The benefits of virtualization on the desktop
For me as a home user, the main advantage of virtualization is the ability to save the state of the operating system. This means that all open window tabs in the browsers, the background program, working tables, etc when the computer shuts down and will remain when you switch to recover. You can immediately continue working.
The second advantage is that the computer can safely experiment and not be afraid to Bang data, Samusocial file system or to violate the dependencies of the package Manager. In a virtual environment you can do anything, and then, if necessary, to quickly reset all the changes.
Thirdly, to do backup is a pleasure, because the whole system is in one file. Leaked image on an external HDD and ready.
Fourthly, it is sufficient to install and configure how it should work environment and after that you can replace a long and tedious process of installation quick and fun process of cloning. Copied the system image, start the virtual machine, apt-get upgrade - and you can work.
Fifthly, you can have the operating system image in the RAM disk and get a truly enchanting acceleration all at once. I did an experiment: 4 GB host left, and 12 GB gave way with Debian. Inside GNOME, GIMP, LibreOffice, Firefox. All starts at 1000 times faster than even with SSD.
There is a million of advantages, but it is worth saying something about the cons.
Cons of virtualization on a home computer
First, the virtual machine will run slower than a physical computer. Before the performance drop was 50-90% now (in the presence of hardware support) performance loss is 1-5%.
Secondly, there is the problem of data exchange host-guest systems. The solutions are many: shared directories, FTP, Samba, etc.
In General, the disadvantages quite small and it is time to move to the lighting settings.
Configuring KVM in Linux Mint 13/14/15/16/17/17.1:
As a means of virtualization for a long time I used a free software VirtualBox. But recently, out of curiosity, I tested the KVM and was very impressed. KVM runs fast, very easy to set up and run, and still relies on KVM RedHat, as the most promising solution in this area.
Installation is very simple. KVM support is already in the kernel, it remains to establish some small things:
Check that your CPU supports hardware virtualization
egrep -c '(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo
If 0 it means that your CPU doesn't support hardware virtualization.
If 1 or more it does - but you still need to make sure that virtualization is enabled in the BIOS.
sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-bin ubuntu-vm-builder bridge-utils
You can start working immediately. For example, run a wonderful distro Linux Mint directly from the ISO:
kvm -cdrom linuxmint-17.1-mate-64bit.iso -m 1g
Please note that if you do not explicitly specify the amount of RAM the -m option, the guest will receive only 128 MB and die in terrible agony.
If you want to install the OS on the drive, then first you should prepare a separate file that will contain the image. This is done all your favorite dd command:
dd if=/dev/zero of=LM_test_os.image bs=1M count=10240
if: indicates the source. Specifies a file that can be either a regular file or a device file.
of: specifies the destination file. The same can write to a regular file, or directly into the device.
bs: the number of bytes that will be written at a time. You can present this argument as the size of the piece of data to be written or read, and the number of pieces can be regulated by the following parameter.
count: the number that indicates how many bits will be copied.
Now the file LM_test_os.image can be used as a hard disk in a virtual environment:
kvm -cdrom linuxmint-17.1-mate-64bit.iso -m 1g -hda LM_test_os.image
With a hard drive you can do anything, for example, to install the OS or give under separate mount point, for example, under /home. Of course, when you install the OS, option -cdrom no longer needed.
Much easier to use a GUI frontend for KVM. The most popular is the Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager).
Installation latest version into Linux Mint:
sudo apt-get install virt-manager
After installation, look in the menu of Virtual Machine Manager and run it.