Virtualization and x86 : Xen

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Have you heard of Xen ?



Xen is a free open source software that enable virtualization (running an operating system on top of another) on open source operating system. Xen seems optimized to offer rather good performances. Xen is mainly written in C and Python.



With Xen you can currently run a Linux or FreeBSD operating system on top of another.



Investors Back New Open-Source Server Virtualization Company



What's interesting with this product is that couple with the hardware virtualization offered with new AMD and INTEL processor it will bring virtualization to close sources operating systems.



Image this software ported to a Mactel computer... and you could run multiple OS on top of MacOS X with an open source solution. No need for dual boot. It's certainly a software that is tied in some form with the operating system but it seems portable among Unixes...



Some will argue that this could potentially kill the Mac software development but as a developer myself I don't think so. Some developer could drop Mac support or avoid the porting of an application. But an application ran through an virtual operating system will never work as seamlessly as a native application. So a Mac user will always prefer native solutions. And as we can only expect that there will be more Mac users in the near term...

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,145member
    Interesting FrenchMac



    I was just talking about Intel's Vanderpool in the "Intel Platformization" thread.



    I don't think many people really understand what companies are trying to do with virtualization. I do think that virtualization does indeed change the dynamics of software development. Apple's reliance on hardware could be a weakness here as virtualization benefits companies with the proper software solutions.



    The move to multi core CPUs and Blade server will increase the desire for virtualization IMO. Blades already assist companies in server consolidation and now with virtualization the next step with partioning servers for multiple NOS is underway.



    PCI-Express will double in speed with the next major revision and likely contain Virtualization features. Eventually I expect everything from the storage subsystems to GPUs to support VT in hardware. Like a cell our computers will begin to split into sections.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    PCIExpress will integrate virtualization ? This could open interesting perspectives!



    I don't known if Apple will use virtualization in a blade front. It could open up some interesting possibilities in a multi nodes architecture (XGrid).



    I was looking at the possibilities from a work station or personal computer perspective.



    It seems that years to come will be interesting!
  • Reply 3 of 3
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,145member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by FrenchMac

    PCIExpress will integrate virtualization ? This could open interesting perspectives!



    I don't known if Apple will use virtualization in a blade front. It could open up some interesting possibilities in a multi nodes architecture (XGrid).



    I was looking at the possibilities from a work station or personal computer perspective.



    It seems that years to come will be interesting!






    Yeah check this out





    An even bigger shift is in the works for the first half of next year when the SIG is expected to complete its version 2.0 spec which boosts data rates from 2.5 to 5 GHz. For backwards compatibility, version 2.0 lets devices automatically negotiate to either version 1.0 or 2.0 data rates. It also includes expanded error reporting and an ability to make adjustments for faults in real time.



    The SIG also announced plans to extend the Express spec for virtualized I/O. The extension will allow multiple operating systems to access the same physical I/O resources either simultaneously or in serial fashion. The spec will define supersets for accessing I/O in a single or in a multihost environment.



    Software virtualization is seen as a key technique for making best use of the multicore, multithreaded processors beginning to proliferate in the PC market. Advanced Micro Devices and Intel are rolling out separate techniques for virtualizing their multicore processors. With the new spec, the SIG will extend those capabilities to Express-based I/O devices.



    Designers think virtualization ultimately will be applied to all PC systems ? even multitasking home computers. But its first target is server blades that are evolving towards stateless collections of compute boards in a single chassis linked on an Express mezzanine bus. The virtual I/O spec will allow those compute cards to share Express, Ethernet and storage I/O resources in and outside their chassis.

    The spec is still in an early stage, with the 19-company working group about to put a requirements document out for review. A completed spec is not expected until late in 2006 or early in 2007. It will also require hardware changes for chip makers who want to support its features.









    Also of note. PCI-Express over Copper







    One of the new applications is for a version of Express that runs over an external copper cable. The spec is seen as useful for any system that wants expanded I/O in a separate chassis. That includes some PC designs that might put a monitor, graphics and I/O in a desktop system and link to a desk-side system housing the CPU and hard disk. It could also be used by a server connecting to an optional I/O subsystem. Next-generation PCMCIA cards supporting Express slots may also want to use the cable to support links to other external devices.



    The SIG has yet to define the type of cable it will employ and how long the cable will reach. Because the cable will support both today's 2.5 GHz and next year's 5 GHz Express versions, distance will in part depend on jitter and EMI issues still being characterized for the high-speed version.



    "I think the cable will wind up being in single-digit meters, but as always someone could come along and build a repeater," said Pierce.









    The potential is exciting. But as always can they execute the plan?
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