Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking to get a start in the cloud computing market, but from the ground up. I have been through the ringer with VM-Ware claiming free, but meaning $5-20k for things you actually need out of it. While XenServer has been Citrix'ed with arbitrary limitations added that you only find out about later as well in key aspects (such as stable resource pools). Xen source seems good, but only if you have one or two full time employees to manage it via command line. KVM, I haven't had time quite yet to try. But I suspect it is probably, while not limited on purpose to force you to buy something, lacking in key areas due to it being in development.

Is there any virtualization solution out there that doesn't screw you and has the ability to allow for a fully functional VPS farm?

I am looking for something with management like VMware vsphere client, or XenCenter that can manage the hypervisors, and also have stable hypervisors to run VM/VPS systems on (Primarily Ubuntu linux).

Is there a full featured frontend for Xen Source yet out there?

Edit: Also backups of the VM's (deduplicated block level would be nice) are absolutely needed.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by womble, Nick Kavadias, Jeff Atwood Nov 11 '09 at 20:32

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think that you should focus your efforts on XEN, but look further afield than just Citrix. For instance OpenSUSE comes with XEN builtin and a nice GUI to manage it with. If you need commercial support, then use the commercial SUSE and Novell will support you. Or use Oracle VM server which is also XEN, and get your support from Oracle.

Or, start with an opensource distro such as OpenSUSE to get XEN properly integrated with the kernel, and then look at the various VPS management tools that are out there. Given that your goal is to be a cloud computing provider, I think that Enomaly would be a good place to start.

For deduplication, first of all, I suggest that you follow the classic data centre design of separating storage from computation. That way, you don't need to look for dedup and vms on the same OS platform. In fact, OpenSolaris ZFS now has deduplication. You could either export iSCSI drives to the vm servers, or set up the vms so that they use local storage for the core OS install, and all the user data is on an NFS partition on the storage servers. If the VMs are all running Linux, this can be done using unionfs so that the NFS mounted partition overlays the local base install.

And OpenSolaris does XEN nicely as well so you could even use it for the VM servers.

share|improve this answer
I am going to be trying out OracleVM today and split my testing time between that and an OpenSUSE instance with XEN. I was looking at ZFS earlier on and it is either that or a mix of ZFS and JFS for our storage arrays. It is going to be on an iSCSI setup. So a scenario would be storage array is connected to an OpenSolaris box that is doing ZFS, I set the VM's up to point to it and I should be able to setup block level deduplication backups of the VM's themselves that way? Or is it really better to do backups the old way treating each VM as an actual machine and rsync nightly? – Oninumaya Nov 11 '09 at 15:22
If you get the latest version of ZFS, then you would get deduplication on your zpool. In the zpool you would have partitions that are exported by iSCSI. You could backup the VMs by copying those partitions to another zpool on different hardware, but that primarily protects you and your service against failure. This is like a dd backup in that a live database is probably corrupted on the backup copy. – Michael Dillon Nov 11 '09 at 15:30
From the customer point of view, I would think that they want a file by file backup like rsync, that they can control, i.e. retrieve just one file from time to time. Of course if the rsync target is another iSCSI partion on a zpool with dedup, then it's not so bad. I suppose that the rsync backups could go to the same zpool as the partition backups but I would be inclined to keep them separate, and use dedup to allow the customer to keep many separate backups/snapshots – Michael Dillon Nov 11 '09 at 15:33
Any word on whats up with the Enomaly project? It looks pretty good, but no place to download anything and no pricing listed for their Service Provider solution. They apparently moved things off from sourceforge back in February. – Oninumaya Nov 11 '09 at 15:43

If you want to offer true cloud computing, you will have to buld it yourself, have someone build it for you or wait for someone else to relase a viable solution.

In the meantime, Oracle has done some interesting things with Xen. Oracle VM is free and comes with management and HA tools including OCFS2. Updates and support are available at a price.

share|improve this answer
Yes I plan to build it myself, from the ground up. This is a learning process and so far I have been bitten twice out of this (VMWare (blatant false advertising), XenServer (free, but undocumented limitations you find out later). Just looking to finally settle on a solution and run with it. Xen is great, just the additional time to work with it on the level of customers I have and am going to have will require some pricey "help" to manage it all without an interface of some sort. I am going to try an OracleVM setup today. – Oninumaya Nov 11 '09 at 15:10

You need full-time employees to manage Xen via the command line? Damn, and here I was using automation for everything and it managing itself. No wonder it was working so well.

share|improve this answer
A rant isn't a question. You're making all sorts of incorrect assertions about pretty much every possible option, leaving me with the impression that (a) you don't know what you're talking about, and (b) no answer would satisfy you, since you're clearly not occupying the same reality as the rest of us. – womble Nov 11 '09 at 14:15
Let me see, I ask a total of three questions giving background of where I am coming from and that isn't good enough for you? Womble, you've been a big help to many others in this community. Perhaps it is going to your head? Your reaction to this seems very un-called for and it would have been greatly appreciated if you could shed some light on where I might be mistaken rather than simply take this approach. Thanks but no thanks. – Oninumaya Nov 11 '09 at 14:18