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I just got some new hardware and am planning testing out the Xen hypervisor and Xen Cloud Platform (XCP).. more specifically, I am using a intel i5 3470, H77 chipset, 16GB RAM, and 2x2TB Hard drives which I want to put in raid 1. Oh, I have another graphics card i think its the gtx 450 or something.

I'm new to using Xen, so I'm trying to pull together what I’ve read from the documentation and other sources.

Regarding the general usability, I couldn't tell how to switch between the running guest VMs but, from the screenshots and youtube demos it looks like guest vms are run within windows inside of the dom0.

am I mistaken about this usage? I am imagining my ideal setup being able to switch between VMs easily and each one feeling like its the native OS (instead of within a window). is this what the HVM guests do?

Well anyways, first step is to install and I'm wondering if there is there a difference between that and installing via the XCP ISO and the "apt-get install xcp-xapi" in ubuntu 12.04?

One more thing is that I’d like to be able to have a windows guest vm or dual booted native install which could play starcraft. my current machine just dual boots between linux and windows, but for testing purposes I'd like to be able to use virtual machines in the future

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For simple Desktop Virtualization i'd recommend Virtual Box as it is esier to set up.

For the ISO vs deb question: I think the ISO is a full linux destribution with all XEN tools for easy setup. Therefore I'd recommend the apt-get version.

Furthermore it is right that the VMs run in windows. They always will because they are applications. A VM is nothing mor than an application running on your PC. Still you can run them in fullscreen. That feels mostly like a native OS.

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yeah, I've tried Virtual Box before on a Mac machine and it was quite easy to use... but, I'm really interested in playing around with xen mostly and running my machine more like a practice server. thanks for the VMs in windows clarification... but what about the servers which run xen so that their clients can run instances as thin clients? would dom0 in that case be cli only? who uses which graphics card? –  neildaemond Oct 2 '12 at 16:53

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