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Old 11-21-2009, 08:52 AM   #1
skola
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Which virt-software can use most hardware on host?


Hello to all, new to Forum. Been trying out some Linux distros.

Need to run a presently working in normal partition older windows setup in a virtual machine.

The Host knows about all the PC's hardware which is working fine, things like: disks, dvd, usb, serial/parallel ports, soundcard, soundcard ports-joystick, midi, network card.

So, is there any virtualisation software which will connect with the host to allow the guest access to _all_ or at least most hardware that works in the host?

The really important ones for me are: serial/parallel ports and the soundcard-joystick.

I have had a brief play with VirtualBox. Not so good for this. It does ok if I want to run another Linux distro off a cd or iso file.

Also Qemu. It was faster than Vbox but again not good for ports or joystick.

I'd really like to know if people have used something that does this or just tell me that technically it's not possible.

thanks
 
Old 11-22-2009, 01:20 AM   #2
zeno0771
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Once you rule out VBox and Qemu, that pretty much leaves VMware, and their desktop products won't get you a lot further than VBox. I've personally used a USB joystick in VBox and it has serial port support. The whole idea behind these setups is that they emulate the hardware used to run the guest, hence "virtual" machine.

You could try a "bare-metal" hypervisor like Xen or Vmware ESXi, but even then there will be compromises, not the least of which is that they basically serve as the host OS.

I've found that if you have a spare machine to run the VMs on you can VNC to it and the guest OS will use the local hardware (even works for Aero Glass in Windows if you care about that sort of thing).
 
Old 11-22-2009, 06:46 AM   #3
skola
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hi there,

Yes, I get the point of the "virtual machine emulating...". And I was short in not saying that Vbox certainly does serial, although I've had difficulty in making it stick, like assigning /dev/ttyS0 over reboots.

It's the point of there being code which integrates with the host system giving the basics so why does it stop there, so to speak. In another way AIUI, when installing a Guest, the VM presents a "bios" representing what hardware there is on the Host and the Guest O/S picks that up as can be seen, in the case of an MS O/S, in a System Manager display. So I then ask why did the developers stop at a certain point. Note that this is just continuing the conversation and I know anyone would say to me, just ask the developers

you said:
[You could try a "bare-metal" hypervisor like Xen or Vmware ESXi, but even then there will be compromises, not the least of which is that they basically serve as the host OS.]

I'm not familiar with these. Do they install into my running Linux or do they run alone, as in boot into them?

you said:
[I've found that if you have a spare machine to run the VMs on you can VNC to it and the guest OS will use the local hardware (even works for Aero Glass in Windows if you care about that sort of thing).]

Aside from a trial some time ago, I don't "network" pcs and only know about having a few seperate pcs into a router. I don't quite get that. If pc-A has Linux Host and a VM using the network card integration and pc-B has, what, Linux also? Which pc's keyboard am I using to manipulate the VM Guest and which is the "local hardware".
 
Old 11-22-2009, 06:47 AM   #4
skola
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hi there,

Yes, I get the point of the "virtual machine emulating...". And I was short in not saying that Vbox certainly does serial, although I've had difficulty in making it stick, like assigning /dev/ttyS0 over reboots.

It's the point of there being code which integrates with the host system giving the basics so why does it stop there, so to speak. In another way AIUI, when installing a Guest, the VM presents a "bios" representing what hardware there is on the Host and the Guest O/S picks that up as can be seen, in the case of an MS O/S, in a System Manager display. So I then ask why did the developers stop at a certain point. Note that this is just continuing the conversation and I know anyone would say to me, just ask the developers

you said:
[You could try a "bare-metal" hypervisor like Xen or Vmware ESXi, but even then there will be compromises, not the least of which is that they basically serve as the host OS.]

I'm not familiar with these. Do they install into my running Linux or do they run alone, as in boot into them?


you said:
[I've found that if you have a spare machine to run the VMs on you can VNC to it and the guest OS will use the local hardware (even works for Aero Glass in Windows if you care about that sort of thing).]

Aside from a trial some time ago, I don't "network" pcs and only know about having a few seperate pcs into a router. I don't quite get that. If pc-A has Linux Host and a VM using the network card integration and pc-B has, what, Linux also? Which pc's keyboard am I using to manipulate the VM Guest and which is the "local hardware".
 
Old 11-23-2009, 12:45 AM   #5
zeno0771
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skola View Post

you said:
[You could try a "bare-metal" hypervisor like Xen or Vmware ESXi, but even then there will be compromises, not the least of which is that they basically serve as the host OS.]

I'm not familiar with these. Do they install into my running Linux or do they run alone, as in boot into them?
The original ESX from VMware ran a modified Linux 2.4 kernel and is, essentially, the operating system; ESXi does away with the Linux aspect but is still installed standalone. It is supposed to be more efficient but has its quirks with regard to what type of storage solutions it'll work with. Xen can be had both ways, and the choices with them can get rather confusing so I would recommend checking them out for yourself to see if they are right for you at http://www.xen.org/. As it happens, I was researching these same solutions myself when I noticed your post, so I'm finding out about them too. For instance, Xen runs on a 2.6.18 kernel, so it will only be compatible with hardware with which that kernel is compatible. That alone is a showstopper for me, as I'm running an Intel Socket 775 and need the coretemp module (among other things). I may compile it into a 2.6.18-xen kernel if I ever feel that motivated but it's not looking good. In the meantime check out http://techtooltip.wordpress.com/200...n-virtual-box/...it's about a year old but I don't see why it wouldn't apply.
Quote:
Originally Posted by skola View Post
you said:
[I've found that if you have a spare machine to run the VMs on you can VNC to it and the guest OS will use the local hardware (even works for Aero Glass in Windows if you care about that sort of thing).]

Aside from a trial some time ago, I don't "network" pcs and only know about having a few seperate pcs into a router. I don't quite get that. If pc-A has Linux Host and a VM using the network card integration and pc-B has, what, Linux also? Which pc's keyboard am I using to manipulate the VM Guest and which is the "local hardware".
There are as many ways to do this as there are OSes with which to do it. For instance, my LAN is set up with static IP; further, I set my VMs up bridged so that they appear to be just more machines on the router; give each its own IP and you can have an entire virtual LAN, up to 253 machines running at a time. That said, you can run the hypervisor (VMware, VBox, whichever) and the VM on PC A, then VNC (or rdesktop) to it from PC B. This results (usually) in the VM using PC B's hardware, your only limitation being the speed of the network connection with gigabit ethernet being pretty much a requirement for running VMs over a network; standard 10/100 is possible but it'll slow things down. Most enterprise VM networks are using fiber and SAS storage.

I personally have managed to host Windows 7 in VMware on one machine, RDP to it from another machine and have Aero enabled (VNC port 5900 in the VMware console) before VMware could do it locally. I've done the same with an Ubuntu install running Compiz as well as Mac OS 10.5.8 (Mac was a native install and an exception to the rule). In addition, VBox is capable of running "headless" as a server, hosting VMs to other physical machines. The reason I bring these up as examples is that, until recently, graphics emulation has been the Holy Grail of VMMs; it's difficult to do and takes fat resources. The biggest problem I've had with VBox is that USB performance seems to lag a bit (then again, I have no need for serial like you do so YMMV); the biggest problem with VMware Workstation is of course the price, namely that there is one.

What I've found with VMMs is that everyone's needs are different. In the not-too-distant future I'll build a dual-1366 Xeon heater but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of just doing a minimal Arch64 install and running VBox on top of a plain X-server; I can network the hell out of it and I don't have to get too creative with storage or anything.
 
Old 11-23-2009, 07:32 AM   #6
skola
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eek, how did I double-post?

anyway, thanks for info which I'll digest at leisure. Still, the 2 PC setup seems a bit proverbial sledgehammer/nut! I just wish the VM developers -or the sites- would say exactly what hardware it will/won't emulate/share under a host.
 
Old 11-24-2009, 01:43 AM   #7
zeno0771
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Didn't notice the double-post until you said something

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search

You fill in the blank-o's and they'll tell you what's compatible with what; expect to be there awhile though.

VirtualBox didn't have anything that I could find relating specifically to hardware support but IMO it wouldn't matter anyway, they develop VBox so fast the information would probably be obsolete in 3 months anyway. That said, they have a bunch of different how-to's on the site and the nuts 'n' bolts are Qemu-related, which might help you narrow things down a bit. Sun might have more in one of the dev forums for your specific needs. HTH
 
  


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