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Author Topic: BOINC or BOINC + VirtualBox?  (Read 75 times)
Sean
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« on: March 19, 2017, 05:29:30 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm interested in finding out if people usually install (on Windows) the standalone BOINC or BOINC with VirtualBox?



I'm reinstalling Windows 7 on one of my machines and I'm trying to decide between them. I guess VirtualBox is required for one or two projects and it adds a lot of security, but it also must add some resources overhead.

 Thank you
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kashi
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 10:56:13 PM »

I've been using VirtualBox for years and running BOINC in a virtual machine with Linux or MacOS guest operating system on projects that run faster on their Linux or Mac applications.*  Although now I sometimes use VMWare Player instead of VirtualBox as I found it a bit more efficient. So didn't vote in poll as I already had VirtualBox installed separately.

It was only recently when I first ran a VirtualBox project, Sourcefinder Duchamp application, from within a Windows OS host machine's BOINC. It used the same VirtualBox version that I already had installed. So that means that unless you are running a project that uses VirtualBox from within BOINC on the host operating system then there is no extra overhead at all, as VirtualBox doesn't run. In other words standalone BOINC and the BOINC that bundles VirtualBox with it are the same BOINC program. That is, VirtualBox is a separately installed program that is started by BOINC only when VirtualBox projects are run.

I don't know how other projects using VirtualBox work, but Sourcefinder Duchamp starts up a separate virtual machine within VirtualBox for each task that is running. As to how efficient that is or not, well it's a bit academic as if you want to run Duchamp tasks or other projects' VirtualBox tasks then there is no alternative.

Although Duchamp VirtualBox application actually worked fine for me I still have some misgivings about projects' compulsory use of VirtualBox.  Some comments by myself and others about this can be found in this thread: http://forum.boinc-australia.net/index.php?topic=1950.0

So if any of the projects using VirtualBox applications interest you, then perhaps you can suck it and see. No harm done if if doesn't work properly or is unsuited to your system. Just uninstall VirtualBox and your BOINC install will remain intact.

Haven't been back to Sourcefinder Duchamp since the admin embarrassed himself by trashing the whole database, so don't know how its development is going now. When I get some new memory next week for Skylake box I may give it another go. It's an Aussie project so I'd like to support it if/when it gets going properly. I'd prefer to get stuck into it a bit more if stats were being exported.

Anyone interested in running Sourcefinder Duchamp should read the forum there first to check for current issues. In the past the VirtualBox version bundled with BOINC was not working there and a more recent VirtualBox version needed to be installed.

*For example currently DENIS@Home is much faster on Mac, POGS is faster on Mac and possibly Linux and project applications at World Community Grid and elsewhere based on the molecular docking program VINA are almost always substantially faster run on Linux.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 11:23:41 PM by kashi » Logged

shift
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 02:22:31 PM »

I just run BOINC on windoze, although I thought it was recommended to use Virtual Box too. SoI'd be interested in hearing other thoughts too.
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Sean
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 08:17:23 PM »

In other words standalone BOINC and the BOINC that bundles VirtualBox with it are the same BOINC program. That is, VirtualBox is a separately installed program that is started by BOINC only when VirtualBox projects are run.

Thanks Kashi, very true, I only realised this after I made the poll, I had assumed that BOINC always runs in VirtualBox when they are downloaded together, but as you pointed out it doesn't.


I might experiment with running BOINC in an actual virtual machine all the time, I mainly run World Community Grid, so a Linux VM might make sense. I should have added this as a third poll option.  Wink
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