Internet-Based Virtual Computing Infrastructure for Cloud Computing

Internet-Based Virtual Computing Infrastructure for Cloud Computing

James Hardy (University of Derby, UK), Lu Liu (University of Derby, UK), Cui Lei (Beihang University, China) and Jianxin Li (Beihang University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2854-0.ch016


Virtualisation is massively important in computing and continues to develop. This chapter discusses and evaluates the virtualisation technologies and in particular, a state-of-art system called iVIC (the Internet-based Virtual Computing) developed by Beihang University, China as it provides an all-in-one example of many of the major headline Cloud Computing titles of SaaS, IaaS, and HaaS. The chapter considers several virtualization packages which are either commercial, community, or experimental, before focusing on iVIC, a virtual machine cloning system that may be beneficial in a learning or office environment. The chapter introduces a test environment which is used to assess the performance of the iVIC process and the virtual machines created. Power requirements of virtual, as opposed to physical machines, are compared and evaluated. The chapter closes with conclusions regarding virtualisation and iVIC.
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2. Virtualisation

2.1 Virtualisation History

Virtualisation has been in use for several decades. Some of the earliest references that have been obtained are dated from 1964 (Varian, 1997) and formed part of the operating system of IBM CP-40 for the S/360 mainframe.

Many of the reasons and principles of the early IBM “pseudo machines” such as separation of user environments and OS backwards compatibility are still of particular importance in today. As an example, Microsoft provides backward compatibility by including “XP Mode” with Windows 7 to “reduce possible operational downtime by extending the life of existing software” (Microsoft, 2011). XP Mode is a virtual machine “appliance” with an XP operating system.

The concept of operating system backwards compatibility can be expanded beyond purely software and into the realms of hardware. Hardware emulation allows software intended for a specific hardware platform to function on completely different hardware. Early examples are “games console emulators”, where computers such as the Z80 based Sinclair ZX range from the very early 1980s were emulated on 6502 based Acorn and consequently Mac, DOS and several Windows variants (Scherrer, 2011). Although there is an apparently eternal interest in “retrospective gaming”, the original motivators for these emulators were purely commercial from user community: to extend the life of game software purchased for a system that very quickly became obsolete.

Emulation can also be used to reduce development time and cross-system expertise. Many programs intended for Windows can be executed directly on Linux systems using “compatibility layer” technologies such as Wine (WineHQ, 2011). If wine is available, any “.exe” programs started in a Linux environment first invoke Wine. The benefit to the software producer is that they do not need to write two sets of code, or employ two separate programmers. The result is reduced costs in production and maintenance, faster time to market and a significantly wider marketplace. The terms “emulation” and “virtualisation” are frequently used interchangeably, and any difference between the two is marginal. If there is a distinction, then it is that the host hardware is emulated whilst the guest is virtualised.

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