Virtually running

I got my first taste of virtualized Operating Systems.

Virtually running

I am running Windows XP Pro SP2 as a host environment. I wanted to be able to run IE7 as we are going to need to support it soon, while still having access to IE6. Other environments like Ubuntu were needed also. I stumbled upon VirtualBox from innotek. Using version 1.5.4 (released 27 December 2007) I was able to quickly get Windows XP Pro up and running. I used a fixed size virtual HDD (10GB) and dedicated 256MB of my system RAM to the environment. Installation from CD was straight forward, but mounting an ISO to boot from never worked for me. I’m still not sure if I was doing something wrong or if their is a bug.

Once I had XP up and running, I took a shot at Ubuntu 7.10. Again, booting from an ISO didn’t work. I put the CD in and ran the Live CD features in the virtual environment. When it came time to install, an error was generated during both the automatic partitioning and manual partitioning. The ext3 root was created quickly, but the swap refused to mount. After reading through the Ubuntu forums, I couldn’t find a solution on the VirtualBox site, I found that I had to use a dynamic sized virtual HDD, not a fixed size. Once that change was made, I got back into the live CD environment and had no problems getting the system installed. When I left work tonight, I was updating the 185 packages as prompted by the built-in updater.

Installing the “Guest Additions” software in both the XP and Ubuntu virtuals made the host user experience just that much better. I could easily move my mouse between windows without hitting the right control button first, mesh all of the desktops together, use windows remote desktop connections, etc. The additions ISO is included in the download and can be easily mounted to run from the command line or terminal as appropriate.

The benefits to my employer could be significant if we move to a virtualized environment. We have several desktops acting as single purpose servers that could easily be consolidated onto one server acting as a virtuals host. VirtualBox made the whole experience pleasant, fun, and exciting to see that many operating systems going at once.

My hardware consists of a Core 2 Duo E6660, 2GB 800Mhz RAM, dual 160GB WD hard drives, and a 256MB 7600GS PCI-E graphics card pumping bytes to a 20in Acer Widescreen LCD monitor. Having the host OS and the two virtuals running wasn’t a problem in any of the environments. Everything was smooth, I didn’t have any problems.

Time will tell if VirtualBox is ready for the enterprise primetime. I’ll need to look closer at the license options, stability over time, and ease of use.

For now, I’m just having fun running virtually.

New website

I was excited to get a chance to work on a new website off/on for the last few months. The Salem Clinic website hasn’t been redone since 2001 and needed a face lift. Thanks to help from members of the Open Designs community it was finally completed in December 0f 2007 and launched in January 2008.  It is all pretty standard PHP on the back end and use jQuery on the front end. WordPress handles all of the content, links, and blog. I’ve covered WordPress as a CMS before if you missed it.

Old Site

Old Website

New Site

New Website

The $7.5 million dollar host

Thumbs way up!I read a lot of articles and blogs everyday using Google Reader. I had about 500 articles this morning, but this was definitely one of the more interesting ones. Dreamhost accidentally billed every single customer as if today was 12/31/2008 because somebody fat fingered the manual running of the automatic billing system. In all, customers were overcharged by $7,500,000 in just a few hours. Wow. Wrong button buddy. Sadly (to me at least), he blames the programmer for letting him make such a mistake. This is why client side validation is so important I guess and a few extra “Are you sure?” prompts can’t hurt. If nothing else, they are being transparent about the whole thing, which is good and more then I can say about some companies *cough* Prosper *cough*.

Not that I have room to talk. I’ve been known to shutdown an entire server room with one very well misplaced footstep behind the server cabinets. The still of the air and silence was deafening to say the least.

Update #1: Dreamhost obviously hasn’t learned their lesson on humility.
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