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Torchwood Archives
8May/15Off

Site restored following a VMware crash

In the middle of the night last week, Torchwood Archives, LMeve Database, Yearly Stats and Aideron Technologies instance of LMeve vanished from the internet.

But it wasn't a DDOS attack.

It turns out hypervisors (such as VMware) sometimes crash, just like Windows does.

There was connection to neither the Linux system that powers my websites, nor to the VMware running under the hood. So at first it all looked like a good old fashioned hardware fault. It took a good while to restore, because my server is colocated in a different city, and due to real life I couldn't just go there and investigate it locally.

Here's where a remote KVM comes in handy. It's a special device that acts as keyboard, mouse and monitor, but you can access it remotely by visiting a special web page.
KVM which was connected to my server died a week earlier and was sent to RMA...

With connectivity to Linux and VMware gone, and KVM unavailable, the only way was to have a look locally, by connecting keyboard and monitor directly to the server.

What did the datacenter techie see on my box? Bluescreen I hear you say. Close. But on VMware bluescreens are... Pink. So there was a Pinkscreen waiting there. A simple power restart was enough to restore all the services back online.20121120_124732093_iOS

P.S. My coleague from work says VMware Pinkscreens are not PINK, they are PURPLE.

23Nov/11Off

Android Honeycomb 3.2 running on x86 CPUs

NEW: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich running on x86 PC/netbook: check this post


The Android-x86 project has recently released Android Honeycomb 3.2 compiled for x86 processors. It can easily run on a PC, laptop, netbook or even inside a virtual machine. Moreover, this version includes Android Market! Unfortunately, the current RC2 build does not have any Ethernet kernel modules compiled, so it is not possible to access the Internet if you install it on a VMware or Virtualbox virtual machine.

Is it just a toy for geeks or can it be actually useful? I vote for the latter, but not just yet. Developers need to notice and support the new platform first. We also have to know, that some netbooks have already been sold in dual boot Windows - Android configuration (look for Acer Aspire One D250). Android can be actually more useful for netbooks than Windows. This is due to short boot times and lots of useful widgets, which display information right on the desktop. I have successfully used Android 2.2 for a while on my Acer Aspire One for some time, and I was only missing the Android Market and a bit more stability regarding power management (problems with waking up from stand-by).

But as you recall, I have also mentioned the need for developer support. Why? Because Android running on x86 CPU will only run SDK based apps. It won't however work with more advanced games or apps written in NDK. Why? Because NDK apps are compiled for a specific CPU - ARM in this case. NDK based apps would have to be recompiled in order to run on x86 CPUs. So until x86 Android becomes a widely recognized platform, we will probably not be able to run most games and programs on this platform.

UPDATE: First paid 3D game that works on Android x-86 is Fruit Ninja. Congratulations, Halfbrick!


EDIT: I have just installed the Honeycomb 3.2 on bare metal - Acer Aspire One (AOA 110 / ZG5). The eeepc build works out of the box, with smooth accelerated graphics, working WiFi and Android Market.

Works out of the box:

  • WiFi
  • Sound
  • Touchpad
  • Browser
  • Android Market
  • Mail
  • Settings
  • Widgets

Does not work:

  • SD card emulation (storage works as USB instead)
  • Screen will sometimes rotate randomly
  • After one sleep/wake cycle it can't wake up.
  • Voice commands (Audio error)
  • Ethernet (there is no kernel module)

To install it alongside an existing linux distribution, about 3-4 GB of space is required. You can use GUI based GParted to shrink your exisiting linux partition, or console based e2fsresize. DO NOT LET THE ANDROID INSTALLER TO INSTALL GRUB - it is known to cause your previous linux unbootable. Instead, after performing the Android installation, edit your existing GRUB2 configuration (Ubuntu example for /dev/sda5 below)

sudo vi /etc/grub.d/40_custom

Add the following lines at the end of the file:

menuentry "Android-x86 Honeycomb" {
  insmod ext2
  set root='(hd0,5)'
  linux /android-2011-11-13/kernel quiet root=/dev/ram0 \
     androidboot_hardware=eeepc acpi_sleep=s3_bios,s3_mode \
     SRC=/android-2011-11-13 DATA= DPI=160
  initrd /android-2011-11-23/initrd.img
}

Save file, run update-grub

16Sep/11Off

Windows 8 Developer Preview doesn’t like VMware

Important: On February 29th, 2012 Microsoft has released Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I have already tested it - check this post to read more about the new Windows 8 beta.


Information below is true for earlier Windows 8 Developer Preview

BSOD when starting Windows 8 on VMware Server 2.0.2

BSOD when starting Windows 8 on VMware Server 2.0.2

If you have just downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview, which is available in 32 and 64 bit flavours from microsoft.com website, you might have run into trouble running it on VMware products. I was unable to boot the installer on both VMware Player and VMware Server 2.0.2, each try ended with HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error on the new, pretty BSOD.

Users report that the same problem happens on MS Virtual PC 2007. It is possible to run Windows 8 on the current version of Oracle VirtualBox 4.0.12. I have managed to installl the 32-bit Developer Preview without any issues with the following settings:

  • OS: Other/Other Unknown
  • RAM: 2048MB
  • CPU: 2 Cores, VTX enabled
  • HDD: 24GB
Windows 8 installer on Virtualbox 4.0.12

Windows 8 installer on Virtualbox 4.0.12

Windows 8 login screen

Windows 8 login screen

10Jun/11Off

Paper about virtualization

If you haven't heard or used virtualization yet, now is a good time: this trend has been growing over the past years. Now most companies are using this technology to cut on IT costs. Fear not, this technology is free and available for everyone. I have written a paper about what virtualization is and how to get involved - feel free to read it here.

I have also plans to write more about each free virtualization product available, so stay tuned.