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Old 06-14-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
petejc
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Distribution: Slackware
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Virtualization host


What do people use as a host for virtulisation? I've run qemu-kvm under slackware 14.2 with some success, but any guest with a DM heavier than XCFE is a no go and I have failed miserably to pass through the GPU on this machine. At the moment the I'm having trouble with the video not getting through. Not sure whether this is slackware, the 5.1.8 kernel I;ve installed or something else.

I'm going to use my old machine as a host as I don't want this machine messed up again. Any thoughts on what would be painless as a host?

Slackware 14.2 with stock kernel?
Slackware-current with stock kernel?
Debian
Arch

or:
Proxmox
xcp-ng

I'm just wondering what other people do for relatively pain free virtualization?
 
Old 06-14-2019, 04:01 PM   #2
sevendogsbsd
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I run Virtualbox on FreeBSD as a host with multiple guests. The only guest with a "desktop" is BlackArch though: the other guests I run are hackable VMs, most of which are headless. I don't run a desktop of any sort except for BlackArch and that uses Fluxbox so performance is fast virtualized or not.

Sorry, not sure that is helpful...
 
Old 06-14-2019, 04:47 PM   #3
upnort
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I use VirtualBox at home and Proxmox at work. Either way, use a system with a reasonable CPU that supports virtualization extensions. My home system is a 4-core i4-6400. No problems running VMs. At work the Proxmox systems are dual socket, multi-core Xeons. No problems running VMs. I do not tinker with GPU pass-through on either platform.

I use an Ubuntu MATE desktop VM at home to remote into work. No issues at all. For example, today I spent 8 hours straight cranking and testing.

Long on my bucket list is learning KVM and virt-manager and moving away from VirtualBox. Some day....

Quote:
Any thoughts on what would be painless as a host?
Define painless. For several years I grunted with a dual core AM2. I could run most VMs okay, but when I finally got the i5-6400 I saw a world of difference. I do not want to return to a dual core system to run VMs.

Last edited by upnort; 06-14-2019 at 09:06 PM.
 
Old 06-14-2019, 05:16 PM   #4
rkelsen
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Virtualization host

+1 more for Virtualbox. I use it on my work machine without issues.
 
Old 06-14-2019, 07:15 PM   #5
Gerard Lally
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petejc View Post
What do people use as a host for virtulisation? I've run qemu-kvm under slackware 14.2 with some success, but any guest with a DM heavier than XCFE is a no go and I have failed miserably to pass through the GPU on this machine. At the moment the I'm having trouble with the video not getting through. Not sure whether this is slackware, the 5.1.8 kernel I;ve installed or something else.

I'm going to use my old machine as a host as I don't want this machine messed up again. Any thoughts on what would be painless as a host?

Slackware 14.2 with stock kernel?
Slackware-current with stock kernel?
Debian
Arch

or:
Proxmox
xcp-ng

I'm just wondering what other people do for relatively pain free virtualization?
By far the best virtualisation host for me was Xen and NetBSD 6. It was the cleanest, tidiest, lightest system ever. I had a Slackware domU (guest) which I could run on bare metal or as a domU. Blazing fast system, and the dom0 (controlling domain) used barely any resources. Love the isolation that Xen imposes. I've also had a Slackware KVM host running for years but I much prefer a Type 1 hypervisor.

I had trouble getting Xen working with NetBSD 7, mainly because the NetBSD team are only now catching up with Linux on the graphics front. I'm hoping to get back to Xen when NetBSD 9 is released, although I am keeping an eye on nvmm as well, NetBSD's new virtual machine monitor.

I'm happy to use Slackware as a guest system but getting a Xen+Slackware host working was painful. Then again I had a new board and I was unfamiliar with UEFI and grub at the time, so mea culpa in some ways. I was trying to boot the Xen dom0 from raid-1 with LVM and just couldn't get it going.

As far as PCI and graphics passthru is concerned, I had these working smoothly with NetBSD 6 and Xen, but not with 7. It was ridiculously simple getting it all to work, while anything similar in Linux with KVM is ridiculously complex.

Take a look at FreeBSD, Alpine or OpenSUSE for a Xen host. OpenSUSE documentation is very good. Graphics passthru should work on a Linux Xen host. Just use the xl commands and plain config files for creating your domUs; don't bother with the byzantine mess that is virt-manager and libvirt. If Linux can make something more complicated than it needs to be they will surely do so.

edit -- So far nvmm is for AMD CPUs only; NetBSD also has HAXM which works for Intel CPUs.

Last edited by Gerard Lally; 06-15-2019 at 04:36 AM.
 
Old 06-14-2019, 08:29 PM   #6
Richard Cranium
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Location: Carrollton, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petejc View Post
What do people use as a host for virtulisation? I've run qemu-kvm under slackware 14.2 with some success, but any guest with a DM heavier than XCFE is a no go and I have failed miserably to pass through the GPU on this machine. At the moment the I'm having trouble with the video not getting through. Not sure whether this is slackware, the 5.1.8 kernel I;ve installed or something else.

I'm going to use my old machine as a host as I don't want this machine messed up again. Any thoughts on what would be painless as a host?

Slackware 14.2 with stock kernel?
Slackware-current with stock kernel?
Debian
Arch

or:
Proxmox
xcp-ng

I'm just wondering what other people do for relatively pain free virtualization?
Slackware64 host (I have used an AMD Phenom(tm) II X6 1100T w/16G RAM, but am now using an AMD FX(tm)-8350 Eight-Core w/32G RAM) and virt-manager (available from Slackbuilds.org). Stock kernel.

Make sure that you use the virtio video driver.
 
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Old 06-14-2019, 11:16 PM   #7
rkelsen
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For a "bare metal" hypervisor, I've had great success with VMware ESXi. It ran without interruption, and with daily use for years at a time on a box I was once in charge of administering.
 
Old 06-15-2019, 03:39 AM   #8
solarfields
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I've been using VirtualBox, installed from the all distributions *.run installer. I still use the latest of the 5.* series, because I had problems with the mouse cursor with the 6.* release and other issues. The Kernel 4.4.172 issue has been fixed in the latest 5.* releases, too.

Hardware-wise, I had been using an FX4100 for a very long time, however last year I did a 'budget upgrade' to FX8350 with 16GB RAM.
 
Old 06-15-2019, 04:34 AM   #9
Gerard Lally
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarfields View Post
I've been using VirtualBox, installed from the all distributions *.run installer. I still use the latest of the 5.* series, because I had problems with the mouse cursor with the 6.* release and other issues.
I solved the cursor problem by switching from the default VMSVGA display adapter to the VBoxSVGA adapter.
 
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:38 AM   #10
Gerard Lally
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkelsen View Post
For a "bare metal" hypervisor, I've had great success with VMware ESXi.
Does it allow you to pass a video adapter through to a guest, which is one of OP's requirements? And what kind of console does it have - local (SDL) or just remote?
 
Old 06-15-2019, 05:00 AM   #11
petejc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendogsbsd View Post
I run Virtualbox on FreeBSD as a host with multiple guests. The only guest with a "desktop" is BlackArch though: the other guests I run are hackable VMs, most of which are headless. I don't run a desktop of any sort except for BlackArch and that uses Fluxbox so performance is fast virtualized or not.

Sorry, not sure that is helpful...
I'd not even thought of FreeBSD, thanks. I'm considering this for desktop only, as I'm quite happy, headless, with Slackware in LXC containers. Blackbox, that ought ot be fast on a 486. A bit too stripped down for me!

Last edited by petejc; 06-15-2019 at 05:19 AM.
 
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Old 06-15-2019, 05:17 AM   #12
petejc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
I use VirtualBox at home and Proxmox at work. Either way, use a system with a reasonable CPU that supports virtualization extensions. My home system is a 4-core i4-6400. No problems running VMs. At work the Proxmox systems are dual socket, multi-core Xeons. No problems running VMs. I do not tinker with GPU pass-through on either platform.

I use an Ubuntu MATE desktop VM at home to remote into work. No issues at all. For example, today I spent 8 hours straight cranking and testing.

Long on my bucket list is learning KVM and virt-manager and moving away from VirtualBox. Some day....


Define painless. For several years I grunted with a dual core AM2. I could run most VMs okay, but when I finally got the i5-6400 I saw a world of difference. I do not want to return to a dual core system to run VMs.
I specced my main machine for virtualization, Ryzen 2700X, and a motherboard that was good for IOMMUs, but when I tried it at Christmas I just could not get it to do what I wanted and in the frequent hangs and reboots bricked my root filesystem. That means I will leave that system alone and go back to my old system with he six core Phenom II. On the new system, with Virtualbox, I could finally get the graphics to work without unacceptable lag, provided I was using a lightweight desktop environment. However, on the old system I never could, though I have put in a newer (not new) GPU and it does not matter much if I hose that system. Unfortunately though I've had bad luck so far with virtualization, fragile configs, laggy graphics, inability to share parts of the host file system etc.

I'm ssh-ing into slackware current with X forwarding. But for some reason Firefox graphics do not like that, and I'd like not to be restricted, so I'm thinking again of the virtualisation option.
 
Old 06-15-2019, 05:19 AM   #13
petejc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkelsen View Post
+1 more for Virtualbox. I use it on my work machine without issues.
Host system?
 
Old 06-15-2019, 08:23 AM   #14
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petejc View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkelsen View Post
+1 more for Virtualbox. I use it on my work machine without issues.
Host system?
Slackware-current from some time around June last year, running on an i7 with 32gb ram.
 
Old 06-15-2019, 06:45 PM   #15
Richard Cranium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petejc View Post
I specced my main machine for virtualization, Ryzen 2700X, and a motherboard that was good for IOMMUs, but when I tried it at Christmas I just could not get it to do what I wanted and in the frequent hangs and reboots bricked my root filesystem. That means I will leave that system alone and go back to my old system with he six core Phenom II. On the new system, with Virtualbox, I could finally get the graphics to work without unacceptable lag, provided I was using a lightweight desktop environment. However, on the old system I never could, though I have put in a newer (not new) GPU and it does not matter much if I hose that system. Unfortunately though I've had bad luck so far with virtualization, fragile configs, laggy graphics, inability to share parts of the host file system etc.

I'm ssh-ing into slackware current with X forwarding. But for some reason Firefox graphics do not like that, and I'd like not to be restricted, so I'm thinking again of the virtualisation option.
FWIW, I was running KDE on the system I mentioned earlier. Youtube appeared to run fine in Firefox but I did not attempt to listen to sound from the VM.
 
  


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