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We are looking for good practices for setting up a xen server (4 cores, 32gb ram). There will be 6 VM (+ dom0), running personals servers (probably low CPU demands). Once the system will be configured, it will probably remain mostly static. So, here are a few of our questions. We would like to have some advices and/or maybe good links to documentations related to our questions.

1) Does XenServer (6.2) uses/needs more ressources than a simple Xen hypervisor with a debian dom0 (+xapi) ? For a simple server, will XenServer have some real benefits ? Like for monitoring ?

2) How should be set the CPU policy ? Should dom0 have its own dedicated CPU ? For example, we would like to let a VM use the CPU cores has much as they need as long as it doesn't impact the others. (Like for short but heavy workload)

3) We'd like to have one IP per VM and no assigned IP to the dom0. It is possible for the dom0 to intercept connections on a given port but forward everything else ? For instance, ssh x.x.x.x will connect to a VM but ssh x.x.x.x:555 will connect to dom0.

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Is Xen the right choice for a new virtual environment today? – ewwhite Jan 28 '14 at 15:24
@ewwhite What would you suggest then ? (Open source solution) – NoWiS Jan 28 '14 at 16:53
Probably KVM today... but I'd prefer ESXi because it's solid and a bit more foolproof. – ewwhite Jan 28 '14 at 17:02
up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Xenserver is installed on "bare metal" with a slightly modified and tuned for xenserver CentOS. The host system uses only around 768MB of RAM and 10GB of disk space. For sure the benefit will be a better performance over a standard Debian + xen. Also you will get some additional features like, live migrations HA, etc.
  2. As you will get a "special" system with the dom0 already customized for use with VM's there is no need to worry about the domO resources(CPU/RAM). There are several possibilities to setup the CPU's you can pin a VM etc.
  3. As there is a normal CentOS there are lot of possibilities to configure the network but you will need to check the documentation.

As the xenserver is now open source and it's free to use I would suggest to install it and give it a try to check if it fits your needs.

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