Virtualization issues with Old Hardware

Today I was working to create a Virtual Machine using Oracle VM VirtualBox so I could test a Windows 8.1 64 bit ISO. I have it installed on my Sony Vaio that is running an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 Processor. Previously I had installed the 64 bit version of Windows 8.1 on this laptop so it does support a 64 bit operating system but I still could not create a 64 bit Virtual Machine. After some basic research on Google about the T6600 Processor and about Virtual Machines and how virtualization plays a role in them I found that this processor does not support virtualization and with out that support you can not create 64 bit Virtual Machines. Likewise if you are running Windows 8 you will not be able to enable Hyper-V (which comes installed with windows 8 and 8.1) because the processor lacks the support for virtualization.  Carl also had trouble with VMs on old hardware.

So that was Dan’s experience, I had problems too but I was trying something a little different.  I have an old AMD 64 3000+ based system on which I was hoping to set up a bare-metal hypervisor, mainly because I had never done so and thought it would be cool to learn for my own purposes and potentially beneficial for the new job I just started as a System Administrator.  Anyway, the hypervisors I am aware of are Microsoft’s Hyper-V (both as a role in Server and as a standalone), VMware’s vSphere, and the Linux based solutions KVM and Xen. My main issue was the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 motherboard which uses a ULI chipset which in the Windows world only ever had drivers for XP and Vista.  Server 2012 wouldn’t even attempt to install, and after a few hours of monkeying around in the bios settings, actually flashing a new verison of the bios, I finally gave in and installed Server 2008 Core install.  Well it installed, but I had no networking! Presumably the ULI chipset having no drivers is probably why the onboard as well as PCI network cards are unrecognized by windows.   Confronted with a windows command shell and no networking and the grim prosepect of learning how to install Windows drivers at the command shell, I threw in the towel and moved on.  Next I tried vSphere … same thing! OK so why didn’t I try Linux from the get go? I don’t know.

XenServer LogoFinally I elected to get XenServer. Of course, again probably due to using archaic hardware, it would not install.  It did however get to the point where it was searching for installation media and could not find the local source, so it offered the option to install via FTP/HTTP/NFS. I elected to quickly set up a FTP server on my desktop and try it that way.  I did so on Ubuntu by installing vsftpd. All I needed to do was to modify a line in it’s config file /etc/vsftpd.conf :

# Let local users login
# If you connect from the internet with local users, you should enable TLS/SSL/FTPS

After which I was able to point my XenServer installer to where I extracted the XenServer ISO under my user’s home and give it my normal login credentials. Worked like a charm!  After which I just removed the FTP server.  Next time we’re going to actually set up some VMs in XenServer.

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