The fun side of virtualization: virtualized gaming and hyper-V benchmarkingby Johan De Gelas on October 7, 2008 12:00 AM EST
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Want to get rid of Windows (Vista) and run DirectX games on Linux? Found the recent virtualization articles just a bit tad too much "nuts and bolts"? Or do you wonder how well Microsoft's Hyper-V performs compared to VMware's ESX? It is all cooking in our IT lab.
Liz will explain you why virtualization is fun and interesting in layman's terms, and will make you see the virtual wood despite the trees. This upcoming article should give those of you taking your first steps with virtualization a strong base knowledge of the technology, and is a good prelude to our in-depth articles. Of course, all work and no play would make Anandtech IT a dull website, so the article will also look at some of the fun bits virtualization has introduced to the world of the desktop user. Half-life 2 running on Linux or Mac OS-X? Runs fine and relatively fast!
Back to work. Microsoft has made a big splash with Hyper-V, so we could not resist: we had to include it in our long awaited hypervisor comparison. Hyper-V is a very interesting technology: it is a mix of paravirtualization and hardware virtualization. Surprisingly, Hyper-V fully supports Linux, the paravirtualized "Linux integration tools" (a paravirtualized driver pack) is available for several linux distributions. There is one catch: SMP does not work (yet?). In other words, Windows 2008 software can work with up to 4 virtual CPUs, Linux guest OS have to be content with only one. Officially, Windows 2003 only supports 2, but we found that running with 4 virtual CPUs is not a problem at all (in contrast with Linux: more than one CPU will simply not work on Hyper-V).
The Hyper-V team went to great lengths to paravirtualized Windows 2008, less effort was spend in Windows 2003. Remember the Oracle OLTP test, the MySQL decision support database test and the heavy php website that we ran together?
Well, we noticed that
- the mysql DSS ran 2% faster
- the heavy php website ran 3-7% faster
- and the OLTP oracle database ran a tangible 18% faster
Quick note to our Dutch and Flemish readers: we will be presenting - live - our virtualization research on the October 23rd, together with VMware, Microsoft and Novell in great detail. Some of the greatest hardware will also be present (HP Blades, HP EVA storage array, Intel "Dunnington" and maybe more we can't talk about :-). Look for more details here (Dutch) or here (English).