VM Portability to the Max
Here's a VM that you can run anywhere without any installation.
Lately, I have been hearing a lot of "Wouldn't it be cool
if you can run a VM on another system without having to install
the VMware Player or Virtual PC?" Of course, my thought was,
"Yes!" Recently, Harley Stagner, the technical editor
for my book, Virtualization:
From the Desktop to the Enterprise
(Apress), turned me on
to the QEMU
The QEMU Emulator can allow you to run a virtual machine without
having to install any software. If you'd like to try it out, download
Linux-embedded. From the download site, select one of the links
from the mirror list. After you're redirected to a mirror site,
click on the "current" folder and then select the dsl-embedded
zip file. If you want to bypass the navigation, click here
to download the latest dsl-embedded zip file.
Once you've downloaded the file, you will need to extract it using
a tool such as WinZip. Fully extracted, the files take up 109 MB
of disk space, so the extracted VM is small enough to fit on a 128MB
USB drive. Now to run the DSL VM, just go to the extracted file
location and double-click on the dsl-windows.bat file. The VM will
boot up and you're on your way.
Once booted up, you will see that several applications are available,
including the Firefox web browser and an Rdesktop client. Figure
1 shows an example of FireFox running inside of QEMU.
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 1. Here, Firefox is running inside of QEMU.
With DSL running inside of the QEMU Emulator, you have a fully
portable VM that you can run off of a CD or USB drive. Since it's
a complete live environment, nothing is saved by default. So you
can run the DSL VM, browse the Web using Firefox, and when you're
done you just close the VM window. When you restart the VM, you
will see that none of your previous browsing history is saved. Since
the DSL-Embedded image also includes remote desktop and VNC clients,
you will also now have a go-anywhere remote management application
If you're an avid VMware user like me, you will notice the difference
in performance between DSL on QEMU and running the DSL VM Appliance
using VMware Player. If you're looking for optimal performance and
have access to install the VMware Player on a system, then I still
recommend the VMware Player. But if you're using a system in which
you do not have full administrative access, then running a DSL VM
on QEMU might be just what you're looking for.