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Sure, I have 5 VMs running 24/7 in VirtualBox on one of my CentOS 6 servers at work (mix of Debian, CentOS 6, and CentOS 7), 3 running 24/7 on my CentOS 6 server at home (Debian, CentOS 7, and Windows 7), 2 running 24/7 on my OpenSUSE laptop at home (Debian, CentOS 7), and 1-2 dotted here and there on other machines. RAM is going to be your biggest concern with only 8 GB. Keep each VM below 1-1.5 GB and don't do anything crazy on the host and you should be alright.
Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 04-17-2015 at 02:07 PM.
I'll agree that 8G puts you kind of slim but if you configure them and use swap file to help out it should work. The more modern VM's have great support for allocating ram on newer hardware. It is possible to overprovision on some vm's.
As suicidaleggroll notes you can run many vm's. The number is limited based on each product but it is pretty big for most soho uses.
I'd think that you could limit ram use a bit by limiting window managers on servers.
It may be that a more resource hungry distro could run things like nginx server or what not. DSL is supposed to run xammp.
There are plenty of choices. The choices for your hardware limit in some small way the choices. Normally the so called big iron stuff runs on dedicated servers that have special modern features to more closely integrate virtual and physical. That integration is how they tend to improve speeds.
Virtualbox is a stand alone item. Used on a server and maybe even under Solaris as a host it does well against many commercial products. I'd think that most would consider it a home to maybe middle sized project use. (that is just my guess) One could use it on anything. Commercial products offer some impressive features not found in virtualbox.
There are plenty of other free and commercial products to consider if you want but I'd suggest that you start with virtualbox and learn how the common tasks are done. Then move up to other if you wish.
If your interest is just in running multiple servers, you also might look into Linux containers (LxC or Docker). They are a much more lightweight alternative to running lots of VMs on a single machine.