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catkin 09-11-2009 02:34 PM

KVM on ubuntu: not suitable for GUI guests (or lazy sysadmins!)?
Hello :)

I'm working on installing KVM on an ubuntu 8.04 desktop computer as an alternative to VirtualBox 3.0.x which is a little flaky in day-to-day work, but still usable. I guess I'm mostly just seeking out best-of-breed.

I was alarmed to read this on Ubuntu Community Documentation on KVM : The use case targeted when KVM was moved into main is "server virtualization". This means that even though KVM can be used to serve other purposes, it has been designed to be run on Ubuntu Server Edition to host non-graphical server operating systems. If you are looking for software to serve graphically-based virtual machines, VirtualBox, Parallels Workstation (or Parallels Desktop for Mac), or VMware Player/Server are more suitable alternatives.

If that information is correct, I would be better off sticking with VirtualBox 3.0.x which should (TM) be more stable as Sun nail the new version bugs.

Maybe I would be better off sticking with VirtualBox anyway. I'm finding it difficult to identify which packages are necessary for a KVM installation (KVM, libvirt, Qemu, virsh, virt-manager, virt-viewer, vmbuilder ... ?), how they work together, what files and file formats are used ...

That's a significant advantage of VirtualBox -- it's a single package and all the essentials are in one place with excellent documentation. And I know my way around it.

Mmm ... ? Which way to go? Maybe better to explore a Slackware installation under VirtualBox (so only Slackware is new to me). Once that's working nicely, install Slackware on real hardware with VirtualBox and existing VMs (again minimal change at each step). Only then review virtualisation software and consider migrating from VirtualBox to KVM. It could look quite different by then.

Your thoughts?



syg00 09-11-2009 05:58 PM

My view is you should run the KVM hiperviser as "lean and mean" as possible. Interfere as little as possible with the guests that need all the machine they can get to run all that eye candy. I believe that is what the Ubuntu quote (also) means.
I only run VirtualBox on Vista (for OpenSolaris), and it's certainly been a little flaky of recent releases.

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