[wellylug] Server virtualisation

Jethro Carr jethro.carr at jethrocarr.com
Fri Nov 28 00:26:56 NZDT 2008

On Fri, 2008-11-28 at 00:02 +1300, Callum Grant wrote:
> Hi all,

> I've recently come to the conclusion that since I need to run many
> different linux operating systems at once, I need to build a beefy
> virtualisation machine. Can anyone recommend an open source virtual
> machine tool that I could use( not something like virtualbox though,
> e.g. geared to having at least 3 machines going at once).

hi Callum,

What's your intended use? That will affect the recommendations people
can give you. :-)

For server deployments and using virtualisation for production systems,
Xen is ideal.

I have used Xen quite a bit with CentOS/RHEL systems and it's a
fantastic piece of software - Redhat have integrated it with their OS to
make it easy to deploy out-of-the-box and my experiences with it have
found it to be extremely reliable.

The number of virtual machines will simply be limited by how much free
RAM and CPU that you have. Rather than emulating fake hardware like
other VM products, Xen uses paravirtualised guests which don't require
all the slow x86 emulation features which reduces overhead.

Paravirtualisation may cause you some problems - all the Xen guest OSes
need to be running a linux kernel compiled to run on Xen, which will
make it an unsuitable option if you are wanting to run various distros
of different ages, or for testing.

This can be avoided with new CPUs that support hardware virtualisation
on the CPU, which allows you to run almost any OS, including Windows
using Xen.

Do a bit of googling and you will find plenty of information on Xen. (I
would have explained a bit better, but I need sleep) :-)


Jethro Carr
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