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Old 2007-12-22, 22:55   #1
jasong
 
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Default Do we really need virtualization?

I've been thinking about virtualization and how the programmers, in general, are having trouble utilizing it. Personally, I'm wondering if virtualization is really the best solution for the problem. I've come up with a possible solution, and want people's input. I MOST DEFINITELY don't have the skills to do this, but I think it's something that people in the know need to consider.

CPU power and RAM costs, at least for 800MHz DDR2, are super cheap. Quad-cores are at a price point where people would seriously consider buying more of them, if only they could be utilized properly. Also, people are wanting to be able to use their own choice of operating system, but also might look at a product for another OS and say to themselves,"Wow, that's nifty, too bad I run such-and-such and can't use it." Well, what if there were a boot-loader that had a master OS, and the OS had the ability to restrict itself to certain cores. So if you were on one OS, like Windows, and wanted to run an Apple video conversion program, than a program would tell the boot-loader,"Hey, this program wants to run, so give the Apple OS to these two cores, and I'll run on the other two until you tell me I can do otherwise." So both programs would be running, using their own chunks of RAM, and if there were any problems, it would be up to the bootloader to decide what to do, or maybe send an error code to the master OS and ask it what to do.

What do you guys think?
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Old 2007-12-22, 23:08   #2
retina
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Problem is MS will take over the VM hypervisor control and then become the OS overlords.

Last fiddled with by retina on 2007-12-22 at 23:09
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Old 2007-12-23, 02:15   #3
ADBjester
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
Problem is MS will take over the VM hypervisor control and then become the OS overlords.
They aren't already?

Jeff
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Old 2007-12-23, 16:53   #4
dsouza123
 
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Programmers are not having a problem with virtualization.

If done very well there is no issue running most programs either
running the OS directly on the hardware with no intervening
layer or on a virtual machine (there is a performance hit
for the overhead of virtualization).

With virtualization you can already have multiple OSes running
simultaneously each in their own virtual machine.

The topic that is somewhat problematic is writing very efficient code using multiple processors, creating automatic parallelization and masking communication overhead between CPUs.
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Old 2007-12-23, 22:44   #5
Matt
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
What do you guys think?
It was my understanding that this is how virtualization systems already work. Could you restate what you feel the problem is?
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Old 2007-12-23, 23:22   #6
rogue
 
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The major OS vendors have no desire to "play nice". Why would Apple want someone double-clicking a Windows exe from the OS X environment to start up a Windows OS? Same goes for Windows. The point is that Apple wants users to own and run OS X specific software and Micro$oft wants users to own and run Windows specific software. This allows each vendor to independently tout the superiority of its OS.

Assuming Apple and M$ ever wanted this to happen there are other technical hurdles to overcome. One of the major ones is the filesystem. OS X is built on Unix and Windows is built on DOS. Little-endian vs. big-endian might also be an issue, but I don't know for certain if it still is considering that Apple is now selling Intel-based solutions. It would probably lead to droves of software vendors choosing to build a Windows only exe or OS X only exe. Obviously cheaper for the vendors, but ultimately costly for both Apple and M$. In theory it could spur true head to head competition for those OS's, but both companies fear losing market share.

BTW, Apple does support something similar to this on the PPC based Macs. If you are booted in to OS X, starting an OS 9 app will automatically start in virtual environment to run that app in. Although not exactly as you describe, it is similar. In this case Apple owns both OS's and OS X still controls CPU and memory usage. IMO, it was the best of both worlds.

Last fiddled with by WraithX on 2016-02-15 at 05:10
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Old 2007-12-24, 01:21   #7
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NTFS is a rip off of another one, not based on FAT. <grin>
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Old 2007-12-24, 01:24   #8
db597
 
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Virtulisation is a niche market. How many ordinary people even dual boot, not to mention need to run 2 OSes at the same time?
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Old 2007-12-24, 02:08   #9
rogue
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by db597 View Post
Virtulisation is a niche market. How many ordinary people even dual boot, not to mention need to run 2 OSes at the same time?
You would be surprised how often it is used in the business world. Typically virtualization is used to create a "black box". You allow someone, such as customer support from a vendor, into your network, but they are only allowed access via a virtual environment. The virtual environment is locked down and has the minimum software needed for support. You end up with a Windows environment within a Windows environment. The two environments cannot communicate directly with one another, not even copy and paste.
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Old 2007-12-24, 15:54   #10
fivemack
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Virtualisation is designed to address the fears of people, in companies large enough that the IT department has factions, that unreliable software written by faction 1 might bring down the machine running software written by faction 2.

Without virtualisation, you have to get the two factions one computer each to convince them that they can't afflict one another, and this means that large corporate data centres are often full of grotesquely under-used computers. With virtualisation, you can reduce this to a few well-used computers; yes, you're wasting some compute power on the virtualisation process, but that's much better than wasting whole computers for factional disagreement.
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Old 2007-12-24, 19:37   #11
Matt
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by db597 View Post
Virtulisation is a niche market. How many ordinary people even dual boot, not to mention need to run 2 OSes at the same time?
That's true for home users. For businesses, virtualization is really useful and is being adopted at a quick pace.
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