CERN Accelerating science


What is VirtualBox?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 09:39 — Daniel Lombraña...  (Updated July 2013, BS)

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization hypervisor for enterprise as well as home use. A hypervisor allows your computer to host one or more Virtual Machines, running different operating systems than your own computer runs. This is essential for our Test4Theory project.
Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.

What is Virtualization?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 11:08 — Daniel Lombraña...

Virtualization, in computing, is the creation of a virtual computer that can run an operating system, applications, etc. within your real hardware. You can obtain more information about this topic in the Wikipedia.

What is CernVM?

Wed, 07/06/2011 - 08:44 — Daniel Lombraña... CernVM is a Virtual Software Appliance for the participants of CERN LHC experiments. The Appliance represents an extensible, portable and easy to configure user environment for developing and running LHC physics software both locally, on Grids and on Clouds, independently of Operating System software and hardware platforms (GNU/Linux, Windows, MacOSX).

The goal is to remove a need for the installation of the experiment software on each target platform, and thus to minimize the number of platforms (compiler-OS combinations) on which experiment software needs to be supported and tested. Visit the CernVM homepage for further details.

Why do we need a virtualization application?

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 10:51 — Daniel Lombraña...

This project runs very large CERN software packages with complex dependencies that cannot be easily ported to all the volunteers' operating systems (Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS X). For this reason, we use a virtualization solution, which enables us to run complex codes independently of your platform. Additionally, using virtualization adds an extra layer of security, as if something goes wrong in the code execution this will not affect your computer.

The virtual machine is resetting/rebooting itself, is this the expected behavior?

Tue, 09/13/2011 - 14:04 — Daniel Lombraña...  (Updated July 2013, BS)

The Co-Pilot software detects if your virtual machine is in an unrecoverable state (due to unexpected errors, lost of connectivity, etc.), and reboots/resets it to start the execution of new experiments again. This will not affect at all your work unit or BOINC credit. However, it should only happen very rarely - if it is frequent you almost certainly have a network connectivity problem.

Why the Virtual Machine is not using all my CPU cores?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 12:16 — Daniel Lombraña...  (Updated July 2013, BS)

The new VBoxWrapper does not support more than 1 core currently.

(In any case, due to the limited use of multi-threading for the current application, only about 1 and a half cores can be utilized in practice).

Our older CernVM Wrapper does support multi-core systems. However, we only used at most two cores, because the current experiments will not benefit at all from 3 or more cores. Thanks to this, your BOINC client will be able to run other projects in the free and available cores of your computer.

I've updated VirtualBox and now I cannot see the VM console. How can I fix it?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 09:49 — Daniel Lombraña... (Updated July 2013, BS)

If you have upgraded VirtualBox, you will need to also upgrade the VirtualBox Extensions Pack, otherwise you will not be able to see again the Virtual Machine Console. After upgrading the extensions, cancel the running WU and request a new one, this will allow T4T to configure the VM correctly with the new extensions.