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Re: Virtualized desktop


On Sat, Jun 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM, Jimmy Thrasibule
<jimmy.thrasibule@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm looking to renew my hardware and I'm wondering how Debian can help
> me to virtualize my desktop environment.
> My first go was to have 2 Intel NUC and 2 screens, one NUC more stable
> and one I can play with. I want to use both screens with both
> computers so this implies to also have two KVMs.

Why 2 PCs? If you're virtualizing, you can have stable and unstable
VMs in the same PC.

> Then came the idea to virtualize everything. Make both computers a
> hypervisor cluster (using Xen or KVM) and run all systems virtualized.
> But at which point can this be done for desktop system?

I don't see why not.

> Here are some points I'm blocking with:
> 1. I want two screens and be able take make each VM to use one (left
> or right) or both screens. Maybe by pressing some keyboard shortcuts.

A VM is a full-blown OS, i don't think you can have 2 VMs using the
same monitor simultaneously, but i could be wrong.

> 2. I want mouse a keyboard to be moved to the VM of my choice or
> dedicated to one VM and use Synergy [1] for the others.

Hadn't heard of Synergy.

> 3. I will have somewhere a Windows VM so good support is needed.

In Xen you can  use an HVM (instead of a paravirtualized kernel).

> 4. What about the graphics? Can I still make use of Blender for
> example? How the graphic card shared between each VM?

Graphics can be difficult, it depends on the hardware. You can try VGA
or PCI passthrough. It's also important you check the CPU supports
virtualization (a must) and other components, like the graphics card,
have an IOMMU (a want, it'll ease passthrough).

> 5. I'd like to make both hypervisor work together. Can I use the local
> drive of each computer to ensure migration and folder sharing?

You can use a VM as your samba server... or NFS. Either way do use LVM.

Once you create a VM, you can access it via console. Xen also supplies
its own VNC server so you can also access the GUI. Or you can fiddle
with XDMCP, which is more fun :)

> I see many advantages which this setup:
> 1. I can freely test, new VM and we are done.
> 2. I can make a snapshot at any time just in case and go back if my
> system crashes.
> And some drawbacks:
> 1. I will never have full performance of my hardware.

How big a penalty depends on many factors, but it's worth to play with :)

> Is it for you something that can be done or no way?

I've been fiddling on and off with Xen and an old desktop. I got to
remote to a VM using XDMCP but ran into some sound issues using
pulseaudio, haven't looked further yet. Sharing screens or creating
one big screen out of 2 monitors has been around since XFree86. XOrg
supports it as well. Read your X server's documentation, as well as
XDM's (or whichever display manager you're using).

I also had a remote desktop session on a Windows Server which for some
reason never accepted my credentials via RDP (but did via console, so
it was a configuration issue). And there was a VM for my samba share,
webserver, etc.

The Xen wiki has lots of information: http://wiki.xenproject.org


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