While the Kernel-based Vitual Machine (KVM), VMware, and VirtualBox have been generating most of the attention as of late when it comes to Linux virtualization, Xen is still alive and kicking. In fact, the Xen development team just announced the release of Xen 3.4.0.
QEMU 0.10.0 was released earlier this month as the first major update to this open-source processor emulator in more than a year. Being pushed out yesterday afternoon was now the first point release for QEMU 0.10.0. This newest update to QEMU contains a variety of fixes from screen corruption to fixing the console size with tiny displays.
VirtualBox, the popular virtualization software platform owned by Sun Microsystems (though Sun may soon be owned by IBM), has been reaching a number of 3D milestones in the past few months. Back in December, Sun had introduced OpenGL acceleration for Windows guests through a modified OpenGL driver for the XP/Vista virtualized operating systems that would then execute the OpenGL calls through the host operating system and its driver/hardware. A month later that support was extended to include Direct3D acceleration on guest operating systems (well, just Windows operating systems for DirectX) through a modified driver and using part of WINE to translate the Direct3D calls into OpenGL. Sun Microsystems has just released the first beta for VirtualBox 2.2 and it includes more 3D work as well. This time, virtualized Linux guests now have OpenGL 3D acceleration support!
QEMU, the popular open-source processor emulator that can be run as a user-space program and also has found its way into use by the KVM and VirtualBox projects, will soon reach version 0.10.0 As was announced on the QEMU development list, a 0.10.0 branch has been created in its SVN repository and the 0.10.0 release has been made available. This release does bring some exciting changes.
While VMware's virtualization platform has been popular with many Linux users, its entire virtualization infrastructure has been closed-source. This though may change to some extent. VMware has announced the release of View Open Client, which is an open-source program to view VMware-hosted virtualized desktops. The code to View Open Client is being made freely available in hopes of VMware's partners adapting the code to the needs of their clients. This code is being distributed under the LGPL 2.1 license.
Last month VirtualBox 2.1 was released with several interesting changes and among them was support for OpenGL. With this latest open-source virtualization software from Sun Microsystems, it became possible to run some OpenGL programs within a guest virtual machine while allowing the host system's graphics card to accelerate the drawing. All the modifications that are needed by the guest operating systems is to just install a VirtualBox OpenGL driver. What was missing, however, was support for the Direct3D API, but that is now emerging within the VirtualBox camp.
Sun Microsystems has announced the release this morning of VirtualBox 2.1 with several enticing additions. VirtualBox 2.1 introduces support for hardware virtualization (through Intel VT and AMD's AMD-V) on Mac OS X host systems, support for 64-bit guest operating systems on 32-bit host systems, support for Intel Nehalem (Core i7) virtualization enhancements, full VMDK/VHD support, a new NAT engine, and new Host Interface Networking implementations on Linux and Windows. Perhaps though one of the most exciting changes in VirtualBox 2.1 is initial support for OpenGL acceleration on the guest operating systems.
VirtualBox 2.0.4 has been released this morning as the second maintenance release in the 2.0 series. This virtualizer for x86 hardware that's owned by Sun Microsystems now has better reporting for VT-x failures, Qt interface fixes, virtualization crash fixes, Solaris host support for Crossbow Virtual Network Interfaces, Ubuntu 8.10 support, Linux clipboard fixes, and other changes. The VirtualBox change-log can be viewed on the project's Wiki. Download VirtualBox 2.0.4 here.
XenSource today has announced the release of Xen 3.3.0. This update to this popular open-source virtual machine adds power management support to the hypervisor (the C and P states), HVM emulation domains, PVGrub, improved PV performance, improvements to the shadow page-table algorithm. hardware-assisted paging enhancements, CPUID feature leveling, PVSCSI drivers, HVM frame-buffer optimizations, device pass-through enhancements, full x86 real-mode emulation for HVM guests on Intel VT, and finally a new QEMU merge against upstream development. Xen 3.3.0 also has other changes for the x86 and IA64 versions. The mailing list release announcement can be found at XenSource.
It went under our radar due to the KDE 4.0 release event, but this week XenSource had released Xen 3.2.0. This is the first official Xen virtualization release in the 3.2 branch, which arrives with a number of new features. Among the mentioned end-user features are Xen Security Modules, ACPI S3 suspend-to-RAM for the host system, support for more boot-loaders in fully virtualized guests, faster emulation of standard VGA modes for HVM guests, and configurable timer modes for HVM guests (in some situations). In addition, Xen 3.2.0 introduces other changes for all supported machine architectures and improved "architectural cleanliness" for this virtualization environment. More information and source download links are available from the XenSource announcement.
QEMU, an open-source processor emulator, is out today with a new release. QEMU 0.9.1 introduces just under two dozen changes and is just under a year since the release of QEMU 0.9.0. Among the new changes in QEMU 0.9.1 include TFTP booting from host directory, monitor multiplexing to several I/O channels, CPU model selection support, support for MIPS 64-bit FPU and MIPS64, SVM x86 virtualization capabilities, strace for Linux user-land emulation, and VMware SVGA II graphics card support. The complete change-log and download links are available from the QEMU website.
It's been a while, but Xen for Solaris has finally been updated. John Levon poimts out that this latest build is based upon Xen 3.0.4 and Solaris "Nevada" Build 66. Some of the improvements in this latest build include PAE support, HVM support, new virt-manager tools, improved debugging support, and last but not least is managed domain support. The download for the July 2007 Solaris Xen update can be found over at Sun's website.
This week we've seen Xen and KVM updates for the Linux 2.6.23 kernel and now LGuest was merged into the Linux kernel yesterday. LGuest is a simple hypervisor for Linux on Linux that doesn't require AMD or Intel virtualization technology. This 5,000 line hypervisor does take about a 30% performance hit but the performance will likely improve with time. With this minimal hypervisor you just "modprobe and go". More information on LGuest is available in the kernel git commit and at Kernel Trap.
Yesterday Linus Torvalds merged Jeremy Fitzhardinge's latest xen-upstream branch into the Linux kernel. Among the Xen virtualization changes include adding a virtual network device driver, virtual block device driver, Xenbus sysfs and virtual device hot-plug driver, and SMP guest support. The complete list of Xen changes can be found from the Kernel git commit. Thanks go out to Jeremey Fitzhardinge for pointing out this commit.
To further enhance the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) in the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is a number of interesting updates. In The Linux 2.6.23 kernel, KVM will now support SMP guests, performance improvements, suspend/resume fixes, and random fixes with other clean-ups. According to chatter on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, the SMP guests on a dual-core system was about 40% faster than a single-core processor. The KVM updates for the Linux 2.6.23-rc1 merging can be read at Google Groups.
Intel has announced today that they have invested $218.5 million into VMware Inc that produces a variety of virtualization solutions. This investment means Intel will own roughly 2.5% of VMware's outstanding common stock. With this investment, you can probably look for VMware software that is optimized for use on Intel's architecture. The press release is available from Intel.
In the 2.6.20 kernel we were presented with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) virtualization, and now in the Linux 2.6.21 kernel will mark the introduction of VMWare's VMI into the Linux upstream kernel. VMWare's kernel component will allow for para-virtualized operating systems to run within virtual machines. VMI is short for the Virtual Machine Interface, which was introduced in July of 2005. More information on the VMI Linux 2.6.21 introduction can be found at TechWorld.
QEMU Accelerator (KQEMU) the previously closed-source kernel module for offering increased performance with QEMU, is now open-source! This new version (version 1.3.0pre10) complies with the GNU GPL license. A detailed technical specification and API description for this virtualization accelerator is also available. QEMU 0.9.0 has also been released today.
Yesterday was the release of kvm-10. This new Kernel-based Virtual Machine release issues stabilization fixes, migration fixes, shadow page table caching, cleanup IRQ handling, and more hypercall work. KVM is available from SourceForge.
Interested in running guest operating systems whether it be Linux or Microsoft Windows? If you are running a recent x86 processor with either AMD or Intel virtualization technology support, you can benefit from one of the changes found in the Linux 2.6.20 kernel. KVM is short for Kernel-based Virtual Machine, which allows for full virtualization of unaltered guest operating systems. KVM Virtualization is easy to use and the user-space component is simply a modified version of QEMU. At Phoronix we have compared the performance of KVM against Xen and kqemu, and this article can be read here (discussion link).
While KVM -- Kernel-based Virtual Machine -- will appear in the mainline Linux 2.6.20 kernel release, ending off the year yesterday was a new KVM release (Release 9). New in this KVM virtualization release is API documentation, more stabilization fixes, and interactivity improvements. More on KVM and this release can be found at SourceForge.
Xen version 3.0.3 has been released. Xen 3.0.3 implements a new CPU scheduler, support for dynamic-allocation and copy-on-write disks, enhanced support for IA64 systems, initial support for PowerPC, and more. The downloads and release announcement is available here.
Spending some time this afternoon with QEMU, which can be attained from the official Fedora 5 Extras repository, the experience was quite pleasant to say the least -- not having tried QEMU since its v0.7.2 release last year. QEMU is a open-source processor emulator that uses dynamic translation. Some of the items tried with QEMU on Fedora Core 5 was memtest86+ v1.65, SimplyMEPIS v6.0, GParted LiveCD v0.2.4-2, and Gentoo v2006.0 x86 LiveCD. With each of these environments, there were no major performance problems running it on a Pentium M laptop after some tweaking was done with the configuration. In the near future we may be looking at a performance examination for QEMU under various operating systems -- however, that article is still in the early planning stages.
233 Virtualization news articles published on Phoronix.