OT: Best virtual machine server?

Ian Lists ian-list at securitypimp.com
Mon Nov 12 00:08:22 GMT 2007

I've used Vmware and Xen both at work and personally. Performance is much better in Xen if you can take advantage of para virtulaized guests. If you will be running systems that require full virtulization such as Windows, Xen requires your hardware must have virtualization enabled chips (Intel VT, AMD Pacifica).  I've played around a little bit with full virt guests on my laptop, but not on any of my servers since they don't support it.  At work I have migrated all Red Hat servers off of VMware and to Xen guests.  Not only does it save in licensing costs, but performance is much better, and I can keep my builds nice and small since I don't have any of the dependences for VMWare tools. A nice management gui is lacking from Xen, but virt-manager is getting a lot better.  I don't currently run it since I don't like all the gnome dependences on a server and in RHEL, remote management is still in clear text.  Fedora 8 shipped a new virt-manager that does support SSH, but I haven't played with it yet.  There is also another web based mgt. app that Red Hat is working on called Virt-Factory (http://virt-factory.et.redhat.com/) that looks promising.  As for moving your other virtual machines to Xen there is tool being developed by Richard Jones at Red Hat called virt-p2v (http://et.redhat.com/~rjones/virt-p2v/)that works for converting physical machines to virtual machines.  I would think it would work to for at least vmware if you booted the guest image to the the p2v ISO instead of the real guest but I have no clue about MS Virtual Server.


----- "Julian Field" <MailScanner at ecs.soton.ac.uk> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> I've been badly bitten by VMWare, so that's out. No discussion there.
> It 
> can't even keep its clock running to time :-(
> I've used Parallels quite a bit, but not suited to a server
> environment, 
> it's a workstation tool.
> I've used Microsoft Virtual Server quite a bit, well suited to
> servers, 
> dead easy to manage, I already have a VM in MVS that I will need to
> move 
> to the new physical system. We get it free (as in beer). Big 
> restriction: only supports 32-bit guests, no 64-bit guests at all :-(
> Xen?
> Never used it, have been reading the RedHat docs on it, looks like it
> needs a lot of text editing, but there also appears to be
> "virt-manager" 
> that does a lot of the hard work for you. I want a system that is easy
> to get up and running, and easy to do everything with the host and the
> guests without physical access to the host hardware, once the host is
> setup.
> One question: what is the difference between domain0 and the host 
> physical system?
> Any others I should be seriously considering?
> Basically what I'm doing is this: I am often asked to run a service
> for 
> someone in a research project that doesn't have (yet) the hardware
> they 
> need, and want to borrow a server for a month or two. So I'm spending
> some of my toy budget on a cheap 1U Dell server to do this in an 
> organised way.
> So I'm looking for your thoughts and advice, as I know some of you use
> virtualisation in quite a big way.
> How can I move a Microsoft Virtual Server guest machine to the new 
> server setup? And the same from a VMWare guest? I've two I have got to
> move, and don't want to have to totally reinstall from scratch if I
> can 
> avoid it.
> Thanks folks!
> Jules
> - -- 
> Julian Field MEng CITP
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