Virtualization and Emulation

Matt kicks off a series on Virtualization and invites us to see the 10 Gigabit beast at his office while Shannon and Darren wrap up their series on Wii Homebrew with the easiest way to backup and load Wii games and the Dolphin emulator.


So we've finally come to the point in which I've been worn down enough to begin highlighting some virtualization for you guys.

In this episode I kind of gave you a brief overview of a singular reason one would want to virtualize their infrastructure.


Now more than ever I'm sure your CAPEX budgets are tightening or have vanished completely for this fiscal year.

Let's take a real down and dirty look at the primary benefit of virtualization.

Last year I purchased a Dell server with the following specs for about $22,000

4x Quad-Core Xeon X7350 processors at 2.93GHz 128GB RAM 5x 15,000RPM 450GB SAS Hard Drives

Now as you can see this is a beast.

VMWare licensing costs for this server are about another $10,000. OUCH! However there's more.

Right now I'm running 38 virtual machines on this server. With room for more.

Let's say the average 1U server costs $1500. Where am I at from a pure cost perspective?

A) Virtual Environment - $32,000

B) Separate Physical machines - $57,000

This doesn't take into account the virtual environment's savings on things such as power consumption, or cooling.

Plus with another server, and a SAN you now have a Highly Available system for about the same cost as individual machines.

I know this was a brief overview of the primary benefits of virtualization, but I wanted to give you guys an idea of just what is accomplishable when you begin thinking virtually.

I'll be bringing you a bunch more segments in the coming weeks ranging from SAN selection and implementation to building a cheap virtual environment at your house, so stay tuned for more!

--Matt Lestock


The Monkey Wallpaper contest is still going on. Entries are due by Friday, April 24th. The winner will be announced on next weeks episode, 511. You can find all the art work and submission details at The winner will receive a deluxe sock monkey kit from!

This week we have a new contest -- a code challenge. If you're into PHP, Imagemagick, and gmail you'll want to get involved. Entries are due by Friday, May 1st. The winner will be announced on episode 512. you can find all the details at The winner will receive a copy of Mario Lurig's PHP Book PHP Reference: Beginner to Intermediate PHP5.

Wii Homebrew News

Team Twiizers focus on BootMii

On the 16th Team Twiizers, the folks that brought us the Homebrew Channel, announced that they have shifted their focus to the BootMii project.

BootMii is system boots before the Wii System Menu and allows for complete low level control of the Wii, including launching the homebrew channel.

Team Twiizers expects to have a beta released within the coming weeks. So far it has been successfully installed on about a dozen Wiis.

We'll have a hands on look when it becomes available.

USB Loader released

Earlier this month Waninkoko released USB Loader, an homebrew Wii app which allows you to backup game discs to USB Hard Drive or SD card run backed up games from said media without needing the original disc.

Obviously this tool has piracy potential written all over it but it's also the fastest and most convenient option we've found for backing up games.

Last week we demoed nitrotuxís Wii Disc Dumper, a similar backup tool that took 10 hours to download a Dual-Layer Wii Disc in 6 parts.

The newly released USB Loader does that in 1/10th the time directly to a single ISO file. We'll be using it today as part of our Wii 720p segment

Dolphin build 2962 released

On the 13th Dolphin build 2962 hit subversion. This latest build adds OpenAL audio support, the ability to frame dump to AVI, various bug fixes and a more powerful Xbox 360 controller rumble. Huzzah

Wii Homebrew Review

A lot has changed over the last four weeks since we started playing with Wii Homebrew so before we get into the latest -- backing up Wii Games and playing them in HD on your PC -- let's review how we got here.

Currently the best method for installing Homebrew on your Wii is through a technique known as the Twilight Hack. This involves loading a special save-game for Zelda: Twilight Princess that causes a buffer overflow and code execution.

This method was thwarted by Nintendo's recently released System Menu 4.0. If you haven't updated your Wii already we advise you steer clear until the homebrew scene can come up with a new hack.

If you already have homebrew installed, such as the Homebrew Channel or DVD-X, updating to 4.0 doesn't break those but we still advise against it.

The most essential homebrew app is the Homebrew Channel. It's a breeze to install with the twilight hack and once installed you can use it to launch other homebrew apps from your SD card -- no need to pull off the twilight hack every time you want to play a different homebrew app.

The Homebrew Browser is another essential as it allows you to download homebrew apps, games, utilities and demos right from your Wii's Internet connection and onto your SD card.

A great list of homebrew apps can be found at the wiki. Details for pulling off these hacks can be found in our show notes and previous episodes.

USB SD Loader

The USB SD Loader from waninkoko is, IMHO, the easiest way to backup Wii games -- far superior to the disc dumper we showed off on 509. That said, it should be known that in order to use the USB SD Loader you must modify your Wii using a wad manager -- but you've already voided the warranty anyway right? It is also worth noting that as of writing it does not backup gamecube discs. For that you'll need to stick to the disc dumper mentioned on 509.

In order to use the USB Loader you'll need to install the USB Loader wad file using a wad manager. Once installed you'll need to run the cios36 rev10 installer. Then ensure that the IOS36-64-v1024.wad file is in the root of your SD card and start the USB Loader from the new channel item in system menu.

You'll have the option to format either an SD card or USB drive in WBFS. This will be the medium for storing and running backed up games. It's probably not a good idea to format your regular homebrew SD card for this ;). I took the USB route opting to format a portable 320GB HDD. Once formatted, installing games is as simple as inserting the disc, pressing (+) on the wii remote and following the prompts. Typical single-layer discs take about an hour to copy.

In order to get the game off your removable hard drive and onto your computer in ISO form you'll need to install the (windows only) WBFS Manager program. This program lets you select your removable drive and extract games as ISO images. You can also copy any ISOs you may have on your computer to the removable drive with this tool.

Dolphin Emulator

Once you have a legally copied ISO file on your computer you'll want to install and configure Dolphin in order to play it.

The important bits to note about getting Dolphin to run properly is that you'll need Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Service Pack 1 (x86 or x64) installed. You'll also need the DirectX March 2009 Runtime. Use the Microsoft DirectX Updater. It's probably also a good idea to update your video drivers while you're at it.

Dolphin itself is pretty easy to use. Like most emulators it features a plethora of control configurations and convenient save state options.

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