Virtualization Linux + Windows

Hi,

Unfortunately there is one program in Windows I am yet to get away from in my business which is QuickBooks. Someday I will but so far it’s just too entrenched in the accounting industry to not use it for now - at least for me. I tried installing it under wine and that was a no go.

It seems the two alternatives are either a dual boot or virtualize Windows in Linux, and here’s where it gets fuzzy for me. Having never used virtualization before I don’t know if this is:

  • a direction I should be looking into
  • if the phrase “Windows in Linux” even applies
  • if I have it all wrong and virualizing is not an option
  • and if it is a direction worth looking into which of the various vitualization technologies I should use.

Some pointers in the right direction here would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Reg

I use VirtualBox to run Windows 2000 and Windows XP, mainly to use an old version of Microsoft Works. It works well, I can print envelopes form the database, something I never could do with Linux software. It helps if you have a lot of memory, I have 8GB, so I can allocate enough for Windows. And enough spare hard drive space for a drive for Windows. Since these are old versions of Windows, I disabled networking, don’t need the Internet anyway (just temporarily needed to activate Windows XP, that was before Microsoft ended support for it). I made an “appliance” for each and DVD+R backups of them, to easily re-install everything on future openSuse and VirtualBox installs. That way, I don’t need to activate XP again (unless maybe I get a new PC, but can still use Windows 2000, that doesn’t need to be activated). All the installed software is all there, too, no need to reinstall all that.

On Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:36:01 +0000, Reg gie wrote:

> - if the phrase “Windows in Linux” even applies

Yep. Virtual machines are just that - hardware implemented in software,
and you can install an operating system inside the environment that’s
different than the one running on the desktop

See http://www.virtualbox.org for information.

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

On 04/14/2015 09:36 PM, Reg gie wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> Unfortunately there is one program in Windows I am yet to get away from
> in my business which is QuickBooks. Someday I will but so far it’s just
> too entrenched in the accounting industry to not use it for now - at
> least for me. I tried installing it under wine and that was a no go.
>
> It seems the two alternatives are either a dual boot or virtualize
> Windows in Linux, and here’s where it gets fuzzy for me. Having never
> used virtualization before I don’t know if this is:
>
> - a direction I should be looking into
> - if the phrase “Windows in Linux” even applies
> - if I have it all wrong and virualizing is not an option
> - and if it is a direction worth looking into which of the various
> vitualization technologies I should use.
>
>
> Some pointers in the right direction here would be much appreciated.
>

I am in same boat as you but with Quicken instead of Quickbooks. I use a
VirtualBox setup with Windows 7 for just this reason. I am trying to use
Moneydance and find it very good but just not up to the task, yet. When
Intuit makes me do the next upgrade I think I will switch to Moneydance
and get off of the continual “give me more money” train Intuit runs.

Ken

When you use a virtualization technology like Virtualbox, KVM, Xen (all the preceding free in the standard repos, but often recommend adding the special virtualization repo) and VMware, you can not only run Windows simultaneously with your running openSUSE, Windows is installed into its own isolated environment and runs pretty much like installing on bare metal.

You can also try running WINE (also in the openSUSE repos) which enables “Windows on Linux.” The environment is not isolated but runs “on top of” Linux.

Personally, I prefer virtualization over both WINE and multi-booting. By running a totally isolated and portable environment with its own boot, your system is greatly simplified which means far fewer problems.

I recommend beginners use Virtualbox (free) and VMware Workstation(commercial) for beginners and will serve your needs for most desktop use. If you have ambitions to deploy your VMs in production, I’d recommend KVM or Xen instead although Virtualbox is probably good enough for a very small network and VMware has products that span the entire use spectrum.

TSU

Thanks for all the help. I’ll give it a shot with VirtualBox.

I have one other Linux machine I wouldn’t mind virtualizing. How do you go about taking an existing installation and moving it onto a virtual installation? That is, do you have to install everything from scratch or is there a more efficient way?

Create an “appliance” and it can be imported on the other machine, it’s very easy. First export your appliance from the File > Export Appliance menu. Back up the created file on a DVD+R disc, then on the other machine, use the File > Import Appliance menu to import it. I forget, but may want to copy the file to your hard drive first, not sure that’s necesary though. It’s been a while since I’ve done this. Oh yeah, do these steps without starting your Windows virtual machine, only need to start VirtualBox for this. I forget the exact details, but it’s easy to figure out. I don’t know if Windows will need to be activated on the second machine, though. I’ve only done this when going to a newer version of openSuse and VirtualBox, but on the same PC. Other than that, everything should be there to use, even any software you installed on the Windows VM. One suggestion, use a shared directory for your data files so the appliance will not be too big to fit on a DVD. Then you can back those up on separate DVD disc(s). Unless you don’t have many data files, of course, then you could fit it all on one disc.

I think these instructions are for moving from one virtualized env. to another. My source env. is not virtualized, it’s just a regular opensuse 13.2 install that I would like to get into a virtualized env.

Do you mean you want to virtualize an openSuse install and move it to another computer? I don’t know if that’s possible without first installing openSuse on VirtualBox first - if that’s what you mean. I’ll let someone else answer that one :slight_smile:

Close, I want to keep it on the same computer. I want to change my non-virutal install into a virtualized install.

On Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:26:01 +0000, Reg gie wrote:

> I think these instructions are for moving from one virtualized env. to
> another. My source env. is not virtualized, it’s just a regular opensuse
> 13.2 install that I would like to get into a virtualized env.

The term you’re looking for is “P2V” (physical to virtual) - VMware
provides a free tool (VMware Converter) that can do this, depending on
the source operating system. You might check that out.

It can target a format that is compatible with VirtualBox.

Jim

Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

Very nice, thanks.

I was in YaST and saw “Install Hypervisor and Tools” under section called Virtualization. I haven’t heard anyone talk about Hpyervisor, is this another type of virtualizor or something I should be looking into?

On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:56:02 +0000, Reg gie wrote:

> Very nice, thanks.
>
> I was in YaST and saw “Install Hypervisor and Tools” under section
> called Virtualization. I haven’t heard anyone talk about Hpyervisor, is
> this another type of virtualizor or something I should be looking into?

That would be either XEN or KVM. That’s more advanced usage, VirtualBox
is probably all you need for what you’re doing.

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

A minor FYI -
A Hypervisor is a layer of virtualization software used by every virtualization that supports paravirtualization. Paravirtualization is when the virtualization uses CPU hardware extensions, and you enable this by booting to your BIOS menu and selecting “enable virtualization” or something like that. Is required for all the virtualization described so far in this thread. The advantages of paravirtualization include performance, relatively simpler software requirements and some common standards. Disadvantages include unable to run on non x86/x64 CPU.

Since discussing non-paravirtualized virtualization is getting OT, if you wish you can research these other types of virtualization including searching other topics in the Forum.

So, although the YAST “Install Hypervisor and Tools” specifically installs Xen or KVM, other virtualization you’d likely use like VBox also deploy a Hypervisor.

TSU

That was very interesting. Thank you!

I’ve just got one more question. I get that virtualbox is a good start for a beginner but even though I’m new to virtualization I am not new to technology (decades of working with technology) and don’t mind taking on something a little more advanced. Is Xen or KVM that much more difficult than Virtualbox? I do like the fact that both of those are part of the OS install and so even though VirualBox might be enough I tending to want to so with one of those two. However, if they are a lot harder to work with then I probably should take smaller steps.

Something like VBox will ordinarily satisfy all your needs running on a single machine.
If you have aspirations for running a server farm (more than one machine) running virtualization or might want to one day migrate your machine to the Cloud (eg Amazon EC2, Rackspace, etc) then VBox probably isn’t sufficient unless you’re willing to consider Oracle’s own cloud solution (but because that platform is not widely adopted today isn’t very probable).

VBox is popular especially because it has a relatively easy to understand graphical VM Manager.

If you search this Forum, you’ll find I’ve opined a few times comparing VBox and other virtualization technologies including KVM, Xen, VMware and even non-virtualization but isolation solutions using LInux Containers of which today Docker and LXC are the primary options.

TSU

On Sat, 18 Apr 2015 21:36:01 +0000, Reg gie wrote:

> Is Xen or KVM that much more difficult
> than Virtualbox?

In a word, yes. Both require custom kernels that may not work well with
proprietary video drivers, for one thing.

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

Every paravirtualization technology I’ve seen and used uses a modified kernel although Xen is the only one I’ve seen that likely is distributed with a pre-compiled kernel (so is its own GRUB menu selection). All others modify the kernel during installation.

One of the reasons why I prefer KVM over other virtualization technologies on Linux is that most if not all the main required parts are distributed in the mainline kernel which in my view improves likelihood better stability and possibly lessens complexity.

When I hear questions about difficulty I generally interpret the question relating to User Tools. The basic functionality of virtualization is usually pretty stable, it either works or it doesn’t. Lower level functionality is usually not exposed to Users probably for security reasons and likely because it’s pretty basic.

But, User Tools can be what differentiates choices. How intuitive is the GUI VM Manager? Is it built in an easy to understand, easy to find configuration way? Does it include realtime resource monitoring? Is it complete?

There are a few “enterprise” functions to look for, but general not many… like

  • Live migration, without shutting down a VM can it be moved from one physical machine to another
  • Live backups. Otherwise for a small shop, shut down the VM and copy (or as has been suggested you can export although not really necessary for private use)
  • Less a virtualization feature but possibly a significant issue choosing your distro… openSUSE automatically re-configures networking while other distros typically require an involved process of copying MAC addresses from one network interface to another and manually removing old interfaces.

So, aside from any bugs should they exist,
I don’t consider Xen or KVM significantly harder than VBox or VMware although I feel libvirt which provides the GUI VM Manager for both is an open source project may be less polished than commercial products like VMware or not as designed for the absolute beginner like either VMware or VBox.

TSU

I like VMware, but the latest kernel 3.19 seems incompatible with VMware 11.01, and needs a patch.

On 2015-04-15 15:56, tsu2 wrote:

> I recommend beginners use Virtualbox (free) and VMware
> Workstation(commercial)

Vmware Player is free (gratis) for non commercial use. It doesn’t have
all the features of the Workstation version, but for my uses it is fine.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.

(from 13.1 x86_64 “Bottle” (Minas Tirith))