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Author Topic: An alternative to Duel Boot  (Read 6825 times)

steeladept

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An alternative to Duel Boot
« on: June 10, 2007, 10:17:48 PM »
I was just thinking, with all the great software out there for virtualization of everything, duel booting computers, and other similar technologies; has anyone heard of, or had experience with a software KVM?  What I am envisioning is one machine with two hard drives.  Each hard drive has it's own OS and software on it, but it is each independently supported on the same hardware.  It would likely require some sort of BIOS support for hotkey switching, so I am not sure it exists, but I thought I would throw it out there to see if anyone has heard or seen anything like this.

hollowlife1987

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2007, 10:29:06 PM »
Not sure if this is what your looking for but its pretty close,

Virtual Server 2005


Allows you to run multiple server os's from one machine that is my understanding of it anyways.
There is a linux program that does the same thing but i cant remember the name of it right now.

asfd

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2007, 02:48:43 AM »
try KVM... its part of linux kernel and allows exactly what you want.

hollowlife1987

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2007, 03:08:53 AM »
Upon reading of KVM you need a newer CPU that natively supports virtualization.

http://aplawrence.co..._virtualization.html

f0dder

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2007, 07:12:23 AM »
It really depends on what you want to do. Virtualization is great, but it's still not as fast as running native (especially if you need accelerated graphics - forget playing 3D games). Also, hardware virtualization in current x86 processors can actually run slower than software-only virtualization.

If you stick with dual-booting, just about any BIOS released within the last 5 years or more will have a boot-time hotkey for choosing your boot device. Some aren't all that great, but most I've seen will let you choose between individual harddrives. Granted, this does require a reboot, but then everything's running at native speeds.
- carpe noctem

cthorpe

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2007, 08:55:45 AM »
I think that steeladept was referring to a Keyboard-Video-Mouse switch when they said KVM.  I don't think that you would be able to do something like that with one motherboard, cpu, set of memory, etc even if you could get a program to switch hard drives on the fly.

Carl

steeladept

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2007, 10:22:21 AM »
I think that steeladept was referring to a Keyboard-Video-Mouse switch when they said KVM.  I don't think that you would be able to do something like that with one motherboard, cpu, set of memory, etc even if you could get a program to switch hard drives on the fly.

Carl

You are right Carl.  I was trying to avoid a boot where I have to shut down one OS to start the other, while still avoiding the bulk of the hit you get using virtualization.  A KVM switch allows you to run two independent machines at the same time using a hotkey combination to switch between the two.  Virtuallization requires a software package to allow one (or more) OS's to run within a host OS environment.  What I was looking for is something where two separate hard drives with separate OS's run independently on a single motherboard/processor setup.  I think this would be impossible without a BIOS specially made for it, though memory and processor management would be problematic even in this case.  That is why I think this does not exist, but I thought I would ask to see if anyone has seen or heard of this.

BTW:  If any of you work for a motherboard manufacturer, it could be a selling point for your company to get a leg up on the competition  :Thmbsup:

Carol Haynes

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2007, 10:53:52 AM »
So you basically want two separate computers on one motherboard? Not sure that will happen any time soon.

It may be semi-feasible by using hibernation - I know it isn't the perfect solution but it allows you to swap OSes much quicker than a full reboot.

steeladept

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2007, 11:07:56 AM »
Exactly.  I fear you are correct about it being a long way off yet.  Why would MB manufacturers want you to be able to virtualize your hardware in such a way?  That gives them enough reason to sell another MB.  Of course if you want to sway me to buy your board over others...

Never the less, it never hurts to ask.  Too bad not all companies think this way.

cthorpe

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2007, 11:21:29 AM »
Carol is right, hibernation could be useful here.  I can boot back into my hibernated Windows XP in less than half the time it takes to boot normally.  I wonder if there is a linux distro with hibernation like features as well.

Carl

Carol Haynes

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2007, 11:27:43 AM »
It would be fairly easy to build such a system with two motherboards - though you would need a custom built case to take two mobos! You'd also need lots of bucks to provide the serious amount of cooling required! Much cheaper and simpler to have two computers in separate boxes with a peripheral switch!

f0dder

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2007, 05:33:07 PM »
Theoretically: it could be done if your CPU supports hardware virtualization, but it would take quite some work on the Hypervisor that controls the system... and this would still be virtualization and impose a speed hit.

Even on a motherboard with two separate CPUs (not just one dualcore), you can't do better, since the rest of the devices in the system need to be shared...
- carpe noctem

nite_monkey

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2007, 06:42:50 PM »
there is a video on youtube where someone has a triple boot of mac, linux, and xp, and to switch between them, all he has to do is push a hot key, I'll see if I can find the video.

edit: here it is windows|mac|ubuntu
[Insert really cool signature here]
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 06:46:35 PM by nite_monkey »

hollowlife1987

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2007, 07:33:44 PM »
That site I posted earlier has links to a few different virtualization software.
That KVM one though uses the linux kernel as a hypervisor and needs hardware virtualiztion support.
I would say that one would be the best in terms of speed.

steeladept

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2007, 10:24:14 PM »
there is a video on youtube where someone has a triple boot of mac, linux, and xp, and to switch between them, all he has to do is push a hot key, I'll see if I can find the video.

edit: here it is windows|mac|ubuntu

That would do nicely if the performance was as fast as shown on a lower end machine, but I doubt it.  From what I could tell (not much) it looked vaguely like a newer MacBook...maybe even a Pro.  For that kind of price I could build a second mainstream machine and use a hardware KVM like Carol said.  I am not sure I am even looking at doing this realistically, but if I were, it would be on an older machine.  Maybe a "fast" PIII or early P4 processor with no more than 1GB ram and 2 40GB Hard Drives that I already have.

I currently have and use (well at work anyway) VMWare Workstation.  While it is great software that allows for a lot of control and configuration, there is a significant hit when you run even one machine virtually.  Two and it crawls, three and the system basically comes to a standstill.  Perhaps a new machine with hypervisor technology and such may work better, but that isn't what I have available.  Ideally I would like the advantages of having two machines with a KVM between them, but without having two separate machines.  Sounds like it is a dream still at this time though....

steeladept

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2007, 10:26:59 PM »
That site I posted earlier has links to a few different virtualization software.
That KVM one though uses the linux kernel as a hypervisor and needs hardware virtualiztion support.
I would say that one would be the best in terms of speed.

Thanks for the link, while it isn't quite ready for prime time for a windows user like me (that is why I want this, to get used to Linux), it looks very promising.   I will keep an eye on it as I get more familiar with Linux.

Carol Haynes

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2007, 04:14:15 AM »
Eh? That has got to be a fake of some kind (even the Mac kiddies look puzzled in the comments below).

I suspect he has three OSes running at the same time - two of them in a virtual environment (like VMWare).

f0dder

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2007, 05:43:19 AM »
Why would that youtube video be fake? It's simply the parallels virtual machine and some fancy desktop switcher working together. And it's not running at native performance.

There's no current solutions that work well enough imho, if you want to do interactive work and graphics. And even when hardware virtualization has matured a couple of generations, somebody would still need to write a very capable hypervisor, which isn't a small task at all...

So for the next X years, unless you want to do simple server stuff, you're better off with two physical boxes and a hardware KVM switchbox.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2007, 07:13:40 AM »
Why would that youtube video be fake? It's simply the parallels virtual machine and some fancy desktop switcher working together. And it's not running at native performance.

It doesn't say they are running in virtual machines - and the comments below are obviously a bit confused. It seems to imply that by pressing a key it is possible to switch between native installations - which obviously isn't possible which I why I think it is faked.

If someone wants that on a PC (apart from MacOS because of the copyright and ROM difficulties) you could do it with VMWare and an AHK script to swap machines. So what is the big deal?

f0dder

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2007, 08:37:52 AM »
Actually, it does say...
fastswitch.jpgAn alternative to Duel Boot

vmware can already run multiple machines at once, it just doesn't look very fancy when you switch between them :p
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: An alternative to Duel Boot
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2007, 09:29:02 AM »
Oops  :-[

I am getting less observant as my senility level increases rapidly!