I just set up a debian server for websites but now I need to install a windows server on the same machine because I need to run a game server (windows-only). Virtualbox is already installed on my machine, I already set up a ubuntu-desktop on the server for personal-use (rarly powered on).

My question is: Is it okay to install the windows server in a virtualbox-machine or will that kill the performance? The other way is to install Xen as a hypervisor and 2 (or 3) guests: debian server, windows server, (and ubuntu desktop). But then I guess I have to do all the configuration on the debian server again.

The windows server should have fixed ram and the debian server should be able to use the rest. The ubuntu-desktop should only block it's assigned ram as long as it is powered on, because it'll be powered off most of the time. As far as i know with Xen every machine has fixed ram, so the ram assigned to the ubuntu machine will be unusable if it's powered off.

Can someone tell me if I should stick to VirtualBox or is VBox not suitable for servers?



The best solution for me is an Hypervisor for server virtualization, and the best Hypervisor in Linux enviroment is KVM ...


  • I agree - KVM is the best. Redhat is even dropping xen in favor of KVM. It is a simple module to add to any kernel, not a kernel re-write like Xen. Xen kernel wasn't even stable on my systems when I briefly tried it - and that was without making a virtual system on it. KVM is using qemu parts for driver and arch emulation, and it is good quality as well. – labradort Aug 11 '10 at 17:50

Of courz hyperviser virtualization is best for Server side. You have to go for VirtualBox only if you have are using it for Workstation purposes.

You can try to convert your Physical Linux installation to Xen using some tricks http://www.olivetalks.com/2008/02/16/xen-p2v-conversion-in-seven-simple-steps/

The guide is for Cent OS conversion. For debian some commands will be different (or configuration files)


You should first determine if your processor supports some of the advanced virtualization features, which greatly affects performance. See KVM's FAQ, and this VirtualBox topic. I'm not sure there is much point in running KVM if it is not supported by the CPU.

VirtualBox is easier to use. You can be up and running your Windows guest in 20 minutes, whereas on Xen/KVM you'll probably need to learn about concepts like configuring a network bridge, and fun with /etc/networking/interfaces. I believe VirtualBox requires a GUI, whereas KVM & Xen do not.

Hypervisors like Xen & KVM will provide better performance, but performance may not matter to you. Enterprises are also interested in sysadmins who have experience using with Hypervisors.

On my home server, I recently removed my two VirtualBox VMs and replaced them with two KVM VMs. The load average is significantly less with KVM, but I can't provide any objective data for you.

  • 4
    VBox defaults to a GUI, but they added a vboxheadless command if you'd rather not. – Kara Marfia Aug 11 '10 at 18:10

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