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meulie
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: A server for virtualization. VMware? KVM? Virtualbox? other? Reply with quote

Hi all!

I'm interested in setting up a box which runs some kind of Virtualization Software, and which will host several systems, one of which being my current Gentoo box.

There seem to be quite a few options out there. I would like to be able to have both Linux and Windows guests, so that does eliminate some. As long as I can't find a good reason not to, I would like to have Gentoo on the host.

Is KVM the way to go? There is a HowTo on KVM & Gentoo, but before choosing that one I'd like to be 100% sure that it is the best way to go at the moment...

Basically the host will be a box with plenty of RAM, plenty of storage (probably RAID5?) & most likely a Q6600 CPU (since I already have that one).


Any suggestions/recommendations/warnings?
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massimo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy to use and set up which supports all your required OS's as guest and host: vmware-server
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

massimo wrote:
Easy to use and set up which supports all your required OS's as guest and host: vmware-server


Doesn't the same apply to, for example, Virtualbox?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

meulie wrote:
massimo wrote:
Easy to use and set up which supports all your required OS's as guest and host: vmware-server


Doesn't the same apply to, for example, Virtualbox?

Yes.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used vmware-server and virtualbox. Both are nice and easy to setup. At the moment I am using virtualbox on ubuntu host with win xp as the guest and only thing which was a little pita to setup was bridged networking, particulary because of conflict with network manager.

This is much easyer to setup with vmware (you only have to choose during setup that you want bridged networking).

Reasons I switched to virtualbox(closed source) were: it is mostly OS, it has/had better support for shareing files with host, seamles mode.
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dusanc
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use KVM and consider it the optimal solution.
It can do everything like the others, it's in mainline and it's in-kernel virtualisation solution and not some hypervisor.
Near HW speeds but no 3D accel.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dusanc wrote:
I use KVM and consider it the optimal solution.
It can do everything like the others, it's in mainline and it's in-kernel virtualisation solution and not some hypervisor.
Near HW speeds but no 3D accel.


Did you use the HowTO from gentoo-wiki to set up your system?
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dusanc
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That one and one from kvm.qumranet.com
I used kvm which comes in gentoo sources, not the latest one as I use monolithic kernels.
I use it mostly for winXP and diff linux installs.
There were some troubles 6 months ago with mounting images which were on reiser4 (I haven't had a problem but ran onto some reports) so I keep them on ext3 partition.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds promising. :-)

I am also going to take a quick look at Proxmox VE though... Since I am planning on keeping the host as small/simple as possible, this could be a good solution...
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meulie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to add (even though it's getting quite off-Gentoo-topic) that the combo OpenSolaris+ZFS+VirtualBox look nice as well... ;-)
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How does KVM compare to Xen? Do either have the feature where you can swap a virtual machine over to a hot standby in real-time? I understand that vmware can do this.
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meulie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just had a good idea. Why not install Virtualbox, VMware & KVM on the same host machine, and use the various systems for various guests, depending on which one is best for a guest? 8)
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bludger wrote:
How does KVM compare to Xen? Do either have the feature where you can swap a virtual machine over to a hot standby in real-time? I understand that vmware can do this.

KVM has live migration support. See http://kvm.qumranet.com/kvmwiki/Migration

Now someone needs to get this running on Gentoo (the webapp itself) -> http://www.ovirt.org/ :D
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dusanc
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

meulie wrote:
I just had a good idea. Why not install Virtualbox, VMware & KVM on the same host machine, and use the various systems for various guests, depending on which one is best for a guest? 8)

AFAIK it can't be done
Only one active virtualisation per host.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and what about xen?

Is kvm better than xen?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO yes :)
Best is try both for yourself (it's easy enough) and see what suits your needs best.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the main differences in the install between xen and kvm?

Do it matter if you install for example the xen version of gentoo as the main host and a centos guest host as the xen / kvm version may be not the same?

What's the status for USB devices? are them seen as USB2 on only USB1?

Do kvm or xen support graphic acceleration?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe this can help you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_virtual_machines
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link.

There is information about USB but not USB2, can you say more about that?

Does Kvm or Xen have something like the seamless mode in virtualbox?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last time I looked 6 or so months ago KVM (it's QEMU part) couldn't do USB2 or asynchronous USB
I dunno about Xen and Virtalbox as I haven't benn using them for some time.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used all of these at work ( some for 2 years or more) except for kvm.

Here is what I have found at home and at work:

vmware-server - Has the fast disk access but after time running vmware-server on a gentoo box for months the guests will slow down to a crawl and the only way to fix this is to reboot the host. Also gentoo is NOT supported on the vmware forums and the technical support will tell you to switch your operating system for support.

virtual box - Less stable than vmware but does not suffer from performance degradation over time.

xen - Stuck to an old 2.6.18 kernel with external patches that allow you use it in newer kernels but these patches are not 100% stable.

qemu - Much slower than all of the above at any application that uses IO and at times it will crash your XP guest.

The following 2 are kernel based solutions that let you run linux under linux at nearly 100% speed by basically making a chroot jail look like a separate machine. I use both of these every day and have production network server running as guests on both.

openvz - 2.6.24 kernel still a little buggy but the bugs it has are not too harmful. Also the quotas are not easily set up. Very fast linux guest though. Only linux.

vserver - Kernel updates are not as frequent as openvz but the kernel is generally more stable however it lacks a lot of features that openvz has and it can cause your guests to not be able to start up (init scripts hang). Copying the same broken guest from a vserver host to an openvz host will allow the guest to run fine. When the guests are working this is the fastest linux guest performance. Only linux.
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meulie
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Virtualbox just re-entered my shortlist now that it has support for 64bit-clients! :-)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but for some nice performance you may consider VMWare's ESXi. I have been testing out their ESX (the expensive corporate version) at work and have been really impressed with it. Now of course ESXi would be the host OS, but it would support both windows and linux OSs at near HW performance. I don't believe it has 3d accel either, but then again I don't know of any virtualization methods that do yet. The good news also is that ESXi is touted as only having a 32MB footprint so there is your keeping it as small as possible. It is also based off of Red Hat so it's easy to play with from the console. THen you could install your guest OSs and remote into them. Remote Desktop for windows works well and you could use vnc or x11 forwarding for linux.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but for some nice performance you may consider VMWare's ESXi.


VMWARE lost any chance of having me as a customer from their server product (and its performance degradation over time) and the attitude that "we do not support gentoo" in their support for that.

Also the last time I priced it the ESX product was almost as much as a server costs to build and that was not a 1 time charge. For that much cost, I would give up visualization completely and just add more $1500 US servers instead.
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meulie
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ESXi is free nowadays... 8)


ESXi looks promising, although... I am having some trouble finding a list of supported (host) hardware, and whether it can run RAID5 or RAID10, for example...
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