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Old 04-05-2008, 12:32 AM   #1
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Converting a Dual Boot Box and Network Into Virtual Machines

With my new 2.3 GHz dual core BE-2400 box with 2GB of RAM (first new box in 10 years ), I want finally to migrate to Slackware full time. I cannot abandon Windows completely, for personal and professional reasons, but with my new hardware, running virtual machines seems the ideal way for me to go. I've been experimenting to this end for a couple of weekends with qemu.

Previous Setup:

On my dual boot box I have Windows NT4 and Slackware installed. My second box created a third environment using only Slackware. The two boxes were networked, but of course, I could connect my second box to only one of either two OSs on my first box.

Both physical boxes were connected to a Linksys WRT54GL router/switch running DD-WRT. Both boxes were configured to use the router as the internet gateway. I used static addresses. I mapped the IP addresses and hostnames in the respective hosts files. Simple and straightforward. I saw no reason to use DHCP.

Ideal New Setup:

My new box has replaced my previous second box and is connected the same. The Linksys is still the router/switch with the same static address. The new box uses the same static address as my old second box. My dual boot box remains connected.

I'd like to migrate my dual boot box into two virtual environments on my new box. I'd like to maintain my original basic network setup, but within virtual environments. Essentially, I'd have my new box hosting Slackware, and then run Windows NT4 and Slackware in virtual environments. One physical box, three machines.

I expect to experiment with additional virtual machines (I'll obtain more RAM if necessary). From what I have read, Virtual Distributed Ethernet (VDE) probably is my best route to allow all virtual machines to communicate with one another.

If possible I prefer to continue not using DHCP within my virtual network. That is, can I use static IP addresses in my virtual machines rather than DHCP? If not, can DHCP always assign the same address to each virtual machine?

I'd like to keep my old setup as much as possible. Is this doable? If so, I'd appreciate a simple punch list of what I need to do or consider. I have some web sites bookmarked for further study, yet as with so many things with my new box, networking virtual machines is very new to me.

I'll appreciate insight and direction. Thanks again.
Old 04-16-2008, 12:51 PM   #2
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Virtual Machines

I have never tried qemu so I do not know how much help this will be but in the wish to try and be helpful have you looked at VMWare Server and/or VirtualBox as alternatives?

Both are free, work very well and are real easy to install and use. Both can provide your virtual machines with what appear to the virtual Pc's as 'true' network cards allowing you to use static or DHCP assigned IP addresses in any combination. (By the way DHCP can be made to give a Pc real or virtual the same IP address every time based on the Nic's MAC address but in a small home network there is not much point just use static IP's it a lot easier).

With VMWare there is a utility called (from memory p2v I think) that can convert a physical (real) pc to a virtual one allowing you to 'suck' your existing real PC setup in a virtual one saving you hours and hours or re-installing.

Perhaps qemu can do all these things to!!!!! Any way good luck which ever way you choice to go.

Old 04-18-2008, 10:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. I have been experimenting with VirtualBox 1.5.6 the past few weekends and am very pleased. I expect I will be able to do much or all of what I hoped when I posted originally. Eventually I likely will post my results at my web site.


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