Graphical Hypervisor or Virtual Machines??

The title might be misleading as I don’t know what to call what I’m looking for.  I run a lot of VM’s (Windows, RHEL, Ubuntu, etc) but right now my host OS (Windows 7) consumes a lot of memory.  I would like to run the most stripped down boot on my laptop and then run a large # of VM’s.

Things I need to run:

  • Windows Client OS (see some of my previous posts on the reasoning behind this)
  • Windows Server OSes (for multiple demos I must run: Altiris, Symantec DLP, etc)
  • RHEL (for testing w/ Altiris)
  • Kubuntu/Ubuntu for my contribution to the Ubuntu Community

As far as I understand most Hypervisors, ESX, Xen, Hyper-V boot to a stripped down OS, then allow you to run multiple virtual machines.  However I would have to use some other type of device to access those VMs.  Example:  RDP into my Windows Server running on ESXi.

My goal would be to boot into the Host OS, then start up the needed VM.  If I needed Windows I would power on my Windows Client and access/work in a graphical environment.

Does what I am looking for make sense?  Does something already exist?  Or am I just smoking something

7 thoughts on “Graphical Hypervisor or Virtual Machines??

  1. as far as i got your point,
    the hypervisors you mentioned will install different OSes on top of it.
    VMware workstation can be installed on top of host OS like Win 7 (or linux ) and then run other guest os on top of it. For this you will need hell lot of RAM for eg to run 3 os simultaneously (without getting yourself irritated) more thatn 3GB (roughly) will be needed.

    i guess VMWare Workstation will be your answer.

  2. No, nothing already exists. XenServer and ESXi don’t allow you any kind of “local console” access to VMs, the console just allows you to control the hypervisor.

    It sounds like the ideal solution for you may be something like TinyXP or a very stripped out version of CentOS/Ubuntu as a low-resource host, which then runs your more fully-featured VMs (including the Windows Client you mentioned above) for the actual computing. That way you maintain the portability and convenience of having a laptop as it’s still usable if you don’t have another machine handy for SSH/RDP which you’d need if you ran ESXi or XenServer on your laptop.

  3. Wow your site if pretty much above my head! Well, I may not be a “techie” but I’m an ultra-conservative future graphic artist!🙂 Only thing, looks like you’re on a PC and I’m on a …. wah-oh …. MACBOOK!

    When you say ‘conservative’ are you meaning as in lifestyle/worldview, etc? Because I’ll say, if you are, it IS definitely difficult being that way. Especially for me as I’m venturing as a loner into the art world. haha

  4. It doesn’t exist yet… as far as I know. If you find it though, let me know.

    For me Windows 7 64-bit with VMware Workstation 7 seems to give the best performance for all of my virtual machines on my laptop. I run up to 3-6 VMs at a time and am able to divide my 8 GBs of RAM rather effectively with decent performance in the worst case scenarios.

  5. Wow thanks for the comments. @GAIC yes you are right in what I am looking forward. Bummer that something like what I’m looking doesn’t exist.

    The problem with moving to Ubuntu/Kubuntu is I use a lot of MS products on my day to day work and would have to almost always have a VM running?

    Need to think more on this

  6. If you don’t need much from the host OS, you could run VirtualBox on top of WinXP or Xubuntu. You can probably get away with 256MB – 378MB of RAM if you keep things simple.

    If you need to use the host OS most of the time, there’s no way around needing gobs of RAM. VirtualBox is still a free option here.

    When you consider a hypervisor host, make sure you look at its wifi capabilities. Doing that level of virtualization on a laptop is likely to encounter driver problems.

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