Difference between virtualization and client-server technology

By Healer ·
Server virtualization and desktop virtualization consolidate all the available resources in order to run multiple servers and desktop operating systems on fewer pieces of underlying hardwares. What about cloud computing and user state virtualization? These seem to run on a platform similar to client-server technology but in a bigger or improved scale. I am wondering why they are called virtualization. Isn't it a hype or a confusing term?

I don't know about Server virtualization as I have not installed and tried one yet. With desktop virtualization I have found there are some features that wouldn't work or available on a virtual system as on a regular operating system. I presume the server virtualization would have the same limitations. So virtualization is not everything. It is not something that could simply replace the regular systems so that we can save some resources. There are limitations. Where are all the documentation that would let us find out the difference in terms of features and functions that a virtual system won't have prior to installation. More often than not I didn't know the feature was not there until I installed the virtual system and tried to implement the desired feature.

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You have several entirely different concepts here.

by seanferd In reply to Difference between virtua ...

They are basically unrelated, and could be used together.

User state virtualization: User settings and data are not stored in the client machine of the user. E.g., the user profile is stored on a server, not the workstation. This is nothing to do with hardware/OS virtualization.


in general:

Desktop virtualization generally has different uses from server virtualization. For desktops, the ability to run another OS to do things you cannot with the installed OS. For servers, the ability to run several servers on one hardware server. Generally in effort to avoid buying more hardware when the current hardware has enough spare resources to provide other services. E.g., run a database server, mailserver, etc., completely separately on one physical server.

Cloud computing is just a more amorphous way to provide services than a direct client-server relationship. You get service from whatever server or servers are available rather than depending on a dedicated server.

Your problems with desktop virtualization: It depends on how you created the virtual machine. If you, say, simply downloaded a pre-packaged VM and ran it on VMWare Player, you may be quite limited. You must build a VM according to your needs, and installing the appropriate tools to allow you to, e.g., share files between the VM and the native OS, or to install further software in the VM.

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I accept

by Healer In reply to You have several entirely ...

the term "virtualization" for the server and for the desktop but I am somewhat unconvinced on cloud computing and user state virtualization.

<u>cloud computing</u>
Cloud as I gather just refers to Internet. To me Internet is just a network that covers much greater distance. I believe we had non-dedicated server long time ago. Now networks are just getting much bigger scale and faster speed. So it is just a new name but somewhat old concept. It is only "new" in the sense that we now have more choices. And for some reason "cloud computing" also falls into the category of virtualization which is not quite correct to me. As far as I can see virtualization is only applicable to the technology applied to the server at the far end and probably the so-called "user state virtualization" at the near end.

<u>user state virtualization</u>
I thought I was pretty sure that similar functions were already available when I worked in an office years ago where they were using Windows 2000 or even NT4. All of us could have customised desktop, pre-set network path probably by running a batch file when the user logged on, and all the files were stored in the server. It didn't matter which computer in the office we logged on, we always got the desktop with the same look-and-feel, the same program options available on the start menu and same home directory and network path.

What is the difference in terms of the technology and of the upshot of the user state virtualization apart from faster machine and different operating system? Where does the virtualization fit in?

I've just set up a Windows XP Mode and Vista with Windows Virtual PC on a Windows 7 system trying to test some VPNs and they don't work. I've checked with Microsoft and they told me VPNs were not supported in the virtual machines and so weren't the USB devices with Hyper-V. There is no official documentation anywhere telling me what virtual OSes don't do as compared to the regular operating systems. Every time I can only find out the inadequacy after I spend all the time and resources to set them up and try them out.

When you say pre-packaged VM, I think you mean virtual appliance. I have just downloaded one appliance for the ubuntu desktop edition and run it on the VMWare player. Trying to share some folder from the host system, I have done what I am supposed to do but still can't see the shared folder. I can't find the USB devices either, having changed the setting and restarted the virtual system. I have managed to get the Windows counterparts in this respect to work though. There are limitation with VMWare in that I've got to download some readily available appliance. I can't install any OS with my DVD as I could with the Windows Virtual systems. There is no free software for making appliances. VMWare Studio has to run on some paid system. I hope I could save any change of setup or data with the vitual appliances though.

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by seanferd In reply to I accept

The "Cloud" might be a local cloud, a distributed cloud, or a cloud that is at the end of many internet "connections", or just one. An example of the latter would be like the cloud services MS or Amazon offer. You just buy time or cycles or whatever on their cloud - a buttload of servers doing whatever is requested by whatever job is doing the requesting at the moment. Great rental opportunity for those who have a temporary need of a lot of computing capacity. No need for your own servers.

The cloud is just distributed computing. Good for some things. For other things, why bother? Nothing inherently to do with virtualization, but virtualization, I'm sure, makes it easier to run a large cloud.

User state virtualization:

Stop thinking of this as having anything at all to do with virtual machines. Same last name, no relation. Simply encompasses a variety of ways that the MS Windows user profile are not tied to the local installed OS. Roaming profiles, whatever.

<i>When you say pre-packaged VM, I think you mean virtual appliance.</i>

Inclusive of the appliance-type VMs, yes.

As to Virtual PC and how well it works, and how well documented it is, you're right. I wouldn't even bother. Not yet at least. You must consider, regarding networking, that you are using a virtual NIC in the virtual machine, among other things. Bear also in mind that the hypervisor market is not really intended for the average consumer, but for those who have the experience, money, and time to deploy such things after deciding it is a solution for them. On the consumer side, VPC andd XP Mode are for people who just need XP to run some app or other. It isn't meant to be used as the normal OS all the time.

If you want more out of virtual machines, either wait a couple years, or learn how to tinker with them to get what you want. Use at least a VMWare product, if not something else. VPC isn't all that great, although I'm sure MS has made better features available in their enterprise-class offerings.

<i>Trying to share some folder from the host system, I have done what I am supposed to do but still can't see the shared folder.</i>

Well, if that appliance doesn't have the appropriate VMWare tools installed, it won't work.

<i>There are limitation with VMWare in that I've got to download some readily available appliance. I can't install any OS with my DVD as I could with the Windows Virtual systems.</i>

You want something other than VMWare Player to make VMs. Another VMWare product (e.g., Workstation), or another virtualization solution.

Anything with all the features will cost some money, sure. Or, you could go Open Source & Free with a different solution.

"I hope I could save any change of setup or data with the vitual appliances though. "

Again, it pretty much depends on how the appliance was built. The Ubuntu Appliance one, for instance, is designed specifically to <i>not</i> save anything at all.

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What started me asking

by Healer In reply to OK

is this article

I thank you for your input. I am still trying to catch up with all these technologies. Sometimes terminology is just causing confusion especially those created by hype.

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That article

by seanferd In reply to What started me asking

has very good descriptions of the things which fall under user state virtualization. Realize, however, that none of them are remotely new.

As the article notes, virtualization refers to some sort of decoupling. User state virtualization decouples, in some manner, some or all user data and/or settings from the workstation. E.g., a user can log into any machine on the network and have her profile available, because it is stored on a server. OS virtualization decouples the OS installed in a VM from the hardware.

It is this decoupleing which causes some of the problems you have encountered in the free commercial products like VMWare Player and Virtual PC. I don't know as much about VPC, but if you build a VMWare VM with the appropriate settings and tools, you can share files easily between the native OS and the VM after sharing is set up.

Overall, though, if you want to experiment with making your own VMs, look into VirtualBox. As with any guest OS VM creation methods, you will have to learn how to create VMs with the capabilities you want. Far more flexible than VPC, and free, unlike the more advanced VMWare products. Runs on Windows host OS, so no problem for you there.

Whatever you do, have fun learning. :)

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What virtualization?

by Healer In reply to That article

Thanks for your kind response.

I just feel odd with the term user state virutlization. What virtualization? With the traditional server-client systems, there is also some sort of decoupling too I believe.

The only difference I can see is now one can connect to many more servers far and near, wired or wireless.

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You are just limiting the term "virtualization".

by seanferd In reply to What virtualization?

I understand your way of thinking, especially since "virtualization" is so commonly used to describe hardware and OS virtualization. But the term cannot be limited in this way.

The virtualization in USV is simply decoupling of the user profile from the local workstation. You are correct: No hardware or software virtualization on a virtual machine is required. No processor virtualization extensions are required. This type of virtualization rather pre-dates the modern use of virtualization environments like VMWare.

For further considersations:
Java VM / MSjavaVM - Different kind of virtualization.
Virtual reality - all varieties.
Virtual particles (let's go waaaay back into physics history )
Virtual keyboard
Virtual FileSystem
Virtual memory: your swap/paging file is part of this
Virtual foldsers

Ooh, ahh:

But again, I see where you are coming from. Virtualization is just a far more generic term than how you, perhaps, are used to hearing it used. And what with the way the industry likes to throw around jargon and popularize a concept of the week, this is not at all surprising.

Best wishes to you in pursuing your interests. I hope they become slightly less confusing. :)

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It is a good link

by Healer In reply to That article

you gave me I know I've got to learn and accept the terminalogy. I've just liked to talk with somebody so that I get convinced and reinforced in my mind. It's just like language, enough people use the wrong word for the wrong meaning, the wrong word would become the correct word. There's no logic.

If the client/server technology didn't exist prior, I would probably be more ready to take it.

Have a good day! I am happy I have reached some conclusion.

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I'm glad I could help make some sense of this for you.

by seanferd In reply to It is a good link

And I know how uncomfortable it is to keep having word usages redefined or used in a manner somewhat contrary to the meaning to which you have been most exposed.

There have been quite a few threads here about use of the word "hacker" here lately, in which several people, including myself, take exception to its use with negative-only connotations.

I'm glad that you have reached some sort of conclusion to your quest. Take care. :)

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VMWare Packages

by david.stephens In reply to OK

I have been using VMWare packages (VMWorkstation, VMPlayer)for over 4 years now. I use it to provide training classes for systems that require different Microsoft O.S. platforms. We also like it because the VM Image is indepent of the host that we are using (desktops, laptops, etc...). It is true that you will need to get a licensed version of VMWorkstation to create your own VM images. And I agree that you must install the latest version of VMTools. We have created images that use multiple networks, USB, multiple hard drives and even multiple monitors. You can copy and paste files from the host to the VM Image and back. With VMWorkstation there is also a "snapshot" feature that lets you capture a safe point to restart in case you crash the image. In over 4 years of heavy use, we have found the VMWare products to be stable, resilient, and relatively fast. VPC doesn't even come close to matching the features of VMWare. It also makes sense to join the VMWare Users Group and receive a wealth of information at your fingertips. Hope this helps with your questions.

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