[Dirvish] Windows machines, dirvish/rsync, and vmware

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Fri Jan 12 23:50:06 PST 2007

I am not running XP or Vista, but I do run Windows 98 as a guest
image under VMware on one of my machines.  More precisely, I use
vmplayer, which is free, and does a pretty good job as a virtualizer.  

vmware makes virtual disks (.vmdk files) which the guest image treats
like real disks.  When the guest image is halted, the images are
accessable with a program called vmware-mount.pl .  I have not explored
this in detail, but it looks like an interesting way to get at the
windows files from the host.  If it is a Linux host, then dirvish/rsync
could back up the guest via the host.

Performance-wise, a vmware guest is not as fast as running natively
on bare metal, but it is close, and the performance gap is narrowing.
Virtual machines are the Next Big Thing.  So it may be possible to
wrap your XP or Vista guest in a thin Linux shell, which takes care
of firewalling and networking and other things that Windows is weak
at, while still providing compatability for most important things.
Those of you maintaining a windows presence to run business apps
might consider this, and I would be interested in the experiences 
of folks using XP and Vista as to whether this works.

BTW, there are beta versions of VMWare 6.0 available for free download,
but they don't do anything I need that vmware player doesn't , and they
add run in debug mode (slower).  Still, those versions might be useful
to some of you experimenters.

So, windows folks, look at VMware, and let us know what you think.


BTW, I store most of the important Windows 98 files on a D drive,
which is a physical vfat partition on my hard drive.  I do dirvish
backups directly on that partition if windows isn't running, so I
haven't needed vmware-mount.pl .   I put the .vmdk binary files in
a directory that dirvish/rsync ignores, then occasionally copy them
into a directory that dirvish does back up ( and with every change,
another 300MB or so used up on the backup drive, I don't back up
these big blobs often).
Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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