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Hyper-V

I started to switch my virtualization hosts over to Server 2008 about two weeks ago; and I’ll give you some feedback on my experience.

The first thing you’re going to find with Hyper-V is that migrating your old virtual machines to Hyper-V isn’t particularly easy unless you want to purchase Microsoft’s virtual management server — quite a large expense for most users.

You can download a tool called VMC2HV (that converts Virtual Server / Virtual PC VMC files to Hyper-V format) and that will make it fairly easy for you, but there are still some things you need to watch for.

Before I talk about VMC2HV, there are some setting in Hyper-V you’ll want to change right off.

  • Set the path for your virtual machine configuration files.
  • Set the path for your virtual disks.
  • Setup a virtual network (you may need more than one depending on your configuration).

When using VMC2HV:

  • Make sure you tell VMC2HV where you want your Hyper-V files (and how you want to organize them).
  • Decide where you want to store your virtual disks (don’t store them under the virtual machine directory, put them in a separate tree.
  • Make sure you check the “swap SCSI 0 with IDE 0” box; if you used SCSI drives on Virtual Server, you need to remember you can’t boot from anything but IDE on Hyper-V; any additional disks you have can (and should) be SCSI.
  • Correct the virtual disk paths (and file names) if you’ve changed the location of the files.

I found that VMC2HV worked well… but it was far from perfect.

After you finish with VMC2HV you’ll need to setup the virtual network manually, and you’ll probably want to check all the setting.

VMC2HV certainly made it easy for me to jump start, but then I found that just recreating the virtual machines under Hyper-V was just about as easy.  The only “difficult” thing with the Hyper-V interface I’ve found is that getting it to put the configuration files where you want them is a little tedious, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

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I’m running Hyper-V on machines with: Intel Q6600 (Quad Core2 65nm) with 8GB of DDR2 memory (Corsair DHX) on Intel DG33TL motherboards and hardware RAID5 (fifteen spindles or eight spindles — I’ve two machines with each configuration).

I find that giving each virtual machine two processors makes them much more responsive, and even running far more cores than I actually have doesn’t swamp the host processor (most of the time my virtual machines are IO bound, waiting on network responses or dealing with disks).

Most likely for a home (or small office) virtualization server you’ll find what I’ve shown several of my clients — invest in memory and spindles.

  • If you can avoid any paging in the virtual machines you’ll see much better performance (so don’t give the machines more memory than they need and you have, and don’t create a paging file).
  • For any virtual machine that reads and writes the disks heavily the more spindles that make up the host volume the more current IO you will have, and that mean you’ll be able to sustain a higher IO rate.  And if you use RAID5 you get fault tolerance on your virtualization store.

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Installing the Hyper-V integration files is also a bit of a pain.  The Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager will do it automatically, but for those who don’t want to spend the money on something that is probably far more than you need you’ll have to do it by hand.

First you have to remove the old VMadditions that were put there by Virtual Server or Virtual PC.  If you do that before you move the files off your old machine it’s easier (you won’t have a mouse or network under Hyper-V until you complete the installation of the integration files).

Second you will upgrade the HAL, which is done automatically the first time you try to install the integration file (once you do this, there’s no easy way to go back to Virtual Server or Virtual PC, so save a copy of your boot VHD if you’re not sure).

Third you will install the integration files (which install the Windows Driver Foundation; and that’s the only problem I saw — apparently if the temporary directory doesn’t get created before WDF install runs, it fails — check you log files for more information, and just create the temporary directory by hand and re-run the setup for the integration files).

When you have the integration files install and reboot the machine should be working perfectly.

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I’m seeing a rather dramatic speed increase in my virtual machines using Hyper-V; which is really surprising since IO on the boot drive should be slower (since it uses IDE) than it was with Virtual Server (which used SCSI — highly para-virtualized).

I suspect that overall the way Hyper-V is built (you can read white papers on Hyper-V if you’re interested; you’ll also notice that Hyper-V and Xen conceptually share a similar architecture) is responsible for the speed increases; and the fact that you can allocate up to the number of physical cores you have to a guest machine or run 64-bit operating systems and software under Hyper-V you can really build out a virtual infrastructure which has great performance.

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Overall I’m pleased with Hyper-V, and have found it much easier to use on Server 2008 than trying to start with a Hyper-V Server (Microsoft gives away a version of Server 2008 which can only be used as a virtulization host; unfortunately you have to remotely administer it, and that isn’t as easy as it should be — it does work, but the learning curve is a little steep).

My feeling is that there will be a significant update to Hyper-V soon, adding more device support (and para-virtualization).  And the real question is:  Why isn’t there Hyper-V for Vista?  The two operating systems derive from a common code base, and certainly for developers having Hyper-V on a Vista workstation makes more sense, and since Microsoft gives away Hyper-V server they can’t argue that it will cannibalize sales!

Originally posted 2009-02-03 01:00:13.

Alzheimer’s Followup

My post the other day generated quite a few inquires about Alzheimer’s and anything else on Gary Arendash research professor at the University of South Florida.

A selection of reference links on Alzheimer’s:

News media coverage of Gary Arendash:

And an article by Scott Mendelson, MD (author of Beyond Alzheimer’s) titled Your Cell Phone Will NOT Protect You From Alzheimer’s Disease published on 12 January 2010 by the Huffinton Post which rejects Gary Arendash’s conclusions.

Read up, educate yourself — I personally find that most doctors know far less than they purport.

NOTE: I’ve updated some of the links on this page to keep it a little more current.

Originally posted 2010-01-15 02:00:13.

Another moron in office…

Florida State Representative Greg Evers (a conservative Republican made the following statement relating to the Arizona immigration law:

Shame on the federal government and activist federal judges for failing to protect American workers and our border states – if it weren’t for the lack of leadership in Washington, Arizona and other states would not have to take matters into their own hands.

As a sponsor of immigration legislation in Florida, identical to the Arizona law, I am deeply disappointed in the federal court’s decision today to throw out key provisions.

Today, American workers received a bad decision and American workers will continue to suffer if this continues to happen. It literally has become a matter of public welfare and public safety.

I wonder if he was so quick to question the Federal courts when George W Bush stole the Presidential Election?

Probably not.

What morons like this fail to understand is that the judicial system in the United States is charged with insuring that laws are Constitutional — and if he understands too little about the Constitution of the United States to realize that immigration is a Federal not State issue perhaps it’s time he went back to farming and prayed that someone with a clue be elected in his place.

INCUMBENTS

Originally posted 2010-08-10 02:00:37.

Re-Usable Shopping Bags

Rather than throw away bags that stores provide to you, why not consider purchasing some re-usable shopping bags?

Reduce, reuse, recycle…

You’re reducing the number of plastic (or paper) bags that need to be produced and recycled (or otherwise disposed of).

You’re reusing the same bag over and over.

You’re recycling, since almost every reusable shopping bag is made from 100% post consumer recycled material.

I know most vendors seem to want to charge around $1 each for these (and that’s ridiculous — and unconscionable to try and gouge a profit on people who are trying to do the right thing), but watch the sales at Walgreen’s, they put regularly advertise their smaller bag (which is perfect for most shopping) at 3 for $1 (with coupon in their advertising circular — look NOW).

Originally posted 2010-04-23 02:00:46.

Critial Microsoft Patch — DO IT NOW

Microsoft has released an out of cycle patch (they only release patches on Tuesdays), this was released today (Thursday), which means it’s an important patch for you to install now.  Get details below and use the Microsoft Update facility to download and install — don’t be part of the problem, take pre-emptive action.

Remember, in general it’s a good idea to check for updates often and install them unless you have a good reason not to.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx

Originally posted 2008-10-23 08:00:56.

Bush-bashing

Generally I feel it’s bad form to pick low hanging fruit… that’s a clever way of saying you shouldn’t take easy shots… but when it comes to taking shots at George W Bush — I’m all for it.

Mainly that’s because so few criticized him during his eight year Reich.

And current President Barrack Obama is taking every opportunity he can to remind US voters that the current Republican ideas don’t substantially differ from those of the Bush administration — the administration who’s credited with sinking the American economy to the lowest level since the Great Depression.

While my feeling is that it’s a Democratic administration (Clinton) who laid the ground work for the economic blight, certainly the Bush administration did nothing to mitigate it, and likely fueled it with the irresponsible polices, and massive military spending.

But mainly the reason I think George W Bush is fair game for any and all criticism is the way in which he apparently had a free reign to lie to the Congress and American people.

I only hope that I live long enough to see how history reflects on George W Bush…

My feeling is that professional politician have no place in America — vote them all out, and keep voting them all out.

INCUMBENTS

Originally posted 2010-08-09 02:00:06.

The Sky Is Falling!

Don’t you love all the horrendous predictions of cataclysmic apotheosis marking the end of the world?

It seems the general public is always ready for a good scare; and no one seems to remember the big nothing that was Y2K.

21 December 2012, or is that 23 December 2012 — at least Y2K had a consistent date to fear.

Across the world people are making movies, writing news stories, blogging, praying, partying, and generally believing that the Mayans have fore told the end of the world.

Couldn’t it be they just ran out of ink and or paper (OK — chisels and stone) and took a break from filing out the calendar, and then got wiped off the face of the Earth by a Spanish conquistador they didn’t fore tell?

Here’s the translation of the text at Mayan ruins in Mexico called the “Tortuguero Site” that’s being used as “evidence” to support this claim:

The Thirteenth [b’ak’tun] will end (on) 4 Ajaw, the 3rd of Uniiw [3 K’ank’in]. Black … will occur. (It will be) the descent(?) of Bolon Yookte’ K’uh to the great (or red?)

Seems like the experts haven’t quit figured out exactly what the inscription means yet; partially due to the lack of Mayans around to help with the translation, no doubt.

Besides, the end of the world is kind of a Judeo-Christian belief (gotta love religions steeped in drama); there’s no references to any such world ending event in any other Mayan text, and there are plenty of references to events wells beyond this alleged end of the world.

Doubtful that the Mayan calendar fore tells the end of the world; galactic alignment isn’t going to happen in 2012 (besides it’s already happened many times); planet Nibiru (aka planet X) would probably be in sight if it were bearing down on Earth (whoops, that’s a Sumerian prediction — a contributor to drama in many modern religions); major solar activity (actually predicted for 2012-2014) probably won’t destroy the Earth; the sun isn’t scheduled to explode for several million more years; an asteroid could hit the Earth (if it were coming from an oblique angle it might not be noticed quite yet), but unlikely the Mayan’s would have had insight into that; green house gases probably won’t accumulate enough by then; tectonic activity probably won’t increase enough in two years to destroy the Earth…

OK, I’m out of possibilities… other than people just needing something to believe in (read that as fear) I just don’t see anything “real” about any of these predictions… I suspect in the end it will be just like poor hysterical Chicken Little (Chicken Licken / Henny Penny if you prefer the non-Disney version [which doesn’t rhyme]– or just go all the way back to Aesop’s Fables or the Daddabha Jataka).

Originally posted 2010-04-01 02:00:15.

Immigrants go home!

That’s right… if you’re not a native from the area of North America now claimed by the United States (or Hawaii) get the hell out!!!

All you people who can trace your ancestry to the Mayflower, unless you can also trace it to Native Americans get the hell out!!!

Just because you were born here of parents not from here doesn’t make you an American; and I’ll thank you to take yourself back to where you came from…

Well, at least that’s what a new Arizona law intends to try to do with people in that state… of course it’s not clear that they want to change their view that children born of parents legally in this country are extended citizenship, but those born of parents illegally in this country would be denied citizenship (I’ll need to see that all you original immigrants have papers authorizing you to enter this country).

What a joke…

Citizenship in the US is not something a state can decide whether or not to grant to an individual; it’s clearly in the realms of the federal government of the United States of America, and perhaps the legislature of the state of Arizona should read over the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, paying particular note to the citizenship clause (which also happens to be in the same section as the due process clause) and of course Dred Scott v Sandford.

Sure the Fourteenth Amendment has never been tested in the case that the parents of a child were in this country illegally; but it contains the phrase under the jurisdiction — and in my mind, if individuals aren’t under the jurisdiction of the state and / or United States then they couldn’t be deported, and the act of attempting to deport or detaining an illegal alien would clearly establish that they are in fact under jurisdiction.

What a waste of resources; at least Rhode Island came to their senses and tabled a clone of the Arizona law.

While it might be arguable that the Fourteenth Amendment’s citizenship requirements do not cover individuals who enter or remain in this country illegally; taking under consideration the Tenth Amendment (contained in the Bill of Rights) since the Fourteenth Amendment defines citizenship in the United States, it thus removes that area from interpretation (or legislation) by the states (or any state).

Amendment 10

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

NOTE:  Amendments are part of the Constitution.

Amendment 14

Section 1
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

I’ll close by reminding all of you that the Constitution of the United States provides protections for it’s citizens and any and all who travel within the borders of the United States equally.  Whether you be an upstanding citizen, a politician, a criminal, an immigrant, an anti-government radical, or even a terrorist — the Constitution  provides a written basis for the American way of life, only when it’s principals and ideas are defended for everyone does the American system stand strong – when the pillars the country stands on crumble, all is lost.

Originally posted 2010-06-01 02:00:50.