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I have a need to virtualize two Linux + one Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs onto a single DL360.

I understand my options to be:

  • Run ESXi and create two Linux and one Windows virtual machine
  • Install Windows 2008 R2 natively on the hardware and run two Linux virtual machines within Windows Hyper V

Does either option have any significant advantages / disadvantages over the other? Is it just a matter of preference?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

There are a few more options than what you have listed,

  1. ESXi
    1. 2 Linux VMs & 1 Windows VM
  2. KVM
    1. 1 Linux VM + Host & 1 Windows VM
    2. 2 Linux VM + 1 Windows VM
  3. Hyper-V
    1. 2 Linux VM + Host
    2. 2 Linux VM + 1 Windows VM

I would go with the option

  1. That does not require you to use the host as your application server. May seem inefficient, but gives you the most flexibility for the future (like migrating your application server easily), so that's 1.1, 2.2, and 3.2
  2. I am most comfortable with supporting. ESXi or KVM if you're a Linux guy, Hyper-V if you're a Windows SA.

With such a small load, you're unlikely to see any of the differentiators of any of the products. (Performance, feature set etc...) Note all of them have a free option, Linux + KVM, ESXi, Hyper-V. Don't let cost come into the decision making.

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You can go either way. However, the system needs and specifications matter. If this is a case where you have a critical Linux system that needs the bulk of the system's resources, you could use Linux as a host and run Linux KVM virtualization to host a Windows guest.

If the systems are of relatively equal priority, I'd just go the VMWare ESXi route and allocate resources that way.

What is the particular spec on the server? DL360 G7? Direct-attached or internal disks?

Be sure to use an HP-specific build of ESXi or install the HP CIM agents to obtain full hardware health monitoring if you go that route.

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I would personally go the ESXi route as it has more flexibility in what you can do with it. Probably one of the biggest issues with going the Virtualbox route is that every time you have to restart your Windows machine, it's going to affect your Linux machine to.

There is also this article that goes into a little more detail about some pros and cons of each.

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You're forgetting a third option: Hyper-V Server. (Not the full blown 2008 R2 Enterprise.)

I would go with Hyper-V, personally. I've never had an issue running a Linux guest on Hyper-V. Plus Hyper-V Server is free.


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as is KVM on Linux, and ESXi. – M Afifi Aug 13 '12 at 13:42

Go with ESXi 5 if you are not blocked on the restrictions of ESXi 5 for free usage --

To summarize, ESXi 5 no restrictions on number of CPU or CPU cores. However, maximum RAM on hypervisor is 32GB and so is for the VM running on it.

ESXi is "built" for virtualization by a company that is into virtualization and is light weight (~400MB I think) and low maintenance

If you go with windows as a host, the OS will eat most of your resources and is not optimized for virtualization.

KVM will also work, Hyper-V may also work.

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Why the down vote? Please explain so that I can improve my answer. – Chida Aug 13 '12 at 14:21
I'm very keen in understanding why this was voted down. – Chida Aug 14 '12 at 6:06
Good luck with that. Whoever downvoted it probably isn't watching, and won't see your comment. That said, your comments about ESX being low-maintenance and Windows eating up your resources are not accurate, so those would be my guesses. – HopelessN00b Aug 15 '12 at 2:07
Yes, it is and can be proved. Just see here -- The downloadable image is 291MB. See here on resources (hardware / licenses) -- – Chida Aug 15 '12 at 3:31
Antivirus maintanence -- see exclusion list? It's in Microsoft best practice for HyperV and also here -- "Probably" incorrect is not incorrect. Serverfault seriously sucks if we can go mouse-happy with down votes without accountability. – Chida Aug 15 '12 at 3:36

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