Virtual Machine Network Execution
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README.md

VMNetX - Virtual Machine Network Execution

VMNetX allows KVM-based virtual machines to be stored on a web server and executed on-demand on a client system. The entire disk and memory state are not downloaded before starting the VM; instead, disk and memory chunks are retrieved on demand from the web server and then cached on the client.

VMNetX allows a user to quickly try out some software without needing to install it. The software runs on their own computer, so performance is better than a thin client. Unlike a traditional virtual machine image, the user does not need to download gigabytes of data before they can run the software.

VMNetX is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.

Binary packages

Binary packages are available for Debian, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu.

Installing from source

You will need:

  • QEMU and KVM
  • pygtk2
  • Requests
  • argparse
  • dateutil
  • msgpack-python
  • PyYAML
  • Flask
  • spice-gtk Python bindings
  • libvirt Python bindings
  • dbus-python
  • glib2
  • libcurl
  • libfuse
  • libxml2
  • lxml
  • pkg-config

If building from the Git repository, you will also need:

  • Autoconf
  • Automake
  • libtool

To install:

  1. If building from Git, run autoreconf -i.
  2. ./configure && make && sudo make install

Executing a virtual machine image

Click a link to a VMNetX virtual machine. Your system should launch VMNetX and start the VM. When finished, close the virtual machine window or click the Quit button.

Generating a virtual machine image

  1. Use vmnetx-generate -a VM-NAME to create an empty virtual machine with an appropriate configuration for VMNetX.

  2. Use virt-manager to install software into the virtual machine. The VM is registered under the "QEMU Usermode" libvirt connection, and can be accessed with virt-manager -c qemu:///session. You may need to add a virtual floppy or CD-ROM drive to the VM in order to install software. Depending on the operating system running in the guest, you may also need to adjust the emulated virtual hardware. (Note that only certain models of virtual hardware will work.)

  3. Shut down the virtual machine and delete any virtual CD-ROM or floppy drives that you have added. If a suspended VM is desired, restart and then "Save" the virtual machine.

  4. Use vmnetx-generate to create a VMNetX virtual machine package from the libvirt domain XML file. For example, if you named your virtual machine "test", you can use:

     vmnetx-generate -n "Test Machine" ~/.config/libvirt/qemu/test.xml package.nxpk
    
  5. Test the virtual machine:

     vmnetx package.nxpk
    

Publishing a virtual machine image

  1. Upload your .nxpk package to a web server.

  2. To enable users to execute the virtual machine by clicking a hyperlink, without downloading the entire package, you must prepend vmnetx+ to the target of the link. For example, if the URL to your package is http://www.example.com/test.nxpk, the link must point to vmnetx+http://www.example.com/test.nxpk.