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I'm about to buy a dedicated server and I'd like to know if it is worth it the pain to setup virtualization (like XenServer) for the following architecture.

  • Linux with Apache/PHP/MySQL for my company website,
  • Testing/Dev environment under Linux with Java/Tomcat/Continuous Integration tools/Bugs tracking tools/SVN for my developers,
  • Production environment under Linux with Java/Tomcat for my customers.

I think it will help me in the long run for backups, security, etc. What do you think?

Best regards,

user67816

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Chris Thorpe has wise words on whether to go virtual or not: serverfault.com/questions/105287/virtual-vs-physical-servers –  iainlbc Jan 25 '11 at 21:00
    
great link thanks! –  user67816 Jan 27 '11 at 15:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would totally go for it. Think about all the benefits of using snapshots and of course running multiple systems on the same hardware. Ive been running ESXi for several years now for my enviroment and it's really effective, even for small enivorments. ANd as I said, that snapshot feature is awesome:)

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Thanks for your answer. I'm not sure I see all the benefits of using snapshots. Can you give more details please? Also, if I have 3 environments, I'll have to administrate/update/fix them separately right? Or is there a way to centralize it? –  user67816 Jan 22 '11 at 18:50
    
Lets say you update to a new version of your operating version or tomcat. If something goes wrong, you can easily revert and do it the right way. Also you can enjoy different "paths", wich is really useful for developing systems. Lets say you have one path for each tomcat version you wanna test your dev enviroment, you simple switch between the different versions through snapshots. No, theres no way to update/fix/administrate all of them built into hypervisors, however some distros (i think) have that feature from some kind of management software that could help you with that. –  xeet Jan 22 '11 at 19:09

Everybody knows the benefits of virtualization, so no matter which virtualization technology you use, always will be a plus.

I'm working for about 6 years in Xen.org project, and I can tell you a bunch of benefits it has, and can give you.

For example, I'm sysadmin at some software development firm. All our servers are running with XCP (The free clone of Citrix XenServer), and it has been great. Snapshots, backups policy, distributed environments, live migrations, templates for rapid deployments, load balancing.. Well, I can tell you a lot of good things, but try it bye yourserlf :-)

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I'm not a sysadmin myself, do you think the XenServer project is mature enough for me to get started with it easily? –  user67816 Jan 27 '11 at 15:24
    
I'm very sure XenServer is mature enough. Also, xen.org community is working XCP, some kind of "open source XenServer" (see xen.org/products/cloudxen.html). XCP is a real alternative to XenServer. You can use it in a lab or production environment. As I said in my post, I've a few XCP boxes running in production. Give it a try!! :) –  boris quiroz Feb 17 '11 at 21:07

Heres a few benefits of virtualization:

Lower number of physical servers - you can lower your hardware maintenance costs because you've got a lower number of physical servers.

Increased Utilization - By running multiple VMs you can better utilize whatever hardware you're using.

By implementing a server consolidation strategy, you can increase the space utilization efficiency in your data center. Less servers = lower power/cooling requirements.

By having each application within its own "virtual server" you can prevent one application from impacting another application when upgrades or changes are made.

You can develop a standard virtual server build that can be easily duplicated which will speed up server deployment.

You can deploy multiple operating system technologies on a single hardware platform (i.e. Windows Server 2008, Linux, etc).

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One word: SNAPSHOTS.

By all means, use virtualization, but why Xen? KVM is so much better. I found that KVM overhead is negligible in terms of CPU usage. If you create vms with QCOW2 disk, you can use snapshots just like you would if you used vmware.

I did not make disk throughput benchmarks though.

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