Release: Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.6

As Brian Madden correctly noted, Parallels has recently updated its OS virtualization platform, Virtuozzo Containers (PVC), to version 4.6 in September 2010.

The company didn’t announce the release, not even with a single press announcement, despite Containers remains the only OS virtualization platform for server consolidation on Windows environments on the market.
This is the reason why, most publications, including virtualization.info, didn’t report the news.

Virtuozzo Containers has been updated to version 4.5 more than one year ago, introducing significant new features like resource pooling, containers cloning and startup priority.
Version 4.6 is a mix bag: the Windows version doesn’t introduce any major new feature except the support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, support for Parallels Virtual Automation (PVA) 4.6.1, and support for a number of 3rd anti-virus and backup solutions:

  • Antivirus:
    • Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 with Update 6
    • McAfee VirusScan 8.7i with Patch 3
    • AVG 9
    • F-Secure 9
    • Sophos 9
  • Backup:
    • Microsoft Windows Backup
    • Microsoft NT Backup
    • Symantec Backup Exec 2010
    • Tivoli Storage Manager 6.1.3
    • Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Server

Despite the welcome addition of Windows Server 2008 R2, its support has some significant limitations:

  • physical to virtual (P2V) migration to a container is not supported
  • CLI utilities for container virtual disks defragmentation are not supported.
  • a container cannot be stored on Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV)

plus a number of minor ones that require modifications of configuration, Windows registry hacking, etc.

The Linux version, instead, introduces a few interesting capabilities:

  • Disk I/O limits¬†
    You can configure the bandwidth a Container is allowed to use for its disk input and output (I/O) operations. Limiting the disk I/O bandwidth can help you prevent the situations when high disk activities in one Container can slow down the performance of other Containers on the Hardware Node.
  • Disk I/O accounting¬†
    You can view disk input and output (I/O) statistics for Containers by using the vzstat utility or examining the /proc/bc/<CT_ID>/iostat file. Using this statistics, you can easily identify Containers that generate the highest disk I/O load on the Hardware Node.
  • Isolation enhancement for private networks
    You can now create isolated L3 networks for specific Containers so that the Containers not included in an isolated network cannot send packets to or intercept packets on this network.
  • NFS server support
    You can now run kernel NFS servers inside Containers. To allow a Container to host an NFS server, you need to turn on the nfsd feature using the vzctl utility