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Following this thread on super user, I now want to start installing all my vm on the hardware.

As a remainder, i have a (powerful enough) server on which i want to install 3 OS: there is a debian (general dev testbed purposes), an ipcop (network control/firewall) and a freenas (local network file sharing).

I'm wondering which scenario would be the best for me and if I will be able to share the hardware to do what i want; either

a - install an hypervisor like the free vmware esx and all three vms in it, or

b - install debian, and the other two running inside it with virtual box

My need being that:

  • the ipcop should handle all network traffic to the internet, meaning all traffic from my main computer but also all traffic from the other two vm

  • the freenas shares should be accessible from the other two vm and my main computer too

  • i don't really care about the debian access, i only need to access it from my main computer, not the other vms

Will I need to install additionnal network cards for each vm or can they all share the same one happily ? (right now I have two, one linking the server to my router [which only ipcop is gonna use] and one linking it to my switch [which i would like all three to use])

As for harddrives, I was going to use 1 harddrive cut in 3 partitions to install all three OSes, then add to that the freenas drives, will it be correct ?

Thanks a lot for anyone who can help me, this is kind of a vast area and I'm not sure which way to go at all

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one disk for 3 VM is going to be a lot of disk I/O which will probably kill your speed. –  RateControl Jan 8 '10 at 19:28
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4 Answers

It's all about KVM for me.

I'm planning to deploy a fairly large-scale environment backed on KVM soon, 4 nodes, shared iSCSI storage, 32GB of ram per node, dual-quad core CPUs.

Best things about KVM:

  • True hardware virtualization support.
  • Physical device pass-through
  • iSCSI support
  • Can virtualize windows and other OSes without monkeying about with the guest (this is really useful for P2V scenarios)
  • qemu-convert can convert many different image formats, including RAW, and ESX(i).
  • libvirtd and virt-manager make Live Migration a piece of cake.


  • Doesn't work as cleanly on CentOS 5.4, the main reason being that the packages are quite a bit older than Ubuntu 9.10.
  • uhhh. There's only the one, for me.
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Dont go for VMWare. It only has graphical management tools for windows. If you go for Ubuntu as host, KVM can easily be installed from apt-get :)

And more and more people are migrating to KVM from Xen.

  • They can all share a network card. Just set up bridged network interfaces.

  • You give your host os the entire harddrive. You then set up virtual harddrives inside the host os. For the host os they just look like a big file. So its easy when you wanna move your guests to another host.

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I would say xen 10/10 because if any of your guest disk I/O for that your have paradriver for both os linux as well win that make more faster disk I/O...driver call xenpv for win..

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If it is all going to be Linux I would use Xen instead of VMWare or VirtualBox. I think Xen will fit what you want to virtualize better too. A good place to start would be Xen on Debian. The challenge is going to be getting the firewall, here are a couple places to start for that ipcop and shorewall.

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The future of Xen is anything but certain. Most Linux-distributions seem to be deprecating it in the future and using KVM instead –  ptman Jan 14 '10 at 9:29
Xen isn't going anywhere any time soon! –  Caleb Oct 2 '10 at 13:36
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