Anyone have any experience with Virtual Machines? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-22, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone have any experience with Virtual Machines?

I would like to set up a VM at home on one my PCs. Does anyone have any experience with this? I was thinking of using VirtualBox. Any reason I shouldn't?

What should I use as my host OS? I am guessing it will have to be something that you aren't likely to want to get rid of since you can't wipe it out without wiping out all of your VMs, correct? So should I use a Linux OS like Ubuntu as my host OS? And can you use your host OS to do other things or do you just want it to be a host and do nothing else?

Anyone suggest any good tutorials or guides on this? When I google I get a bunch of hits but many of the top results are rather old and I wonder if they are still useful or whether they are now deprecated?
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-22, 10:06 PM
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I'm running Windows 7 in VirtualBox on my main Linux system. I run it full screen on the 2nd virtual desktop, so I can easily switch between the two. Just for fun, I also installed OS/2 Warp 4 and Windows 98 in VirtualBox on my (Linux) notebook.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-22, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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So you would recommend Linux as the host OS? What flavor of Linux are you running?
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-22, 11:42 PM
 
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You can use whatever you want as the host. You can save/move the vbox images around afterwards, so you won't lose your VMs if you want to change the host OS afterwards. That's one of the great things about running things in VMs.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-22, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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I just installed Win10 Tech Preview on a machine that I could use as a host. But Win10 Tech Preview will expire in a few months and/or I will want to move to the next beta of Win10. But from what you're saying that's not an issue?
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 07:09 AM
 
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With VirtualBox, VMs can be moved from host O/S to host O/S with little effort.

I keep my VMs on a separate hard drive. This way, I can move my VMs to different hardware (with a different host OS, if I desire) just by plugging the drive into it. Even if you don't use a separate drive, cloning a VM from one drive to another is easy.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 07:36 AM
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What flavor of Linux are you running?
I run openSUSE, but you can run whatever distro you like.

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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How many VMs can you run on one machine? I guess it is memory dependent but it is reasonable to be able to run 4 VMs in an 8GB PC with 2GB each of memory?
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by scotta View Post
I keep my VMs on a separate hard drive. This way, I can move my VMs to different hardware (with a different host OS, if I desire) just by plugging the drive into it. Even if you don't use a separate drive, cloning a VM from one drive to another is easy.
Is there any reason that you can't install a VM OS to a USB flash drive? That would make it very easy to move among machines.

When you have several VMs running on one PC how does it handle the networking? Does each VM get its own IP address?
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 09:55 AM
 
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Running a VM off a USB flash drive will technically work, but will be incredibly slow when you need to use the VM for anything that requires access to the VMs disk.

The number of VMs (guests) per machine you can run is based on the resources of the hosting acting as the hypervisor and what type of workloads you intend to be running on the guests.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 905shmick View Post
Running a VM off a USB flash drive will technically work, but will be incredibly slow when you need to use the VM for anything that requires access to the VMs disk.
Why is that? Is it because the USB bus is much slower than SATA or is it particular to VMs? And would it make a big difference if you had USB 3.0? Can VMs access USB 3.0 at the higher speeds or do they have to go through a layer that slows them down?
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 11:59 AM
 
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The cheap/slow NAND flash that they use in USB flash drives makes it a bad choice to run an operating system on. Doesn't have anything to do with being a VM.

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 12:14 PM
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How many VMs can you run on one machine?
A few years back, IBM ran 50,000 Linux VMs on a mainframe computer.

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 12:15 PM
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USB 3.0 will help if you get a high quality drive. Speeds vary significantly: http://www.everythingusb.com/speed.html

As a comparison, my WD SATA3's get 150 MB/s.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 2014-10-23, 12:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
I guess it is memory dependent but it is reasonable to be able to run 4 VMs in an 8GB PC with 2GB each of memory?
Each VM ties up the amount of memory that you specify for it. Four VMs at 2GB each would require 8GB. That would leave no memory for the host OS, so the answer is no.

Quote:
When you have several VMs running on one PC how does it handle the networking? Does each VM get its own IP address?
There are various ways to provide network access to a VM but with VirtualBox the easiest and most common is that each VM gets its own network as if it were attached to a router on the host's network. As with a real router, NAT is generally used to translate the VM's IP address(es) to the host's network address.
https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch06.html
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