June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.1160.1 - 14.1160.8
Teaching Web Deployment with OS-virtualization
While hardware-level virtualization systems such as VMware are widely used in academia, the use of operating system virtualization offers benefits of scalability that are far greater. Since 2004 Brigham Young University has provided an operating system level virtual machine (VM) to each student in the introductory web systems course of the IT program. Each VM forms a capable web server platform, with Apache and MySQL providing dynamic HTML capabilities. This has had many benefits to student learning, forcing students to become familiar with remote access to hardware via command-line, file transfer, and other similar concepts that are common to commercial web development.
Since the virtualization system used allows good performance with over 200 lightly loaded virtual servers on a single hardware server, we have allowed students to retain their virtual servers throughout their academic careers, and to use them to serve their own non-commercial web pages. This has promoted additional independent and service learning opportunities for students. Students have hosted web sites for nonprofit or church organizations, family groups, and have developed portfolio materials to show to future employers.
Early in the development of the IT program at Brigham Young University we created a course that incorporated an introduction to the core concepts of Information Technology from the perspective of web development and deployment2,3. As we designed the course we were confronted with the problem of providing a cost-effective deployment experience for each student. We did not have budget or space for multiple computers per student so we began to explore virtualization as an alternative. We had been using VMware but found that we could only run 2-3 LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl) servers on our available hardware and were thus still confronted with smaller but insurmountable budget, hardware, and space barriers. Since our goal was to deploy about 100 identical LAMP servers, we didn’t need the flexibility of a full Virtual Machine Monitor that emulated the hardware. We turned to a more scalable solution that we discovered was being used by a local web hosting company: OS- Virtualization using Virtuozzo by SW-Soft (now Parallels).
In this paper we will first give a brief history of the use of the term “virtual machine” from the early 70’s until the present. We explain the different models that have been implemented under the term and how usage of the terms seems to have stabilized recently. We then look at one approach in greater detail, OS-Virtualization (sometimes called OS containers), or creating a virtual operating system interface rather that a virtual hardware interface.
The topic of Virtual Machines and especially server virtualization has received extensive attention recently.5, 10,11,12,13,14,14 A particularly good introduction to virtualization was provided
Bailey, M., & Ekstrom, J. (2009, June), Teaching Web Deployment With Os Virtualization Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5783
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