Linux-KVM mentions QED, the new QEMU Enhanced Disk format. This new disk format for QEMU/KVM is designed to be much faster than QCOW2 and other existing disk formats available to virtualization users.
VirtualBox 4.0 was released last December and with nearly seven months passing since any major update or roadmap for a new major feature release, I had been wondering what were Oracle's future plans for this virtualization platform they received from Sun Microsystems as part of their acquisition. Fortunately, Oracle today announced the first beta of VM VirtualBox 4.1. The VirtualBox 4.1 release does deliver several new features, but nothing too ground-breaking in the heated virtualization world.
Back in April I reported on a lightweight QEMU-free Linux KVM host tool. This written-from-scratch solution is designed to just boot guest Linux images with the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) while being just a few thousand lines of code. A second version of the Native Linux KVM Tool has been released and it's being targeted for inclusion into the Linux 3.1 kernel.
While QEMU works well for many Linux users interested in virtualization and processor emulation, it lacks various features found in other virtualization solutions like Oracle VM VirtualBox and VMware's products. QEMU doesn't yet have a nice virtual graphics driver stack for accelerating 2D/3D on the host and there's limited hardware emulation. QEMU hasn't even properly supported USB 2.0 devices, but that is now changing.
Two weeks ago I extensively talked about VMware's Linux graphics driver used by their virtualization products. To provide graphics hardware acceleration support within VMware guest instances, they have an elaborate (and open-source) driver stack complete with the upstream kernel DRM module and a Gallium3D user-space driver. This driver has been around since 2009, but it's about to be overhauled by VMware and it will bring some interesting changes.
Brought up several times in our forums and elsewhere over the past few days has been VMware's Gallium3D driver that they use for guest 3D acceleration on their proprietary virtualization platform.
One of the items brought up this week at UDS Budapest was about providing OpenGL / OpenGL ES support for QEMU guests. The need for OpenGL ES 2.0 support in QEMU guests has come up since it's used in emulating Maemo / MeeGo for development environments. This would also make it possible to use Canonical's Unity desktop in a virtualized environment.
While Linux KVM virtualization works well for many, one of the areas where the Kernel-based Virtual Machine and its QEMU integration have lagged behind other virtualization solutions like VirtualBox and VMware is in terms of its 2D/3D support within guests. The KVM-QEMU situation is slightly more positive today though with the introduction of a basic KMS (kernel mode-setting) driver for KVM-QEMU riding in the Linux kernel.
When it comes to Linux virtualization, QEMU is one of the common parts of the virtualization stack. It's a very common emulator that provides dynamic binary translation and can run many unmodified guest operating systems on many different architectures from x86_64 to MIPS and PowerPC.
For the many Linux virtualization users out there using Red Hat's virtualization stack with libvirt, virt-manager, virt-viewer, etc, version 0.9.0 of their virtualization platform management library (libvirt) is now available.
For those of you that prefer Xen virtualization under Linux rather than KVM/QEMU, VirtualBox, VMware, or any of the other virtualization solutions available, the Xen 4.1 Hypervisor has just been released with some major changes.
While it was not long ago that QEMU 0.13 was released, QEMU version 0.14 is now available with more improvements to this open-source processor emulator.
Yesterday and today there's been patches published by Oracle's Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk that make it possible for open-source GPU Linux drivers that use the TTM (Translation Table Maps) in-kernel memory management to work within Xen virtualization. The TTM drivers include the open-source Radeon and Nouveau DRM drivers, among others.
Oracle's VM VirtualBox virtualization software just went into beta two weeks ago, but since then they have put out four beta releases. Now though Oracle is already ready to announce the official release of VM VirtualBox 4.0.
Oracle's been on a wild ride the past few days. Besides Oracle's second quarter earnings having beaten their own expectations and that of the street, they've been releasing updates this week to a number of their Sun-acquired open-source projects. MySQL 5.5 was finally released, Open Office 3.3 made it out (along with a new web-based Oracle Cloud Office product), and their German counterparts have been releasing VirtualBox beta releases like mad.
The German developers working on Oracle VM VirtualBox are doing well at managing to resist the temptations of Christkindlmarkts, Glühwein, and skiing, to get VM VirtualBox 4.0 out the door right away. It was just last Monday they put out the first beta followed by another before week's end. Yesterday they then put out a third beta of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0.
It was just on Monday that Oracle released Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 1 with the introduction of "extension packs", OVA format support, ICH9 and Intel HD Audio support for guests, a revamped user-interface in some areas, support for limiting a VM's CPU time and I/O bandwidth, and a number of other changes. Three days later, however, this release has been succeeded by VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 2.
It was more than six months ago that Oracle released Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2, formerly known as Sun's VirtualBox, as their most recent major update. Oracle now, however, is readying a very major VM VirtualBox 4.0 update. Today they have released the first public beta of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 and it brings many new features along with some changes that may prove to be another disappointing step by Oracle in alienating the open-source community.
Over the weekend we reported that QEMU 0.13 had surfaced followed by the release announcement coming out on Monday. The team working on QEMU-KVM, the version of QEMU designed for use with KVM (the Kernel-based Virtual Machine) virtualization on Linux, have also pushed out their v0.13 release based upon upstream QEMU.
QEMU, the processor emulator that can be used alone for running unmodified guest operating systems and can optionally take advantage of KVM (the Kernel-based Virtual Machine) for greater virtualization performance with Intel and AMD hardware, has finally reached version 0.13 after suffering from a few delays. As was reported by us back in January of this year, QEMU 0.13 would focus on bringing new features and with this release they have achieved introducing several new features.
It's been two months since the last VirtualBox 3.2.x point release arrived (VirtualBox 3.2.8) and five months have passed since VirtualBox 3.2 was introduced. There's no signs yet of version 3.3 for Oracle's VirtualBox with no stable or development releases being on the horizon, however, today VirtualBox 3.2.10 has been pushed out.
The last time we published any benchmarks using KVM (the Kernel-based Virtual Machine) virtualization was last year when looking at the performance with the Linux 2.6.31 kernel and before that when looking at the Intel Core i7 virtualization performance. However, a new set of Linux virtualization benchmarks are being worked on.
Nearly two months ago we first reported on the Gallium3D driver that few knew about in the form of a Gallium3D driver that targeted the Xen virtualization platform similar to what VMware now does with its virtual Gallium3D driver for offering hardware accelerate on guest operating systems via Gallium3D. Over a number of months last year was this new Gallium3D driver, which now there is more information.
While some open-source projects formerly under the control of Sun Microsystems have been mistreated since being acquired by Oracle (i.e. OpenSolaris 2010.03 still is M.I.A. with little communication from Oracle employees), VirtualBox continues to improve. Just last week VirtualBox 3.2 Beta 1 was put out and now the second beta has arrived with more features.
While Oracle has yet to put out OpenSolaris 2010.03 and they have disbanded other open-source projects formerly under Sun's umbrella, they are moving full-steam ahead with Virtualbox. This morning Oracle has put out the VirtualBox 3.2 Beta, which re-brands itself as Oracle VM VirtualBox.
Last night it was reported on VirtualBox not being convinced about Gallium3D and what it could provide its virtualization stack not only in terms of better OpenGL acceleration for the guest virtual machines, but also for accelerating other APIs like OpenVG and OpenCL. This is coming a year after VMware rolled out its own Gallium3D driver (called "SVGA") that allowed Gallium3D to work on its virtualization platform. But there's also another virtualized Gallium3D driver out there.
While the VirtualBox virtualization platform that's owned by Oracle (formerly Sun) picked up OpenGL acceleration support for virtualized guest operating systems in late 2008 and then gained similar Direct3D support for VMs in early 2009, there's now an effort underway to try to get a Gallium3D driver developed.
Xen 4.0 was just released a few days back with a variety of features from graphics card pass-through support to online resizing of guest disks, but features for Xen 4.1 are already brewing. Xen 4.1 will be the next major release for this once-popular virtualization platform and its feature list is quickly growing.
While the Xen virtualization platform has lost much of its spotlight to KVM, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine that has been living in the mainline Linux kernel for a few years now, Xen 4.0.0 has made it into the world this week.
This week there was the release of QEMU 0.12.2 (and the subsequent release of KVM-QEMU 0.12.2) with support for block migration, but this point release was mostly made up of small fixes and tweaks. IBM's Anthony Liguori though has begun making plans for the next major release of this open-source processor emulator. QEMU 0.13 will be the next big release and Anthony is hoping it will be completed by June and boast a large number of new features.
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