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peridian 01-13-2010 03:17 PM

Best Linux Distro for Virtualisation Host
 
Hi,

Keep searching for this, but I get posts about the best virtualisation software to run on Linux.

What I want to know is the other way around, which Linux distribution is the best to install on a server that will be dedicated to hosting virtual machines?

The reason I need a host is that the stupid ESXi from VMWare won't install on my hardware (not compatible, or some rubbish).

I'm thinking something very slim and lightweight so that performance of the VMs is not impacted, but not so lacking in driver functionality/application support that the VMs can't run so well.

DSL seems to be the smallest out there, but whether it would fully support the operations of VMs I do not know. Some of the others, such as CENT OS and Ubuntu seem to come bundled with things to make them an alternative to Windows rather than a server OS.

Any ideas?

Rob.

acid_kewpie 01-13-2010 04:47 PM

Centos certainly does NOT come with stuff to replace windows. As a RedHat rebrand it's a VERY server orientated os. Just try and get wireless working on it and you'll soon think the same!

Xen on Centos works great, give it a whirl.

Mr-Bisquit 01-13-2010 04:48 PM

A minimalized system. Using a simple base such as debian or slack allows you a smaller host. Suse, redhat, fedora, opensuse are all power houses that need heavy equipment and hardware.
DSL is a no-go for virtualizing.
My experience has been for Debian.
Downside: you'll have to do the configuring yourself and the search may take some time.
Upside: It will work better than you think.

acid_kewpie 01-13-2010 05:15 PM

Well things like CentOS and RedHat are largely only as heavy as you make them. As a properly configured server you wouldn't run X or anything else heavy on it at all. You do have layers like hal still there unless you get all hatchet job but you can make VERY low profile installation. Debians fine too of course though.

Samael 01-14-2010 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peridian (Post 3825471)
Some of the others, such as CENT OS and Ubuntu seem to come bundled with things to make them an alternative to Windows rather than a server OS.

You do realise that Ubuntu do a separate server edition don't you?

peridian 01-14-2010 07:41 AM

Hey all,

Thanks for the responses, that clarifies a few things.

Quote:

You do realise that Ubuntu do a separate server edition don't you?
Yes, I was not sure whether it was any good or not, as I have seen mixed reactions to Ubuntu. Any thoughts?

Quote:

Centos certainly does NOT come with stuff to replace windows.
Oh, maybe I was misreading the article then, thanks, I'll grab a hold of it anyway.

Quote:

Debians fine too of course though.
Quote:

My experience has been for Debian.
I'm getting a lot of recommendations for Debian from other forums too. I'll definitely be giving it a try.

Regards,
Rob.

Samael 01-15-2010 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peridian (Post 3826209)
Hey all,

Thanks for the responses, that clarifies a few things.
Quote:

Originally Posted by samael
You do realise that Ubuntu do a separate server edition don't you?

Yes, I was not sure whether it was any good or not, as I have seen mixed reactions to Ubuntu. Any thoughts?

Well I work for a company that provides dedicated servers for web hosting. We use Ubuntu Server on just about all of our Linux machines (only time another distro is used is for custom orders). They are stable and fast. The server edition has no GUI and can be run on fairly low specs. Ubuntu is based on Debian so they'll be pretty similar. Not sure about the virtualization side of things though as I don't deal with that side of things on servers. I only use virtualization for home use to experiment on without risking screwing up my computer.

Read the details here:
http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatI.../serveredition

lupusarcanus 01-16-2010 02:35 AM

My opinion;

It doesn't matter what distribution you use, if we are talking strictly performance-based here; but rather what file system you use, to a degree: if your server has top-of-the-line technology it won't matter what you put on it. In contrast, of course, if your server is severely limited, going with a very minimal distribution such as Slackware or Arch Linux may prove to be what you need.

XFS and JFS both started out on servers and are meant for them. I like JFS for many reasons, among them speed and reliability, but I won't let that influence my post. XFS, if I read correctly, might be what you need.

It's seldom seen, but, XFS is considered the best for virtualization because it deals exceptionally well with large files. XFS has been benchmarked to run these very well. XFS is highly touted as fast, efficient, and great for Virtual Machines and the like, but is rated very low in recoverability and stability in relation to other FS'es when it comes to crashes and power outages.

JFS doesn't use near as much CPU as other FS'es do in file operations, so if your server is bottlenecked by the CPU you may want to try that. JFS features amazingly speedy recoverability from whatever life throws at you, so it's gets my respect there.

A word should be said of ext3, as it's compatibility and well-roundedness are top-notch. It is the most popular file system as well, so thats always a plus.

As far as distributions go, the choice is yours. It's well known that CentOS and Debian make excellent server OS'es. But, if you know the way of the penguin, any and all Linux distros will be functional. Typically, its nice to go with exteremly stable OS'es, and the aforementioned duet fit the bill.

No Linux distribution is worthy of comparison to the low-life Windows and NTFS, as MS products are easily called what they are: insecure, unstable and very slow.


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