[vbox-dev] Release: VMSeed (080430 experimental version)

Kuniyasu Suzaki k.suzaki at aist.go.jp
Fri May 2 03:11:02 GMT 2008


VMSeed(080430 experimental version) is released.
# VMSeed is a growable virtual disk image for VMs.
# VMs are VMware, VirtualBox, VirtualPC, Parallels, Xen, QEMU, KQEMU, and KVM.
# Guest OSes are KNOPPIX(511, 502, and 402), Plan9/Xen-DomU, and NetBSD/Xen-DomU.
  HP: http://openlab.jp/oscircular/vmseed/
  GuidePDF http://openlab.jp/oscircular/vmseed/VMSeed080430-E.pdf

# This topic will be discussed at the BOF of Ottawa Linux Symposium08.
# http://www.linuxsymposium.org/2008/view_abstract.php?content_key=231

VMSeed is "an effective virtual disk image(Guest OS) for virtual
machine". The initial virtual disk includes bootloader, kernel and
miniroot only. The other disk image is downloaded from Internet and
saved to the virtual disk. So the virtual disk grows by use of the
guest OS and makes quick launch of applications. The important point
is that it downloads necessary block image only and reduces network
traffic and disk space.

VMSeed is based on "InetBoot" and it is independent of virtual
machine because it is self-organized OS. The current target virtual
machines are VMware, VirtualBox, VirtualPC, Parallels, Xen, QEMU,
KQEMU, and KVM. The current available OSes are KNOPPIX(511, 502, and
402), Plan9 on Xen-DomU, and NetBSD on Xen-DomU.

### Special Features ###
* Small initial virtual disk file.
  VMSeed utilizes sparse virtual disk format of each virtual machine.
 The initial disk image includes bootloader, kernel and miniroot only. 
 The root file system is obtained by Internet Virtual Disk.

* Virtual disk grows by use of the Guest OS.
  The most parts are obtained via Internet with Internet Virtual Disk 
 "Trusted HTTP-FUSE CLOOP". The requested disk images are cached on
 the local virtual disk and reused.

* The image (Guest OS) is independent of Virtual Machine and applied to many Virtual Machines.
  The image (Guest OS) has auto-configuration mechanism and Internet
  loopback device. It is self-organized OS which is based o "InetBoot".
     Current applied virtual machines are VMware, VirtualBox, VirtualPC,
  Parallels, Xen, QEMU, KQEMU, and KVM. Current Guest OS are
  KNOPPIX(511, 502, and 402), Plan9 on Xen-DomU , and NetBSD on

* Effective distribution of block images
  The block images are downloaded from HTTP servers with GSLB (Global
  Server Load Balance). The GSLB selects a suitable site among 3 EU
  sites, 3 US sites and 7 Japanese sites.

### Usage ###
The usage is simple.
 * Download a target virtual disk for virtual machine.
 * Set up virtual machine to boot from the virtual disk file.
 * Set up network environment.
 * Boot the virtual machine. The GRUB Menu will appear. Select an operating system.

* Cached Block files
The virtual disk grows as use of the Guest OS because downloaded block
files are cached at /knxblock directory. The function prevents
redundant download and makes quick re-boot and re-launch of

# Personal Update
VMSeed is based on 1CD Linux "KNOPPIX". Most CD bootable OS can not
keep any change of files. KNOPPIX however has a mechanism to keep the
updates on a local storage. It is based on Union File System and keeps
the change of files. It works as COW (Copy On Write) and makes
over-write on the CD image.

### List of available VM and GuestOS ###

           |KNOPPIX KNOPPIX KNOPPIX Xen206  Plan9  NetBSD   Initial Disk size
           |  511     501     402    Dom0   DomU    DomU    (virtual size is 2GB)
VMWare     |  OK      OK      OK     OK      OK     OK       33MB
VirtualBox |  OK      OK      OK     NG      NG     NG       68MB
VirtualPC  |  OK      OK      OK     NG      NG     NG      102MB
Parallels  |  OK      OK      OK     OK      OK     OK       32MB
KVM        |  OK      OK      OK     OK      OK     OK       31GB on Sparse FS
QEMU/KQEMU |  OK      OK      OK     OK      OK     OK       31GB on Sparse FS
Xen        |  OK      OK      OK     NG      NG     NG       31GB on Sparse FS

### Known Problems ###
* Depend on the situation of server and network.
  It is sensitive of network latency and load of the server because
  the root file system is mounted by "HTTP-FUSE CLOOP".
    The situation may change by rebooting because the load balancer
 (GSLB) may select another site

### Download ###
* VMware;  vmseed_080430.vmdk, 33MB, MD5: 106ea4fda6f2c692e3c312cc178f5da6
* VirtualBox;  vmseed_080430.vdi, 66MB, MD5: d1827c684c6299eb3511ffd9d69dfc02
* VirtualPC;  vmseed_080430.vhd, 100MB, MD5: 11a29cb8220d8c4846af0324130801ba
* Parallels;  vmseed_080430.hdd, 31MB, MD5: 4d97ab5264c8974be814ebacef97364c
* Xen/QEMU/KQEMU/KVM;vmseed_080430.tar.gz, 24MB, MD5:7f78cf33f6be8334078e655b3bb2cbf1
  The image is created on a Space File System (ext3) and archived with "--space" option of tar.
* Files included VMSeed008430 23MB MD5: 4c216e8672aff195b9cd98ed5224570e

### Related Works ###
[1] InetBoot:  http://openlab.jp/oscircular/inetboot/
[2] LivePC of Moka5:  http://www.moka5.com/
[3] Collective Project at Stanford:  http://suif.stanford.edu/collective/
[4] MajoPac:  http://www.mojopac.com/


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