Posted by: Frank | February 28, 2009

Netbook Virtualization

I have had my Asus EEE PC for more than a year now, and I still think it would be cool if someone would make a netbook with a hypervisor allowing the user to easily select which operating system they wanted to use. Recently VMWare has shown the mobile hypervisor they are developing that they hope to sell to mobile handset companies that would make it easier for them to sell their devices running different operating systems like Windows Mobile or Android. There is a video demonstrating this software on a Nokia N800 that I think is really cool because it appears to perform very well. The N800 has a resistive touch screen so the Android gestures in the video are not as responsive as on the T-Mobile G1 that has a capacitive touchscreen.

VMWare should partner with a netbook manufacturer to bundle this hypervisor with a netbook. I am thinking the ideal scenario would be a netbook with a small 2 GB solid state hard drive for the hypervisor software and a 160 GB physical drive for the guest operating environments. From the user’s point of view they would see a netbook boot up with the operating system of their choice with a 160 GB hard drive. You could back up the guest hard drive image and easily move them between netbooks. In fact, this is a form of desktop virtualization that I have wondered why notebook manufacturers have not developed and targetted to enterprises. Today moving from one notebook computer to another is a huge time sync, simply moving an image file from one to another would take minutes as opposed to the hours it can take to re-install applications or restore files from a back up.


  1. Any word on netbooks supporting virtualization?

  2. Hi,
    I am having Asus eepc 1001 with Intel Atom N280 Processor and searching for any virtual software for installing Redhat on it. Pls. let me know if there are any free virtualization software compatible with intel atom processor.

  3. Hi tirumalanath,

    you could try VirtualBox – of course, it won’t magically make your hardware support “real” virtualisation, but it should work just fine.

  4. Well, you almost descibed Thinkpad x100e. I have the single core version, AMD Neo MV-40, but there are dual core versions now. I haven’t tried virtualization yet, and it is definately a topic I would like to explore more.

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