What if I move my desktop inside a virtual machine?

Posted by virtualization.info Staff   |   Friday, December 2nd, 2005   |  

This is a question many of you already started to ask since a while.

What if I take my everyday desktop (workstation or laptop is indifferent) and move it on a virtual machine?

How much this will cost?
Today I can have a virtualization solution at no cost thanks to the just born VMware Player. Or, if I need more, can invest a small amount of money for a complete, brand new Workstation 5.5.

What I gain?
Give me a removable USB 2.0 hard drive (USB keys are still too small for an ordinary workstation space usage), let me move my VM inside it, and fundamentally I’ll have my portable desktop everywhere I need.

Snapshots will permit me (with VMware Player this is going to be complicated) to save my steps before installing something new (like a cumbersome Service Pack or a beta program or anything else) and having multiple branches of my desktop, to consolidate when I’m sure everything works ok.

Snapshots will also permit me to backup my data in a new fashionable way: no more file level copy on a removable backup disk, but the whole VM copy just on the physical machine itself.
As many backup as I want, if enough space. As often as I want (since Workstation 5.5 snapshots can be taken on the background and launched via command line interface, scripting the whole process).
If something goes wrong 1 minute and I’m back. Faster than restoring a Ghost clone.

The hyper-flexible networking features of Workstation could provide me a sandbox environment for host OS: I’ll just unload TCP/IP from my physical network card and just let my desktop VM going on the Net.
Or the opposite…: why don’t I use the host OS below to surf in Internet mantaining safe my desktop virtual environment? When I download something useful from a site I’ll just drag & drop it inside the VM and I’ll be happy.
In this second case I could even run my personal firewall and my antivirus just outside the VM, to avoid unfair I/O performances degradation.

The VMware virtual disks manipulation tools will permit me to enlarge my desktop virtual disk in seconds avoiding additional costs for 3rd parties disk management applications.

The native screenshots and movies capture feature will give me a way to document my work at no additional cost (even if there are a lot of good open source solutions to achieve this in any way).

What I lose?
Surely I’ll lose some performances. Virtualization in desktop products isn’t as fast as in datacenter products. I’m going to forget around 15% or more of my speed, for sure (but this is going to change as soon as AMD and Intel CPUs with virtualization extensions will wide spread).

Then I lose support for some complex graphical applications and last generation games: VMware actually just support Direct3D experimentally (I could choose to install this kind of things in the host OS anyway).

Eventually I’ll lose some money, since adopting this solution is possible only if I have enough RAM inside my physical machine. And considering today’s applications requirements this means at least 1-1,5GB.

And finally I will probably lose sleep, trying to configure the perfect environment…

blog comments powered by Disqus

virtualization.info Newest articles
Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.5

June 13th, 2017

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analysis tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and considered a competitor of Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced the release of version 4.5, available for…

Release: VMware vRealize Automation 7.3

June 6th, 2017

Today VMware announced the latest release of its cloud management platform vRealize Automation, former vCloud Automation Center.
VMware vRealize Automation 7.3 release notes can be found at this link.


Paper: Introducing the NSX-T Platform

February 9th, 2017

“We see greater potential strategic opportunity in NSX over the next decade than our franchise product vSphere has had for the past decade.”
said VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger talking about…

Paper: VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption Performance

November 22nd, 2016

Encryption of virtual machines is something that has been requested for years by the security community. VMware continued to postpone its implementation due to the negative operational impact that many…

Quest Software leaves Dell

November 1st, 2016

In September 2012 Dell announced to have completed the acquisition of Quest Software, a Californian company with an history in systems management, security, business intelligence and, falling back in our…

Citrix announces Q3 2016 results

October 21st, 2016

Citrix announced its financial results for third quarter 2016.
The revenues for the second quarter were $841 million for an increase of 3% compared to Q3 2015.
Net income was $132…

Release: VMware vSphere 6.5 & Virtual SAN 6.5

October 19th, 2016

2016 edition of VMworld US has been quite turbulent, on the other hand during VMworld Europe, happening these days in Barcelona, the company announced a few more products for the…

Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.0

October 18th, 2016

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analisys tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and now is usually compared with Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced Log Insight’s new major…

Release: Windows Server 2016 with support for Window Server & Hyper-V containers

October 13th, 2016

Yesterday Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 which the company defines as a cloud-ready OS.
Beside fancy definitions, one of the most relevant perks of this release…

Release: Oracle VM 3.4.2

September 22nd, 2016

During Oracle OpenWorld 2016 the company released version 3.4.2 of its enterprise virtualization solution.
Oracle VM is available for both x86 and SPARC based processor architectures and uses the Xen hypervisor…

VMworld US 2016 Wrap-up

September 1st, 2016

Today was the last day of VMware’s flagship conference VMworld in Las Vegas, an highly controversial edition which left a good chunk of the audience disoriented if not properly disappointed….

Gartner releases its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for 2016

August 11th, 2016

Last week Gartner updated its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the year 2016. The Magic Quadrant for the year 2015 was released in May last year…

Release: Ansible Tower 3 by Red Hat

August 2nd, 2016

Ansible is one of the four main players in the automation market, younger then the well known Chef and Puppet, has been launched in 2013 in Durham, N.C. and acquired…

IBM announces earnings for Q2 2016

July 19th, 2016

Yesterday IBM announced its results for Q2 2016.

If we compare with the same quarter in 2015 earnings per share, from continuing operations, decreased 22%. Net income, from continuing operations,…

Monthly Archive