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I am a power user of desktop virtualization with VirtualBox, but I don't have much experience with server virtualization, and so I need some advice about with path to choose.

We are buying a new server and we want to consolidate three light used servers:

  • A Linux NAT router and traffic shaping server.
  • A Linux monitoring server with Nagios and some documentation Wikis.
  • A Linux server with a light used database and web application. This installation should be separated because is managed by third party staff.

The load of those three servers are very modest, and two of them currently run on top of ancient machines with low memory.

What is the recommended virtualization setup? I can thing of some:

  • Installing Linux on host and setup the router, and installing two VMs with KVM to run the monitoring and application server.
  • Installing VMWare ESXI and three VMs.
  • ???

The new machine would be a Dell PowerEdge.

Thanks!

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As far as Unix / Linux are concerned, a workstation (desktop) is a superset of a server, not the other way around. If you are comfortable with VirtualBox, why not using the same technology to virtualize your servers ?

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I've had great success with VirtualBox and virtual Linux and Windows servers. Look into using vboxheadless to start up your servers, and it even takes care of serving the console output you'd normally see in the VirtualBox window over the network -- see their VRDE clients. Hyper-V and VMWare do the same thing, but you have to use their proprietary clients; with VirtualBox, it's just good ol' RDP (well, mostly -- most RDP clients will work just fine, at any rate). –  Kromey Sep 20 '11 at 23:50

What are you most comfortable with? If you're well-versed in linux and have worked with KVM, then go that route. If not, ESXi would be quite easy/simple to install and get up and running with relatively little tweaking/prodding.

Performance between the two will be more or less equal.

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I'm a big fan of Hyper-V. I'm currently running about a dozen CentOS machines as well as several SLES and some Windows 2008 machines and everything runs like a champ, easy setup and whatnot.

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Does this absolutely HAVE to be a virtualization situation? Because if you have have just those three areas of functionality can't you just install them all on one OS instance on the new hardware and call it "the server"?

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Seems so. Look at the third-party-stuff in the question. –  Nils Sep 21 '11 at 20:33

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