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Old 09-18-2008, 08:00 PM   #1
djbon2112
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Server virtualization: hypervisor recomendations


I've got a server at my home that I'd like to virtualize and use both as my fileserver, database server, and as a testing machine.

Now, I've tried already a couple hypervisors. VMWare ESXi was a complete pain in the butt to set up, and I could never get even basic networking going, compounded by the fact that there isn't a Linux version of its client. I'm currently using ProxMox, but I find one feature very lacking: the ability of guests to access a host's physical drive (my RAID). (This issue was confirmed by a dev from their team. This feature isn't on the roadmap until version 2.0, and it's at 0.9 right now.)

I was wondering if anyone could suggest some alternatives. As long as it's fairly easy to use (web interfaces are a plus but any management client that works is good), supports importing my RAID array into the virtual machines, and supports both Linux and Windows server OSes, it's worth a mention. Thanks in advance.

The specs of the server are:
Code:
Intel Xeon 5120 @ 1.86GHz (dual core)
2 GB ECC Registered DDR2 Memory
Supermicro X7DCL-i
Dell Perc 5/i RAID controller w/2250GB RAID 5 array
80GB system drive

Last edited by djbon2112; 09-18-2008 at 08:03 PM.
 
Old 09-18-2008, 08:33 PM   #2
CRC123
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The big 2 IMO are VMware Server and XEN. They both are free and both work with Linux/Windows host and Linux/Windows guests. However, I think XEN may require virtualization support on the processor for running windows guests. They can both be set up to use a file as a hard drive so that you wouldn't need to worry about getting RAID to work with them.
 
Old 09-18-2008, 08:37 PM   #3
djbon2112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRC123 View Post
The big 2 IMO are VMware Server and XEN. They both are free and both work with Linux/Windows host and Linux/Windows guests. However, I think XEN may require virtualization support on the processor for running windows guests. They can both be set up to use a file as a hard drive so that you wouldn't need to worry about getting RAID to work with them.
I've been looking at Xen for some time, but it's lack of management tools to simplify the basic tasks seems is a major hurdle for me. Do they exist?
 
Old 09-18-2008, 08:51 PM   #4
chort
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I don't understand how you could say ESXi is difficult to configure, it's all intuitive, you don't even need documentation...

The biggest pain is needing Windows to run the VI client, other than that, everything is cake. With the maturity of the product, it's easy to find answers to just about any question through Google, and VMware's own community forums are quite good.

If you had problems understanding VMware, I doubt your experience with anything else will be better... I've looked at the documentation for Xen and Qemu (not a hypervisor, I know) and it made me cross-eyed.
 
Old 09-18-2008, 09:01 PM   #5
CRC123
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I've been messing around with it using openSUSE 11.0. If you've ever heard of the system configurator that SUSE uses called YAST, there is Virtualization Module that will (1) install XEN and it's tools for you (2) GUI for creating XEN virtual machines and (3) Virtual Machine management interface which is basically a gui that tells you stats on all the vm's running and also a quick way to open their console. I liked it a lot and I believe XEN is faster that vmware server since it runs on the bare metal, but this speed improvement I hear is only nice when the guest OS is using a xen-aware kernel (this is only linux). It will still run Windows in fully virtualized environment but you must have a cpu that supports virtualization.

The only caveat I have about XEN (and this is also the reason I don't use it) is the NVIDIA drivers won't work with the xen host kernel. I like my compiz-fusion so I still use vmware.
 
Old 09-18-2008, 09:17 PM   #6
djbon2112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chort View Post
I don't understand how you could say ESXi is difficult to configure, it's all intuitive, you don't even need documentation...

The biggest pain is needing Windows to run the VI client, other than that, everything is cake. With the maturity of the product, it's easy to find answers to just about any question through Google, and VMware's own community forums are quite good.

If you had problems understanding VMware, I doubt your experience with anything else will be better... I've looked at the documentation for Xen and Qemu (not a hypervisor, I know) and it made me cross-eyed.
I had problems getting basic networking to work (I kept getting IP 0.0.0.0 and autoconfigure failed), all the help I got was way over my head, and the lack of a Linux management tool (I have no Windows machines) all make me shy away from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRC123 View Post
I've been messing around with it using openSUSE 11.0. If you've ever heard of the system configurator that SUSE uses called YAST, there is Virtualization Module that will (1) install XEN and it's tools for you (2) GUI for creating XEN virtual machines and (3) Virtual Machine management interface which is basically a gui that tells you stats on all the vm's running and also a quick way to open their console. I liked it a lot and I believe XEN is faster that vmware server since it runs on the bare metal, but this speed improvement I hear is only nice when the guest OS is using a xen-aware kernel (this is only linux). It will still run Windows in fully virtualized environment but you must have a cpu that supports virtualization.

The only caveat I have about XEN (and this is also the reason I don't use it) is the NVIDIA drivers won't work with the xen host kernel. I like my compiz-fusion so I still use vmware.
I use Debian-based distros (Ubuntu Server 8.04 primarily), so I don't know if there's similar tools for it. Anyone have more information?

And just for the record, my CPU DOES support Intel Virtualization Technology so that's not an issue.

Last edited by djbon2112; 09-18-2008 at 09:20 PM.
 
  


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