Feeds

Virtualisation for Beginners

It's not just for server jockeys, you know

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Hands On VMWare engineer Shawn Morel opens an entertaining and highly recommended seminar on the internal workings of his company's Fusion product for the Mac by dividing up an area of space with a couple of vertical lines. He points in turn to the three segments this creates: "You've got Userland, the Kernel space and Hyperspace."

He adds a few more scribbles.

"And then you've got all these little things running around here, and you can have one or more VMXs, and you've got the kernel module and you've got this thing called the VMM, and it's all very complicated and it all sort of works like magic."

And then he puts up the Q&A slide.

Virtualisation for Beginners

...it's all very complicated and it all sort of works like magic

The joke gets a huge laugh from the audience of developers. But, of course, he's right. Virtualisation is very complicated. And it does work like magic. But knowing a little bit about how the magic works can throw useful light on how you can make it work for you.

As Morel says later, in what turns out to be a pretty full discussion of the technicalities: "A lot of people on OS X don't really realise the benefits of virtualisation. They'll go, 'Oh, sweet, I can run that Windows app that I couldn't run before.' The rest of the industry is like, 'Oh great, I've got isolation, I've got disaster recovery and fault tolerance, and I can consolidate my servers."

His point is that all those enterprise-class benefits of virtualisation are there for the individual desktop user too. Nothing that happens inside a virtual machine can damage or change anything in the host operating system, or in any other virtual machine that might also be running.

Virtualisation for Beginners

A single-core Parallels Win XP VM under Mac OS X. The decoder is running at around 40f/s, pulling in frames from the Avisynth frameserver fed from a demuxed MPEG2 file

His remarks don't just apply to Mac users. Any operating system disaster happening inside a virtual machine running under any other operating system is transient, because you can simply close down the virtual machine and start it up again, without affecting the rest of the system. If - and Windows users will be familiar with this - the causes of the disaster survive a reboot, perhaps because the recent installation of the new app has messed everything up, there's no need for an intricate repair process. Just throw the whole VM away and go back to the last working snapshot.

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.