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I'm thinking about switching my hosting clients from shared hosting to VPS hosting, on Linux. I was thinking Ubuntu or CentOs and Debian for the VMs.

I was looking at VirtualBox, which looks pretty good.

Can VB work well as a VPS hosting platform? Would I need their Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to manage VMs? Wouldn't they just be reachable from shell from remote as any other server?

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I understand I should have posted on ServerFault. Can moderator delete this? Sorry about this. –  Nick Jul 5 '11 at 23:06

5 Answers 5

Rather than going all out emulated hardware with VMWare, VirtualBox, *EMU, I think you should consider the OS-level virtualizations available. Linux-VServer, OpenVZ, or LXC will all provide secure isolation to each guest, near native performance with almost no overhead, and allows for much easier management in my opinion.

I have personally been using Linux-VServer as it has a longer track record.

In regards to your question of VBox though, the guests would be reachable via ssh (providing the sshd is started and listening). Or whatever other protocol you wanted to listen on such as VNC. I can't speak on VBox's RDP support though. However if the ssh daemon for some reason stopped in the guest, I have no idea how one might administer it (actually this is most likely what the RDP support is for).

In contrast this would be easily solved with Linux-VServer because each guest is essentially a super chroot jail. You can literally 'enter' the guest at any time as root from the shell.

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I suggest you instead look at OpenXen Server, VMware ESXi or Proxmox.

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Like Proxmox myself; it can do KVM as well as OpenVZ –  reiniero Nov 17 '11 at 8:31

VirtualBox is ok, but really isn't suited to the task you're asking of it. Solutions like VMWare, Xen, KVM and the cheapo's favourite OpenVZ have been fitting the bill a lot better for some time now, and have something of an ecosystem around them providing support, tools, documentation and communities for some time now.

Another thing is, RDP is a proprietary add-in for VirtualBox, where as most other solutions provide VNC support for free. It's a serious point to consider if you want to have these virtual machines remotely managed.

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Nothing is cheaper than Xen or KVM, which are ... free. Unless OpenVZ pays you to install it? –  CarlF Jul 8 '11 at 20:55
    
and OpenVZ is a rather nice solution, less overhead than xen –  Lucas Kauffman Jul 23 '11 at 20:08

CentOS 6 and KVM.

I'm running what is essentially a VPS server with the above setup (it's actually SL6 as I was too impatient to wait for CentOS 6, and it's mostly a private thing anyway). It's really easy to administrate and I've not noticed overhead causing any problems.

Currently running 3 Windows 2008 VMs, another SL6 VM and an Ubuntu 11.04 VM. Got at least another 3 to add on shortly.

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You could also try Citrix Xenserver which has a free version, it has a nice interface and I can't say I have been dissapointed by it yet.

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