[CentOS] virtualization on the desktop a myth, or a reality?

Rudi Ahlers Rudi at SoftDux.com
Wed Mar 2 17:29:29 UTC 2011

I am busy setting up some XEN servers on a SAN for high availability
and Cloud Computing, and thought it could be cool to setup
virtualization on a CentOS 5.5 Desktop, running on a Core i3 + 4GB
RAM, and use the SAN's storage to see if it could actually be worth my
while to replicate a Cloud Computing setup in the office. And, cause I
got a bit bored waiting for a few RAID-sets to finish initializing.

So, I installed CentOS + KDE, chose the Virtualization package and
used Virtual Machine Manager to setup another CentOS VM inside CentOS
(I only have a CentOS ISO on this SAN, since we don't use Debian /
Slackware / FC / Ubuntu / etc). The installation was probably about
the same speed as it would be on raw hardware. But, using the
interface is painfully slow. I opened up Firefox and browsed the web a
bit. The mouse cursor lagged a bit and whenever I loaded a slow /
large website, it seemed asif the whole VM lagged behind.

The Virtual Machine didn't use much resources. I allocated 1CPU core &
512MB RAM to it

Yes, I know that I could have used KVM, VMWare or VirtualBox, but I
wanted to use what's included already. Cause, let's face it, many
people (even though they're technically advanced users) don't know

And, granted, when we install Virtual Machines on a XEN server, we
don't ever use X since the servers we run as web / email / database /
file servers, so there's no need for X.

BUT, I want(ed) to see if this is a reality for the average desktop
user, or not really (yet?) seeing as most modern PC's have far more
CPU & RAM resources than what is actually needed by most. I'm not
talking about developers / graphic designers / etc. I'm talking about
Bob, who uses his PC for email, internet, document writing, etc and
needs to boot into Windows if he feels like playing Warcraft III or
StarCraft II, or use Pastel, etc.

Wouldn't it be nice to run Windows, of for that matter Solaris /
FreeBSD / MAC (graphics designer) / another flavor of Linux / etc
inside your favorite Linux, and access it from the Desktop without too
much trouble?

Kind Regards
Rudi Ahlers

Website: http://www.SoftDux.com
Technical Blog: http://Blog.SoftDux.com
Office: 087 805 9573
Cell: 082 554 7532

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