Home > In the News > Interview with Diane Greene, CEO VMware Interview with Diane Greene, CEO VMware Eugenia Loli 2004-02-15 In the News 8 Comments VMware’s CEO, Diane Greene, gives an interesting interview to IT-Director regarding the recently acquired company. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 8 Comments 2004-02-15 2:39 pm With such a steep price tag, I wonder why do they bother with desktop at all. Their strength is server virtualization and thats why EMC bought them. Virtual PC is just as good but at a much less price. Though it won’t run on a Linux host. 2004-02-15 3:17 pm “Now you can run Windows 2003, Novell NetWare and Linux concurrently on the same server, at the same time.” True, you can. But there are also many other VM’s which allow the same. The question is: performance. The best answer might not be VMware (1). For example coLinux (2) could be a viable alternative for host/Windows guest/Linix whereas Win4lin (3) could be a viable alternative for host/Linux guest/Windows whereas for running host/Linux host/Linux there’s Xen (4). Granted, these are rather niche VM’s, but there’s so much more (5) than this overhyped VMware program! (1) http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/performance.html (2) http://www.colinux.org (3) http://www.netraverse.com (4) http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/ (5) http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/wiki.pl?Emulator 2004-02-15 7:54 pm Xen looks interesting to run linux on linux, but it does require a special kernal. Does thin mean that if I try to install a std redhat/debian linux it will nok work? And they don’t support 2.6 yet. A shame as it would have been really nice way to test 2.6 widtout to much damage to my system. 2004-02-15 9:02 pm > Does thin mean that if I try to install a std redhat/debian linux it will nok work? Kernel: no, userspace: yes (so you can’t just grab a FC2 beta iso and run it with Xen) > A shame as it would have been really nice way to test 2.6 widtout to much damage to my system. AFAIK even the host kernel has to be modified and be run under Xen in order to allow simultanous execution. BTW, does anybody know how far VMWare got with AMD64 support (at least on the host)? The article doesn’t have much info on what’s going on with VMWare, just marketing noise… 2004-02-15 10:50 pm I personally feel Microsoft Virtual PC rocks. It has comparable performance to VMWare but much better non-standard OS support. It works well with almost all x86 OS where as VMWare only works well with supported ones. Try running BeOS in VMWare will most probably choke it. I love Virtual PC, way to go baby! 2004-02-15 11:07 pm http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/ QEMU is also coming along nicely! 2004-02-16 1:03 am Regarding VMWARE and alternative solutions. This is true that VMWARE ESX server performance is not that great compared with solutions such as Xen. However please do keep in mind that XEN requires extensively modified Linux kernel. No way you can run off the shelf Linux distribution. As simple as that. Just read the paper XEN has on their site. VMWARE ESX server OTOH runs unmodified linux or windows kernel. This introduces the host of problems which need to be solved, at the cost of lower efficiency. In fact, considering all the gotchas you have to go through to virtualize x86 artchitecture, it is quite amazing that ESX server actually works fairly well. Ditto for VMWare workstation. Because the requirement is to run unmodified guest, VMWARE WS architecture is a bit convoluted, and introduces some inefficiencies. Yet it works, and works quite well. In some sense, its design is cleaner than user-mode-linux (also convoluted, requires kernel patches, and works only for Linux). In general, when dealing with x86 architecture you have a choice of runing unmodified guest OS at the cost of some inefficiencies and not-so-clean architectural design (VMWARE) or the host of other semi-academic semi-experimental projects such as UMLinux, UML (user-mode-linux), or XEN which introduce extensive patches to the kernel and thus severely limit this solution as a production environment. Such is a nature of the beast. x86 isn’t suitable for virtualization. Period. Trying to create virtual machine, you have to jump through many hoops. XEN, incidently, can’t even be called Virtual Machine per so. Their designers call it ‘paravirtualization’: hypervisor (virtual machine monitor) is more or less tightly integrated with a guest OS, so the extent of modifications required is much higher than say in user-mode-linux. Personally I have no vested interest in VMWARE, but have very positive experience with VMWARE workstation, runing standard RH9.0 as a guest. 2004-02-16 1:34 am Virtualization is a great bridge mechanism but ultimately open standards are more important. You don’t have to virtualize what you can implement yourself. There will always be a niche for virtualization as a bridge, but I don’t see it becoming an “essential part of the computing stack” as their CEO does.