Portable Virtual Machine?
This ain’t gonna be yer usual post ehh fellas. As a matter of fact this is a super advanced post. So for those of you who actually wanna try this. Go right ahead.
What am I talking about here. Portable Virtual Machines? Well. How many of you know how a virtual machine works? It’s a software implementation of hardware in an emulated environment. Right, good answer you pass, and when you create one, the OS thinks it’s in a real hardware environment and can act like it would if it where on an actual machine. Usually used for testing and Server file sharing and stuff. (ok no one likes a show off) Very cost effective and cool.
But here’s my problem. I usually have to work on my own Windows Server 2008 Virtual machine and save the changes and do stuff to it on a daily basis. The problem is, the only machine i have capable of running a 2008 server virtual is my home pc becasue my laptop cannot handle it. Unless i fully actually install it on my laptop, but i would never sacrifice my laptop that way. And it would super slow still. So, what i realized is that people carry their virtuals with them all the time. But they use virtual pc here at school. And one thing about Windows servers, is that they are attached, really well to their emulated hardware. And if you try to use a Windows server that was created on Virtual PC and move it to Virtualbox. It would blues Screen of death. And the same thing the other way around.
One solution could have been just to use Virtual PC and work on my server through there. But I don’t want to. I want to use my virtual box. So then in order to make a fully portable virtual machine. One that can be used on any machine without having to install it. See, here was my goal. Take my windows Server 2008 Virtual machine and work on it anywhere on any computer, (capable enough) and in less than 5 minutes from boot up. Also without changing anything on the computer itself.
My original goal was to find a Linux live CD that had virtualbox in it, and only that, also that it would run in the RAM, in order to prevent overhead on the live usb hard drive i was going to install it to. The problem with that is there was no “real” Live Virtualbox invented yet, (the one i found had too much overhead “Pinguy OS”) so i had to create my own using SLAX. http://www.slax.org/ made it super easy to do. You can try to make your own distro too! The only “problem” is that it doesn’t easily install natively. That’s not a problem! that’s just what i need! So Slax it is. I built it with virtual-box and all the modules needed. Installed it on a USB flash drive and Started it up. The Virtual box run fine, but there was only one problem. A permissions issue was not letting me write to my other external drive where my virtual machines were. So in order to solve this i unmounted the external, (i later found out it was an NTFS problem.) and force mounted it in the terminal. Once i had write access to it i was finally able to access my virtual machines and work on them as if they were in their natural environment.
So as you can see it took two usb drives, one for OS and the other for DATA storage of the vdi virtual hard drives. This way i can work on the anywhere at school, or at home or any place i can run my Live cd, Live USB or that already has virtualbox installed.
Why did i choose virtual box, Mainly because it’s super easy to set up, can be installed and run from a live medium. And because I’m used to it.
Now, i looked on forums and all over the web to see if someone has taken my idea and improved but have not found that yet, maybe it’s not practical, but it is very cost effective, much better than buying a new laptop. And hopefully sometime in the future Oracle, (the company that owns Virtual-box, will make their own Live CD that is much more efficient for the same purpose I’m using it for. The only downside to this i see for far is that i need to use two usb dirves as you may have noticed, I would like to only rely on the 500GB external i story my Virtuals, but the master boot record for SLAX is only meant for Fat32 and not NTFS which is what is needed for +4 gb file sizes, and we al know virtual Hard drives grow that big. Ok so, in order to prevent fancy partiioning and wasted time i just decided to use another flash drive. Effective and it works, running this in the RAM is very fast, until i fire up a virtual and then it starts to slow down. so i also went with running it off the usb to save ram space and it’s works well now.
Ok well thanks for listening to my long boring story. More good useful posts coming up soon! until then.
(update!) Ok it’s been a week since i wrote this, but i have now just been banned from doing this on the school computers. Due to hacking reasons and they think i don’t know what I’m doing. Come on! I know what I’m doing will not harm the school computers! In fact they think other-wise due to that fact the the whole reason i started to do this was that the school computers take like 10 Minutes to start up! no joke! So i assumed (correctly) that it would be faster for me to boot from a USB than the usual Windows XP 64 bit. So in my impatience i shut down and hard rested the school computer i was working on, it took too long to reboot, i was like, forget this junk, and in hard reseting the Windows XP, we all know what happens. The NTFS ruins the current file it was working on and bla bla bla XP won’t work. So long story short. I ruined an XP machine, not by using Linux, but simply by restarting it. So they don’t want me using Linux on their computers ever again. I mean other teachers allowed it, (or probably didn’t care) but one noticed me and immediately made a notice of it, so ask your teachers if you can do their on their computers.