Desktop Virtualization Rocks!

After some initial difficulties getting Windows Server 2008 set up in Virtualbox OSE, mainly with drivers for the AMD PCNet NIC is emulates, I took some more time to look around. And what I found is not only functional, but performance is amazing.

The answer lies in KVM. Nope, not that kind of KVM, but this kind: Kernel-based Virtual Machine. Coupled with Intel’s VT, which my laptop has, it supports full virtualization.

So how’s the install? I took the easy route: used Synaptic Package Manager and searched for kvm. Selected for install, allowed it to select the additional needed packages, also searched and selected qemu, and then let it install. Reboot.

During reboot, went into the BIOS to enable the Intel VT (most things for whatever reason do not ship with it enabled). Then completed the boot. Initially didn’t notice the launcher at Applications>System Tools, so was initially just running from Terminal using sudo virt-manager. The manager pops up, revealing the first of the gaps in intuitiveness: can’t do much of anything yet. You have to go to File>Open Connection and select QEMU and local system. Once done, your back at the Virt Manager, and CAN do things. In my case, this was selecting New and walkign through a very good wizard to set up the guest VM.

So yes, on my Linux laptop I am now running Windows 2008 64-bit, and it runs GREAT. And unlike the issues with Virtualbox OSE, no additional drivers were needed….everything just works, and works very very well.

Fuller post over the long weekend with screenshots and actual instructions.