Sun xVM VirtualBox is released!

VirtualBox 1.6 is out. Note that now you can use Mac OS X and Solaris as a host platform. Naturally, having Mac OS X support excites me.

I tried installing a Ubuntu 8.04 server guest. Found a tiny issue – 64-bit guests aren’t supported yet :( So I pulled in the 32-bit ISO, and that installed just fine. Note that PAE support for guests exist now, and this is a good step in the right direction.

Sun’s building an OpenxVM community, which currently focus on xVM and xVM VirtualBox. It also harnesses technologies like Open Service Tag. All in all, I think a lot of MySQL users should be interested in virtualization, as there is a growing amount of hardware out there with many, many cores available for use.

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 server and getting past the kernel not booting
This is more of an Ubuntu problem, than a VirtualBox problem, but I faced an issue:

The kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU
0:6
Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU

Turns out, the problem was the wrong kernel was installed. Rescue Ubuntu, and install linux-generic. For reference, look at Unable to boot 8.04 Alpha 3 Server install on laptop and also the fix.

  • http://www.oddments.org/ Eric Day

    Very cool, thanks for sharing! I *almost* bought Parallels a couple weeks ago, and now I’m glad I didn’t. :)

    One comment on MySQL usage though, virtualization may not be worthwhile due to the extra I/O layers. Also, if you have the images for two (or more) virtual machines running MySQL on the same physical hard drive, they are doing to compete for the raw I/O performance, ultimately slowing things down more. For small databases this may be fine, but if you’re trying to utilize all your cores, you’re going to hit I/O issues first. You could always dedicate one (or more) physical hard drives to each virtual machine image running a database, but this won’t scale too well once we hit 32-core CPUs! :)

  • http://www.bytebot.net/ byte

    Hi Eric!

    Good to note that you can now save money :)

    With regards to virtualization, a certain large whale in the database market, has certified their stack in a virtualized platform. Xen seems to be all the rage…

    There’s Xen, KVM/Qemu, VMware, and now VirtualBox and xVM… While I do understand the I/O issues you mention, maybe virtualization works well for shared hosting environments? Beats me, I think we need to study it carefully…

    I wish I had some more time, and if I do, I’ll be sure to “slap”[1] mysql inside a virtualised environment just to see what kind of use case scenarios it can be used for.

    Also, keep in mind that mysql has traditionally always been scale out… Sun’s got lots of cool hardware that does scale up (CMT chips for instance). There must be some “middle ground” or use cases…

    kind regards

    [1] – slap, via mysqlslap… and other benchmarking tools, I’m sure

  • http://openquery.com.au/ Arjen Lentz

    For db servers, virtualisation is generally not a sensible solution for production/performance. For testing, great.

  • synack

    Hi,

    The changelog says (v-1.6.0):
    * Experimental Physical Address Extension (PAE) support

    Now, install as usual and finish installation, it should boot normally… It’s OK on my Leopard & VB-1.6.0 and ubuntu lts 32-bit (8.04)

  • synack

    Ops, forgot to mention that it has to be enabled (PAE support)

  • http://www.oddments.org/ Eric Day

    Very cool, thanks for sharing! I *almost* bought Parallels a couple weeks ago, and now I'm glad I didn't. :)

    One comment on MySQL usage though, virtualization may not be worthwhile due to the extra I/O layers. Also, if you have the images for two (or more) virtual machines running MySQL on the same physical hard drive, they are doing to compete for the raw I/O performance, ultimately slowing things down more. For small databases this may be fine, but if you're trying to utilize all your cores, you're going to hit I/O issues first. You could always dedicate one (or more) physical hard drives to each virtual machine image running a database, but this won't scale too well once we hit 32-core CPUs! :)


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