Not sure what is best for you.
What would you need to know to better recommend a solution? Whats the server doing right now?
If so, then here you go!:
-Apache server with about 6 websites used only on LAN (intranet more or less)
-MySQL server (about 375 tables)
-Backup via NFS for LAN clients
-Shared NFS partitions for clients (temp. storage and file exchange)
-NFS exports for media files (I store a lot of my music, videos, etc on the server)
-DOcument management system (knowledge tree, Joomla, OpenkM)
-COuchpotato, Sickbeard, newznab SAbnzbd+ (All accessed only on LAN)
-Surveillance system (Zoneminder)
-Groupware (Horde webmail)
-Boinc (distributed grid computing) when not too busy
-and lots of other smaller stuff
I was initially leaning toward ESXi with vSphere for the management console, but AFAIK, they're not opensource and they are costly. I have little to no money to spend on this since it is for home usage more or less (non profit oriented).
Then looking on wikipedia, I found Xen which seems to be the foundation of all good modern hypervisors... Thats fully free and opensource if I am not wrong.
virtualbox will not cut it as it is a type 2 hypervisor. I want type 1 to eliminate the need of a host OS. I just watched a youtube video about ESXi and I was impressed. With vSphere, its pretty much what I want to do in the end. I didnt like their price list however......
Do you mean that Xen is not the best for what I need or simply its not that good? Any drawbacks??
I'd play with a few to decide.
Hmmmm.... I'd really like to, but I have no spare machine to play and experiment with a few of these...Most likely (unless I can put my hand on a cheap used desktop) I will have to decide which one is best for my needs, and make the move hoping the choice was right. Its not a very good plan, but a plan nevertheless...
I think when I clearly understand the concept of a type 1 (bare metal) HV it will be much easier for me to imagine the transition from the physical machine to a VM..