suppots .1q VLAN trunking so that you can split up your network, that would be ideal. Look at running something like untangle or pfsense.

I've done all the above, so feel free to ask specific questions. I've got a decent sized VMware ESX4 cluster at work, and I run ESXi @ home.

rsilk
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:55 am

Re: Virtual Machine Questions!

Post by rsilk » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:28 pm

CPU that supports VT
This is the important part, and CPUs seem to either support VT or not, randomly, with no apparent pattern. So check carefully.

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Bergo
Posts: 323
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: Virtual Machine Questions!

Post by Bergo » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:44 pm

rsilk wrote:
CPU that supports VT
This is the important part, and CPUs seem to either support VT or not, randomly, with no apparent pattern. So check carefully.
3xxx 5xxx and 7xxx series xeon CPU's and most (if not all?) of the AMD opteron cPU's do, as far as "consumer" CPU's go, the higher end ones usually do (i7's and such) while low end ones (i3 etc) don't.

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