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I currently have a 1U server in a data center. I run my (mostly personal) DNS, mail, and webserver on it. It will be time to replace/refresh it soon.

When it is time for the new machine I am considering switching over from a physical machine running all services to VM model with each VM being relatively stripped down and running one major service (so if a vulnerability compromises a service only that VM and service would be affected instead of all of them). I want to use a free (as in beer) solution.

The machine would continue to be remotely-located, so while I'd have full console access when initially setting up the machine, I would only have serial console access (I have a networked serial terminal concentrator in the rack), though perhaps full console access via integrated, networked lights-out-management/console redirect hardware if the box I end up buying supports something like that).

Things that seem to come up a lot when reading about this sort of thing are Xen, KVM, and the free edition of vSphere.

I don't imagine I'd be doing very much creating/destroying/modifying of VMs. I envision setting them up and taking periodic backups, but that's about it.

So for this sort of use, what do people find to be the best free solution?

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KVM sounds like it's the best option in this case. We use ESXi here but that's overkill. Xen can be tricky to setup while KVM is relatively simple and stable. I've seen it used in production environments.

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    Why is ESXi overkill?
    – EEAA
    Feb 29 '12 at 21:04
  • ESXi is designed to manage enterprise level infrastructures. This guy is managing 1 server. Have you used ESXi? It's a great product but it's a bit excessive for what he needs it to do.
    – Publiccert
    Feb 29 '12 at 21:58
  • Yes, I most certainly have, in a large environment. Yes, it's great, but there's absolutely no reason it shouldn't be used in a single-server environment. Just because something is good for "enterprise" environments doesn't mean it's not very useful elsewhere.
    – EEAA
    Feb 29 '12 at 22:22
  • Then we should agree to disagree. I don't think it's 'tuned' towards small environments such as what the OP is looking for.
    – Publiccert
    Feb 29 '12 at 23:53
  • Fair enough. I guess I'd be interested in hearing why you think KVM is any more tuned for small environments than ESXi is.
    – EEAA
    Mar 1 '12 at 6:14

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