Turn One PC into Two w/free virtualization software

Want to talk about one of the articles in SPCR? Here's the forum for you.
Post Reply
MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Turn One PC into Two w/free virtualization software

Post by MikeC » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:22 am

Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:20 am

Virtualization was not in my field of vision until a few weeks ago, but it makes so much sense these days I wonder why it's not getting more attention. Turning a single PC into 10 is an incredible savings in $$, electricity, the ecological cost of making 9 PCs, heat, air conditioning requirements, and finally, NOISE. Imagine how much quieter an open plan office could be if you reduced the number of computers by a factor of 10. The uber-geeks here have a responsibility to try out this software... and use it & recommend it rather than buy and use any more hardware.... assuming it works well enough! :lol:
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

fri2219
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:14 pm
Location: Forkbomb, New South Wales

That's a great start

Post by fri2219 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:34 pm

I've (literally) cut my SOHO computer power consumption by 40% and saved quite a bit of room, too. It's really a godsend if you're forced to use multiple Operating Systems- performance on consumer grade systems isn't half bad, it's easier to set up and use than you might think, and its a great way to create a sandbox to learn new computer skills without breaking anything you care about.

Here are some other sources of free virtualization software that I've used and liked, in alphabetical order:
Virtual PC 2007
VMWare server
Xen

I use and like VMWare Fusion and ESX Server for work, but neither of those are free.


I think this is a fairly decent comparison of a comparison of virtual machines.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: That's a great start

Post by MikeC » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:14 pm

fri2219 wrote:I think this is a fairly decent comparison of a comparison of virtual machines.
I had no idea the field was that extensively developed!
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

VanWaGuy
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:01 am
Location: Vancouver Wa USA

Post by VanWaGuy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:25 pm

I know that a few of the site regulars that fold for the SPCR team are using VMware, as you can get more folding points running the 64-bit SMP Linux client on a virtual machine on windows than running the windows client. (There is no 64-bit Windows client available.)

Techno Pride
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2003 12:57 am

Post by Techno Pride » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:08 pm

VanWaGuy wrote:I know that a few of the site regulars that fold for the SPCR team are using VMware, as you can get more folding points running the 64-bit SMP Linux client on a virtual machine on windows than running the windows client. (There is no 64-bit Windows client available.)
Which virtualization software supports a 64bit guest OS plus multi-core support within the guest OS?

EDIT: nvm I just read the comparison chart.
Last edited by Techno Pride on Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Antec Solo II
i7-2600S, GA-Z68XP-UD3, 16GB DDR3-1600, GTX 1060 6GB

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:35 pm

MikeC wrote:The uber-geeks here have a responsibility to try out this software...
We already did :)
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

wrong
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 10:29 pm

Post by wrong » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:41 am

These days, the term 'virtualization' refers to emulating a computer in software. This allows you to run multiple operating systems concurrently on the same hardware.

It does not appear that Userful is doing this. It's a Linux distribution with a neat hack that allows multiple keyboards and mice. Linux doesn't need virtualization to provide multiple graphical interface sessions - it's always been a multi-user OS.

Apprentice_GM
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:12 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Contact:

Post by Apprentice_GM » Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:13 am

yeah, what wrong said is right . . . this is better than virtualisation in that a simul multi user in the one OS on the one PC is even more efficient than a virtual PC running on the same PC and having one user in each.
[b]In theory, practice is the same as theory. In practice, it isn't.[/b]

cloneman
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 9:48 am

Post by cloneman » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:18 am

OMG. That is freaking cool. amazing. I love VMware folks. OMG. OMG.

I've ALWAYS wanted this.

edit... aw crap, linux only?
Last edited by cloneman on Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[size=75]P4 2.8 w/ Ninja - HIS Radeon 9800 Pro - Fortron Zen 300W fanless - BQE Case Fan @ 12V, Sflex @ 5V[/size]

jamesavery22
Posts: 271
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 3:19 pm

Post by jamesavery22 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:39 am

VMWare saved my butt a few times when I had to do some random C++ dev. Installing Ubuntu on VMWare and getting all the required libs isnt very fun. Once you have a VMWare instance done you can just bring that file to any computer and run the VMWare player which is very handy. Easier than hacking the eclipse C++ plugin every time.

jmke
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 495
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 3:53 am
Location: In Front of PC
Contact:

Post by jmke » Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:28 pm

linux :/ no good, need something which can do it for XP:)
[url=http://www.madshrimps.be/gotoartik.php?articID=389]160+ CPU Cooler Comparison Database[/url]

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:18 pm

Apprentice_GM wrote:this is better than virtualisation in that a simul multi user in the one OS on the one PC is even more efficient than a virtual PC running on the same PC and having one user in each.
I've heard VMware people quote figures of performance loss in single-digit percent, so I doubt this is a serious issue. A true VM allows you to run different operating systems rather than just different sessions, but I haven't heard of a VM product that can use two keyboard/mice this effectively. These are two different areas that achieve a seemingly similar effect, but really they're doing an entirely different thing. (Of course, they can probably be combined by running a VM application full-screened in one of the Userfy sessions.)

What's really amazing is VMware Fusion on Mac OS X. You can take Windows applications "out" of the Windows VM desktop and they act like any other OS X application window. This achieves a Wine-like effect of native application interaction without compatibility problems Wine inevitably faces. Seriously impressive stuff.
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

Ginta
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:26 am
Location: Los Angeles

Post by Ginta » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:30 am

On the use of linux: Microsoft would never let someone use their OS to run multiple users on one system unless it's Windows Server terminal services so they can charge per connection.

1 license per 1 machine per 1 user = more $$$$ for M$

Also consider M$ Office if you could run many users off the same copy on the machine, M$ would loose a ton of $$$

Dutchmm
Posts: 106
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:06 am

Oh yes you can .....

Post by Dutchmm » Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:20 am

linux :/ no good, need something which can do it for XP:)
On your Windows PC, you load the VMWare player. This allows you to run VMWare appliances. Now you download one of the linux appliances from the VMWare website, and you "play" the appliance with the VMWare player. Thanks to the clever engineering of the vmware player, you get a network connection from the linux guest to the stanford web site. And Bob's your uncle. You can download the linux SMP client and run it. As long as you leave the player playing, the folding continues. You minimise the "guest" desktop, and you won't know it's happening.

All the major software vendors use these VM appliances to run their technical courses. As jamesavery22 says, it is a much much cleaner way to transport a working environment from one PC to another.

O yes, and both the player and appliances are free.

HTH

Mike

VanWaGuy
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:01 am
Location: Vancouver Wa USA

Post by VanWaGuy » Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:03 am

Just a quick addition to what Dutchman says above, there is also a free version of server that allows you to configure a virtual machine, load your OS of choice, and save the virtual machine, just in case you dont find exactly the appliance you need. (Might be more secure to build your own so that you know for sure what is in it, beside the obvious can't find one with the functionality you need case.)

On my Windows box, I am folding in a VM as Dutchman mentions above. On my machine, Windows use is a little slow unless I set the priority down in the task manager. If I do that, it folds 24/7 and is still very responsive when I am there stealing cycles from folding.

mellon
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:17 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Post by mellon » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:49 pm

Just to restate differently what "wrong" among others has said: it seems that this product really has little to do with virtualization and definately nothing to do with the company VMware.

It is quite likely that it is simply a specific configuration of multiple X windows with separate ServerLayouts, or so my more knowledgeable friend says :)

Palindroman
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 am

Post by Palindroman » Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:20 am

What kind of hardware would you need to run for instance five Ubuntu-stations on one pc? What configuration for 10 stations?

VanWaGuy
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:01 am
Location: Vancouver Wa USA

Post by VanWaGuy » Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:45 am

Hi Palindroman,

The biggest limiting factor, and probably first question that I can think of that would need to be answered is how much memory do you plan to dedicate to each of the VMs?

I tend to run them one at a time, but have a few around for different purposes. I have friends who have set up VMs with console only installs, and they have allocated them small memory sizes and they have run a few at a time.

Palindroman
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 am

Post by Palindroman » Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:21 pm

VanWaGuy wrote:Hi Palindroman,

The biggest limiting factor, and probably first question that I can think of that would need to be answered is how much memory do you plan to dedicate to each of the VMs?

I tend to run them one at a time, but have a few around for different purposes. I have friends who have set up VMs with console only installs, and they have allocated them small memory sizes and they have run a few at a time.
I'm thinking of a situation where the Userful software is used. For instance an internet cafe or school where 5-10 monitors+keyboards+mice are plugged into one PC. RAM is obviously important but with 4 GB you get quite far I think. You need video cards and USB expansion cards or hubs. What kind of CPU would you need though?

Yahoolian
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:41 am

Post by Yahoolian » Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:55 pm

as mentioned repeatedly already, userful is not virtualization. and unless i'm mistaken, RAM is dynamically allocated. i would say go with a quad-core processor if you're going to have 10 people on the same PC.
Hardware:

Processor:

* Minimum: Pentium III-class (450MHz)
* Recommended: Pentium 4 1.7 GHz or better

Memory:

* Minimum: 192 MB (plus 64MB for each additional station)
* Recommended: 256 MB (plus 128MB for each additional station)

Note: Faster systems will result in better performance for all users. A high-performance hard disk with a large cache (e.g., 8MB to 16MB cache) is recommended.

Free Hard Disk Space: 15 MB
http://userful.com/download/install?p=dm

Palindroman
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 am

Post by Palindroman » Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:00 am

Yahoolian wrote:as mentioned repeatedly already, userful is not virtualization. and unless i'm mistaken, RAM is dynamically allocated. i would say go with a quad-core processor if you're going to have 10 people on the same PC.
Hardware:

Processor:

* Minimum: Pentium III-class (450MHz)
* Recommended: Pentium 4 1.7 GHz or better

Memory:

* Minimum: 192 MB (plus 64MB for each additional station)
* Recommended: 256 MB (plus 128MB for each additional station)

Note: Faster systems will result in better performance for all users. A high-performance hard disk with a large cache (e.g., 8MB to 16MB cache) is recommended.

Free Hard Disk Space: 15 MB
http://userful.com/download/install?p=dm
Thanks, Yahoolian. Somehow I couldn't find this info.

HexiumVII
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:37 pm

Post by HexiumVII » Tue Dec 25, 2007 9:44 pm

Jetway has mobos that do this with Windows XP. I just ordered 2 cuz i have old P4 systems that new mobos and found them dirt cheap. I guess it didn't catch on.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/11/19/jetway/

scdr
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:49 pm
Location: Upper left hand corner, USA

Post by scdr » Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:11 am

Palindroman wrote:
I'm thinking of a situation where the Userful software is used. For instance an internet cafe or school where 5-10 monitors+keyboards+mice are plugged into one PC. RAM is obviously important but with 4 GB you get quite far I think. You need video cards and USB expansion cards or hubs. What kind of CPU would you need though?
Seems like one of the critical resources might be PCI slots, or possibly bandwidth on the USB busses. Space and cable management would of course also take careful planning.
It depends a lot on your applications. If you can get by without sound, then you could get by with 4 dual-head PCI graphics cards (assuming a dual head primary card). But if you need sound (e.g. so users could view videos, etc.) then you need a bunch more sound cards (assuming it will support them), or bunch more USB bandwidth for USB sound cards.
Either way - getting 10 users connected to one machine means some careful thought about room arrangement and cabling.

I would wonder if the decrease in flexibility, security and making large numbers of stations dependent on one machine are worth the potential savings in power and maintenance.
* If multiple stations share a USB bus - how do you prevent users from spying on other's keystrokes.
* If one shared server machine goes down, you lose 5-10 user stations.
This may not be a big deal if you have several clusters, but if that is the whole system then everyone is stuck. Swapping in a spare is going to mean messing with a whole mass of cables.

Palindroman
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 am

Post by Palindroman » Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:48 am

I read some more on the Userful website. Not only do they supply the software, but the PC as well:

'Package: The 10-to-1 Userful Appliance includes the central computer box, peripherals and software. The central computer box is a 3 GHz CPU with 2 GB of DDR RAM configured with 12 USB ports and 10 video heads. Included peripherals consist of 10 USB keyboards, 10 USB mice and appropriate cabling.'

So the video heads is taken care of (is there such a thing as quadruple-head PCI cards?) and in that Youtube-flick I saw the keyboards had audio jacks. However, I agree with this:
* If multiple stations share a USB bus - how do you prevent users from spying on other's keystrokes.
* If one shared server machine goes down, you lose 5-10 user stations.
This may not be a big deal if you have several clusters, but if that is the whole system then everyone is stuck. Swapping in a spare is going to mean messing with a whole mass of cables.
Especially that last thing is something I'm wondering about.

Mats
Posts: 3044
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:54 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Mats » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:38 am

cloneman wrote:aw crap, linux only?
jmke wrote:linux :/ no good, need something which can do it for XP:)
I've just found a solution, but I don't know anything about it.
I hope someone would like to try it! :wink:
Only free 15-day trial though.

Post Reply