06-13-2012 07:40 AM
One of my major goals is to get "PCI passthrough" to work from a virtual machine so it can fully use a PXI chassis. It would open doors to great flexibility in being able to update multiple legacy test app's, one at a time, on a given test station setup to a new operating system (not all at once). There are other reasons:
Once virtual machines work sufficiently well, I see it as a whole new way of doing development/business. I can't believe it doesn't have a whole lot more interest than I'm seeing. I think this would actually be a major feather in NI's hat if they could get this to work (and maybe even create an embedded controller specifically for this using an Intel or AMD processor with the necessary virtualization hardware!). It could be the hit at any trade show. Or, is NI shuddering at the thought of virtual machines (with their development environments installed) being copied and moved around too easily? I'm guessing that's a major concern that may slow NI from taking this and running with it. Anyway... here is a good summary about what is needed, but there is a lot more varied info out there:
06-25-2012 05:32 PM
06-26-2012 08:36 AM
Thanks for the info. NI has done something in the direction I'm talking about with their Hypervisor.
Unfortunately, it's very restricted in operating systems supported (XP and LabVIEW RT only). We all need a much more general-purpose platform for hosting whatever operating system we want in virtual machines while being able to access whatever PXI/PCI device the virtual machines need.
For example: Currently we have older PXI controllers running Win2000 and test app's written in LabVIEW 7.1 and C and FORTRAN (I can hear you laughing). Now we need to create tests for a new device to run on the same station. On top of that, we want the same old software and new software to also run on another copy of the station that we are building now. However, the old controller is no longer available, and the new NI controllers no longer support running Win2000. They might run it, but it's not supported. Also, the old controllers can not support any OS newer than XP. Also, there are a few PXI cards which are no longer available in the exact models that we have in the older station, etc., etc. We've gone crazy trying to figure out a way of developing the new app's using the latest LabVIEW and still being able to run them on the older controllers, etc., along with other related compatibility problems with NI drivers, etc. After much discussion and many hours of figuring out what to do (including a visit with the local NI guy), the only way to do this would be to dual-boot between 2000 and XP. But, some here are not so keen about the dual-boot as far as the initial setup and also with retraining station operators. So, believe it or not, we are stuck with developing our new app in Win2000 and LV 7.1. However, if we could have had a virtual machine solution which could access the PXI cards, we could be developing with Win7/LV2011 right now. The old stations' controllers could be updated to newer ones, a virtual machine player put on them, and the old and new test software running on the same Win7 host OS. Then, as time permits, the older, non-LabVIEW app's could be updated one by one while allowing the others to run as they always have with their older drivers and older OS.
07-26-2012 04:27 PM
One limitation I noticed while copying a virtual hard drive file (.vhd) to a flash drive was that it wouldn't do it because it was over 4 GB. Luckily I zipped my virtual machine files and they dropped to a 1.6 GB file and I could transport it on the thumb drive. I assume if a VM gets too big to do this, I'll have to carry around an external hard drive? Can I copy a file larger than 4 GB to an external USB hard drive? I'll post the answer after I try it.