Full virtualization solutions for obsolete CPUs

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by Gullible Jones, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. I'm probably treading old territory here, but what virtualization software is currently available that can support both Linux and Windows guests without svm or vmx on the host CPU?

    What I know of:

    - Virtualbox. Free, fills the bill, and works well enough; however, it's maintained by Oracle, which at this point is a problem.

    - Qemu/kQemu: branded obsolete and superseded by Qemu/KVM - and the latter does not support hardware without svm or vmx. I'm not sure kQemu even compiles with newer kernels.

    And that's it, AFAIK. Are there any competing products at all, that can handle a Pentium D CPU without VT-x? FOSS? Freeware? Payware? Anything? Or has everyone switched over to hardware-assisted virtualization?
     
  2. Sadeghi85

    Sadeghi85 Registered Member

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    What's the problem?
     
  3. Trust issues basically. They've been doing a terrible job maintaining Java, and foisting adware upon users of the JVM on Windows; how do I know they'll avoid that behavior with Virtualbox, or do any better a job maintaining it?
     
  4. I wound up going with bog-standard Qemu via libvirt. I set the CPU architecture to Pentium 3, which will hopefully give me some of the benefit of the Pentium D's extra instruction sets. Also raised swappiness and lowered VFS cache pressure, to prevent filesystem cache from shrinking precipitously while Qemu was running.

    Not sure about the former, but the latter seems to be working; Qemu is blasting away at 99% of one core, and I haven't lost much responsiveness on the host. OTOH Windows 2000 has been installing for over an hour now. Based on past experience I think the bottleneck is disk I/O. I'll have to see if I can set libvirt to use writeback caching.

    BTW, a warning to libvirt users: make your root partition BIG (or your /var partition if applicable). libvirt stores images in /var/lib/libvirt/images, and even a small OS like Win2k will want 8 GB.

    Edit: Solved. VMWare Player works on my obsolete hardware, and provides much better guest performance than Qemu. It does sap host performance a bit, and unlike Virtualbox it doesn't support 3D acceleration; but overall I think it's a better compromise. Especially seeing as disk I/O is faster on VMWare than on Qemu by at least an order of magnitude.

    Edit 2: 4% CPU usage on one core during Win2k setup. Goodbye forever Virtualbox.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2013
  5. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    I don't see any problems with a VirtualBox being developed by Oracle (even though I don't like that company), and if it works without any problems, then why not? :)
     
  6. Sadeghi85

    Sadeghi85 Registered Member

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    Java is a beast, it shouldn't be compared with anything else. btw, Heard of Vagrant? A lot of companies use it and it uses Virtualbox.

    I think it does if you install VMware Tools.

    btw last time I tried, Virtualbox' I/O performance was better than VMware.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  7. Feandur

    Feandur Registered Member

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    Timely discovery for me, thanks Gullible Jones, as I'm about to try Player and Converter on my old Celeron box I built from scrap parts....just to learn and play with...not really expecting any worthwhile performance, but good to know it at least has some chance of working.

    :thumb:

    -cheers,
    feandur

    [PS: I have made an image, just in case...;) ]
     
  8. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid Registered Member

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    I needed to use a VM on an Ubuntu based distro and it was after Vbox had become an Oracle product:
    And it was a total waste of too much of my time.

    Then I got VMWare's Player - and have zero problems with it.
    Many postings elsewhere have confirmed that Vbox is now unworthy and I will not waste any more time/life on it.

    Just my 2 cents though...
     
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