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Re: [Xen-users] Usage question

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Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Usage question
From: Mark Williamson <mark.williamson@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2008 16:38:28 +0100
Cc: chris botos <chris.botos@xxxxxxxxx>
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Hi Chris,

> I'm new to virtualization and this list.  I have started investigating
> Xen for what may be an unusual application.
> We have a single-user, dual-monitor product that runs under Solaris 10
> x86 that would like to have r/w-access to a file created by an
> application running under Windows XP.   XP and its app are hidden to
> the user, and require access to a USB port.
> Can Xen support this configuration? 

"Sort of" ;-)

> I'm assuming I would need to run 
> both Solaris and Windows as guests.

Probably.  You can, in principle, run Solaris as dom0, in which case it'd have 
direct access to the video hardware, which might be useful to you.  I'm not 
an expert at Solaris on xen so I couldn't say that much more...  I don't know 
if USB passthrough would work on Solaris, which could be a problem.

The other alternative would be to run Linux as dom0 and run both Solaris and 
windows as domUs.  That'd probably get you lower display performance since 
you'd be running through the virtual framebuffer, though it really depends 
what exactly you're trying to do!

The Qemu device model used by Xen supports USB device passthrough to guests 
such as Windows in principle, although I've heard varying reports of success 
with this in the past.  What kind of devices do you need to pass through the 
USB port?

> I realize that this is a very 
> general question, but I'm trying to get a handle on whether there are
> any obvious roadblocks to the approach as I dig deeper.  For example,
> with some preliminary searching of this list I notice there may be
> problems with sharing folders between guests.

Sharing folders would best be done using something like CIFS / Samba, since 
there's not a safe way of directly sharing disk accesses between Windows and 
Solaris (not commonly available or free, anyhow!).  You could restrict this 
sharing to a totally internal virtual network on the system if you wanted.

Possibly worth noting that other virtualisation platforms could also handle 
something like the setup you describe, and they may also offer different 
tradeoffs regarding CPU performance, graphics performance, ease of sharing 
folders, etc.


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