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Old 10-24-2009, 07:09 PM   #1
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Revised search for virtualization

Currently I am using QEMU. It's slow. Given that it is based on instruction emulation, that's to be expected. When running 32 bit on 32 bit, the performance is adequate. But I need to run 64 bit on 32 bit and that is where it gets too slow.

It also has some memory allocation issues because it requires mapping in /dev/shm which I have set up on tmpfs. I can't get more than 2 instances of QEMU running with any decent memory.

I'm looking for a virtualization program that could improve on this. I have the following needs:

1. Be able to run a guest 64-bit Linux kernel on host 32-bit system with 32-bit kernel and 32-bit libraries, in an x86/x86_64 situation.

2. Not require running any daemons or common processes. Each virtual machine instance should be entirely autonomous. One exception would be a program to create virtual LANs for the virtual machines to interconnect with each other and to bridge to the outside world. But even this must still allow each user to run their own LAN program instance (and be separate from other users). My current project will not need network access.

3. Not require root to run (running as root for installation is OK). A user should be able to configure and run a virtual machine without any executable being suid for root. One exception would be network bridging to the outside world.

4. Not require special memory configurations when the required memory can be met within a 32-bit process via mmap/sbrk. That should allow around 1GB easily.

5. Not require anything special of the host kernel, including no modules to be loaded. Modules that improve performance would not be needed if the performance is adequate. The performance of QEMU x86 on host x86 is adequate (QEMU amd64 on x86 is where the performance issue is).

This is not for the purpose of running a production system in a virtual machine. Instead, it is for testing dual architecture initrd/initramfs programs. I just want to get something faster than what QEMU is doing. Twice as fast would be great. As fast as the host isn't necessary (and even unlikely given that the host is 32-bit and I need to run a 64-bit kernel).

I am looking at VirtualBox based on a prior question. That question was not detailed enough, and while VirtualBox seems like it meets what I asked, it does not appear to be what I need, now that I am aware of more issues that virtualization imposes.
Old 10-27-2009, 11:42 AM   #2
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I do not know of a virtualisation soft that allows you to run an x86_64 guest on a 32bit host.
Old 10-27-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
Teo En Ming
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Originally Posted by thegeek View Post
I do not know of a virtualisation soft that allows you to run an x86_64 guest on a 32bit host.
I don't think that would be possible.


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