ArchivistaVM Mini: 20 seconds

ArchivistaVM Mini: 100 MB ISO files*, 700 MB of RAM and 20 seconds to productive operation

Pfaffhausen, 17 September 2012: About a year ago, the first RAM-based ArchivistaVM solution was released. In the last 12 months, the ISO file for the ArchivistaMini was reduced from approx. 330 MB to under 100 MB, the requried memory of 2 GB was minimised to the current 700 MB, and the startup time was also greatly improved (currently just approx. 20 seconds). This blog post will explore the reasons for this. A slender virtualisation solution in RAM isn’t magic but is based on the fact that ArchivistaVM consistently relies on state-of-the-art standard components.

HTML5 browser and noVNC are here

The centrepiece of the new ArchivistaVM Mini consists of an updated browser (Icewasel alias Firefox). The inclusion of HTML support in ArchivistaVM has made it possible to integrate noVNC. Why is this important? Until now, virtualisation of the ArchivistaVM required a VNC Java applet to be installed on the browser in order to display virtualised guests. The related technology has been around for many years. On the whole, it can be said that applets (perhaps with the exception of Flash) have not really caught on. HTML5-enabled browsers offer a so-called Canvas function. This allows for a VNC viewer to be displayed directly in the browser — without having to install any additional applets.

All the well known browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera and Safari) have been offering this Canvas function for several years. In the case of the ArchivistaBox, this means that the browser requires a few MB more RAM, but on the other hand Java is not needed, which saves around 110 MB on the RAM disc.

The moderate running speed of Java is well known and that of JavaScript is constantly being improved. This means that with JavaScript, things can be done that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. For example, we could refer to the Linux PC emulator here (incl. virtual C computer), which was realised entirely in JavaScript.

It is therefore hardly surprising that today, even more demanding things such as the transfer of entirely virtualised screens (which is precisely what a VNC viewer does, too) can be carried out in a short space of time. The advantages are obvious: applets are no longer necessary, ArchivistaVM Mini can shed approx. 110 MB of ‘ballast’ and the displayed screen in the browser can be scaled as desired (Ctrl + scroll dial, see left-hand image for larger view, right-hand image for smaller view).

For the implementation of the VNC client in the browser, as previously mentioned noVNC is used, as the requirements with noVNC are very modest in comparison to other solutions (e.g. Guacamole). We also considered the use of Spice. However, because Spice (however fast it may be) can only be used with applets, which was precisely what we wanted to avoid, we decided not to use it. Or, to put it differently, Spice is fast but unfortunately it is currently by no means a standard.

This is why virtualisation with ArchivistaVM is the first and best choice for smart minds

To play devil’s advocate: which other virtualisation product comes with an ISO smaller than 100 MB (OS, server and client), which other solution can be installed as a stand alone system in approx. 20 seconds, and is there any another product that can be run completely in RAM? Do you know of any other open-source solution with which clusters (incl. DRBD) can be installed without any manual effort? Which other solution can be automated with regard to start-up and operation? You can find a host of products for virtualisation, but only ArchivistaVM can provide all these features.

In addition, open source and Linux in ArchivistaVM do not require knowledge of Linux. Insert CD/USB stick and off you go. Installation and updates are a thing of the past thanks to the unique RAM mode. Furthermore, ArchivistaVM is the only platform for virtualisation where guests can be managed both on the local server as well as via an intranet and the internet, and absolutely no additional client software is required. ArchivistaVM runs on all HTML5-enabled browsers; no further plug-ins (applets) are required. In addition, ArchivistaVM can be automated for both start-up of the system as well as administration.

For all these reasons, a clever choice for virtualisation is to acquire ArchivistaVM. And for tough daily productive operations, an even smarter choice is ArchivistaVM Light or ArchivistaBox hardware. And of course the smartest minds are in fact already using ArchivistaBox! Firstly because for many years they have been benefiting from the great features that are unique to ArchivistaVM, and secondly because without them, ArchivistaVM wouldn’t exist. So if you have not yet made the smart choice, we recommend obtaining the ISO file as soon as possible. Have fun!

* Update: for those of you who would like even more compactness, ArchivistaVM is also available without a GUI; this ISO file is only 72 MB. Significantly less RAM is required here (<512 MB). Find out more about it here (in German). For those who want to boot the ArchivistaCDs (from 2012-10-28) via PXE, more information is available here.