Posts Tagged ‘VirtualBox’

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Quick Take: VirtualBox adds Live Migra… uh, Teleportation

November 30, 2009

Sun announced the 3.1.0 release of its desktop hypervisor – VirtualBox – with their own version of live virtual machine host migration called “Teleporting.” Teleporting, according to the user’s manual, is defined as:

“moving a virtual machine over a network from one VirtualBox host to another, while the virtual machine is running. This works regardless of the host operating system that is running on the hosts: you can teleport virtual machines between Solaris and Mac hosts, for example.”

Teleportation operates like an in-place replacement of a VM’s facilities, requiring that the “target” host has a virtual machine in VirtualBox with exactly the same hardware settings as the “source” VM. The source and target VM’s must also share the same storage, etc. and must use either the same VirtualBox accessible iSCSI targets or some other network storage (NFS or SMB/CIFS) – and no snapshots.

“The hosts must have fairly similar CPUs. While VirtualBox can simulate some CPU features to a degree, this does not always work. Teleporting between Intel and AMD CPUs will probably fail with an error message.”

The recipe for teleportation begins on the target and is given in an example, leveraging VirtualBox’s VBoxManage command syntax:

VBoxManage modifyvm  --teleporter on --teleporterport

On the source, the running virtual machine is modified according to the following:

VBoxManage controlvm  teleport --host  --port

For testing, same-host teleportation is allowed (source and target equal loopback). Obviously a ready and clean-up script would be involved to copy the settings to a target location, provide the teleport maintenance and clean-up the former VM configuration that is obsoleted in the teleportation. In the case of an error, the running VM stays running on the source host, and the target VM fails to initialize.

SOLORI’s Take: This represents the writing on the wall for VMware and vMotion. Perhaps the shift from VMotion to vMotion telegraphs the reduced value VMware already sees in the “now standard” feature. Adding vMotion to vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus would garner a lot of adoption from the SMB market that is moving quickly to Hyper-V over Citrix and VMware. With VirtualBox’s obvious play in desktop virtualization – where minimalist live migration features would be less of a burden – VMware’s market could quickly become divided in 2010 with some crafty third-party integration along with open VDI. It’s a ways off, but the potential is there…

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Sun Finds a Buyer in Oracle

April 21, 2009

Sun and Oracle have come to terms on a $7.4B cash deal. Oracle’s Ellison rejected a similar deal in 2003 due to bad timing and a PeopleSoft acquisition. Says Sun’s post:

“Sun and Oracle today announced a definitive agreement for Oracle to acquire Sun for $9.50 per share in cash. The Sun Board of Directors has unanimously approved the transaction. It is anticipated to close this summer.”

“The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system – applications to disk – where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up.”

Oracle’s press release mirror’s Sun’s: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Installing VMware ESXi on the Tyan Transport GT28

January 15, 2009

Once the GT28 nodes are BIOS-updated to the AGESA v3.3.0.0+ release, a few adjustments are needed to to support my boot-from-flash deployment model. If you are not familiar with boot-from-USB-flash, there are many helpful blogs issued on the subject like this one from vm-help.com. Suffice to say, boot-from-USB-flash for ESXi in a relatively simple process to setup:

  1. Make sure your BIOS supports boot-from-USB-flash;
  2. Download the latest release of ESX 3i from VMware;
  3. Mount the ISO image of the 3i installer;
  4. Find the “VMvisor-big” image as a “.dd.bz2″ file in the mounted image;
  5. Un-bzip the VMvisor-big image to a temporary directory;
  6. Plug-in your “donor” USB flash device (I’m using the Sandisk Cruzer 4GB);
  7. Find the device handle of the mounted USB device and unmount it (i.e. “umount /dev/sdm”;
  8. Use dd to copy the VMvisor image to the flash device (i.e. “dd if=/tmp/VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.dd of=/dev/sdm”);
  9. Eject the USB device and label it as ESXi;
  10. Insert the USB flash device into a USB 2.0 port on your equipment and boot;

Preparing the BIOS

To prepare my GT28 for ESX 3i and boot-from-USB-flash, I insert the USB “thumb drive” into one of the rear ports and turn-on the GT28. Hitting the “delete” key on boot gets me to the BIOS setup.  I will start with the BIOS “Optimal Defaults”, and make modifications from there; these adjustments are (follow links for screen shots):

S2935 BIOS screen on boot

S2935 BIOS screen on boot

  1. Reset BIOS to “Optimal Defaults”;
  2. Adjust Northbridge IOMMU window from 128MB to 256MB;
  3. Disable AMD PowerNow in BIOS;
  4. Adjust PCI Latency Timer from 64 to 128 (optional);
  5. Disable nVidia MCP55 SATA controller (ESXi has no driver ESXi has a driver, however may be issues with nVRAID);
  6. Adjust USB Mass Storage, setting the USB flash drive to Hard Disk;
  7. Disable the CD/DVD boot devices to avoid boot conflicts;
  8. Select the USB flash drive as the only boot device;
  9. Finally, save the BIOS changes and reboot;
  10. Now, the system should boot into ESXi for initial configuration;

As you can see, boot-from-USB-flash is “wicked simple” to implement (at least on this platform) and open-up all kinds of testing scenarios. In this case, the ESXi image is now running from USB flash, and only the basic configuration tasks remain. However, it is a good idea to know which Ethernet ports are which on the rear panel of the GT28.

S2935 I/O Ports, Rear

S2935 I/O Ports, Rear

If the PCI bus scan order is configured for “Ascent” the LAN ports will be configured as indicated in the image shown. If you modify the bus scan for “Descent” (i.e. to accommodate a RAID controller) then E2/E3 becomes E0/E1 and E0/E1 becomes E2/E3 due to the new initialization sequence. You may want to, therefore, be cautious when making such a change since ESXi will re-enumerate the interfaces (although any used interface will be pinned to the MAC address.)

Initial Configuration of ESXi

Once your network connections are plugged-in, you should have already mapped-out some IP assignments and VLAN and/or trunking arrangements. While these steps are not strictly necessary in testing, they are a good practice maintain even in testing. To make the initial configurations to ESXi, from the console do the following:

S2935 ESXi demo, Initial Configuration

S2935 ESXi demo, Initial Configuration

  1. Hit “F2″ to enter the configuration screen;
  2. Set the “root” password for the ESXi server;
  3. Skip “Lockdown mode” for now;
  4. Configure the management network of the ESXi server;
    1. Select the network adapter(s) to be used for management;
    2. If not using DHCP:
      1. Fix the management IP address
      2. Fix the management IP Subnet mask
      3. Fix the management IP Default gateway
      4. Fix the management DNS configuration;
      5. Update the DNS suffix(es) for your local network;
    3. Hit “Enter” to save (“Escape” exits without change);
  5. Test the management network and restart if necessary;
  6. Exit the configuration menu and hit “F12″ to restart;
S2935 ESXi demo, Restarting ESXi after Configuration

S2935 ESXi demo, Restarting ESXi after Configuration

Initial Management with VI Client

Once the ESXi server is up and online, you will need to grab the VMware Infrastructure Client from the web service provided by the ESXi server (http://<ESXi_IP_ADDRESS>/) and install it on your Windows client. If you don’t run windows (like me) you should have a version running in a VM for just such an occasion. I find VirtuaBox to be a better (free) choice for workstation-on-workstation applications and VMware Server a good choice if the client is to be minimal and accessible from multiple hosts.

S2935 ESXi demo, VMware Infrastructure Client Login

S2935 ESXi demo, VMware Infrastructure Client Login

Once the VI Client is installed, run the application and enter the ESXi server’s hostname/IP-address, root username and root password where requested. A VI Client window will eventually open and allow you to complete the setup of the ESXi server as needed.

That’s really all there is to it: we have a reliable, running ESXi platform in mere minutes with minimal effort.

Notes:

Updated January 15, 2009. Corrected statement that ESX 3i update 3 is not MCP55 aware – support has been added in ESX 3i update 2 and newer. In my test configuration (with the SATA controller enabled) ESX 3i update 3 does properly identify and configure the MCP55 SATA Controller as  an abstracted SCSI controller.

# vmkvsitools lspci
00:00.00 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation
00:01.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:01.01 Serial bus controller: nVidia Corporation
00:02.00 Serial bus controller: nVidia Corporation
00:02.01 Serial bus controller: nVidia Corporation
00:05.00 Mass storage controller: nVidia Corporation MCP55 SATA Controller [vmhba0]
00:06.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:10.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:11.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:12.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:13.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:14.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:15.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation
00:24.00 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
00:24.01 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
00:24.02 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
00:24.03 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
00:24.04 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
01:05.00 Display controller:
04:00.00 Network controller: Intel Corporation 82571EB Gigabit Ethernet Controller [vmnic0]
04:00.01 Network controller: Intel Corporation 82571EB Gigabit Ethernet Controller [vmnic1]
05:00.00 Network controller: Intel Corporation 82571EB Gigabit Ethernet Controller [vmnic2]
05:00.01 Network controller: Intel Corporation 82571EB Gigabit Ethernet Controller [vmnic3]

This enables the use of the MCP55 SATA controller for flash drives at least. I will do further tests on this platform to determine the stability of the NVRAID component and its suitability for local storage (i.e. embedded VM, like virtual SAN/NAS) needs.

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