What is the best Virtualization server core and Why.

Most people will say VMWare, but they are also Hyper-V and Xen server.

Whos the best at the lower cost ?

It's for production environnement, so it will be on a server, with multiple virtual machine on each Host.

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  • For desktop or server use? – Karl Katzke Aug 16 '09 at 16:43
  • For server use, and it's will be in production. About 300 sites on it – Cédric Boivin Aug 17 '09 at 15:04
  • 1
    Can you clarify please; how many hosts, how many guests? – Chopper3 Aug 17 '09 at 15:13
  • About 2 or 3 host. Each host will have average 6 to 10 VM on it with win 2008 server vm, host will be connected to Equalogic SAN. – Cédric Boivin Aug 17 '09 at 18:33

Depends on what you're trying to do. They're all free if you're just trying to virtualize something, so I guess that's pretty low cost.

VMWare is the oldest and has the most toys, commercially. They have mature features that you pay through the nose for. They also have a format that is available for conversions and since they're big and mature they have a robust community out there available for help. My main problem with them (aside from their cost) is that their tools are like freakin' lego bricks of gold...you can do live migration? Sure! Download this then pay this much. Oh, you wanted to support this feature too? That's this module with this license and costs this much. Ooh, you want to convert a physical system without the converter? We have a bootable disc for that. It comes with this license that costs this much...mix and match, mix and match! It also means that when someone else tells you to "oh sure, just open this then click here and here and run this to fix the problem," you suddenly realize you didn't license a feature that they licensed. It's confusing and a PITA at times. VMWare is also using bully tactics now against vendors in a market that is really changing now thanks to MS and Citrix, and they're innovating by stifling their third party vendors (for example, Veeam was told to disable certain functionality they had in their products for use with VMWare ESXi, the free bare-metal hypervisor).

Hyper-V is the new kid on the block and has plenty of people saying that the management tools aren't quite there yet, but if it's typical of Microsoft they'll come along later on and probably will eventually have more third-party tools.

Xen is mature and has decent tools; I've heard good buzz about it, but I'm kind of wary of companies that use outdated information on their site for their propaganda (er, sales comparisons). Xen also has a history from the open source side of the development before it was available as a commercial thing.

So if you're just wanting to play with virtualization, all of them have free offerings to try that are limited just by your hardware. If you want additional features you need to ask specifically with what your goals are.

  • What about openVZ? – Adam Benayoun Aug 16 '09 at 20:07
  • I thought he was looking at commercially supported ones. Without knowing what he's looking at accomplishing...*shrug* – Bart Silverstrim Aug 16 '09 at 21:25

For no cost, I like KVM. It's an alternative to Xen, but has some very compelling features (and is also missing some of the mature features of Xen). It supports recent kernels and doesn't require the patching and hand-holding Xen requires to setup initially.

  • 1
    Up-voted for kvm. kvm+libvirt is ridiculously easy to setup and use. There is a lack of "toys" that are abundant with VMware, so you will need heavy customizing if you want to manage hundreds of guests. (virt-manager is kind of of plain-jane) That should change when oVirt matures. ovirt.org The price/performance/ease combo for kvm cannot be beat. Bonus: FreeBSD 7x support without jumping through hoops. – Not Now Aug 16 '09 at 20:06
  • yep, another +1. KVM is also where much of the future development of virtualisation is heading in Linux. as well as being built-in to the mainline linux kernel, Redhat, Ubuntu, and others have committed to it in a big way. libvirt is also the standard for virtualisation tools, so the fancy, extra-frills "toys" will come - for now they're mostly fairly basic but functional. – cas Aug 16 '09 at 21:49
  • see also serverfault.com/questions/50434/home-virtualization-server/… for my answer to a similar question about virtualisation. – cas Aug 16 '09 at 21:51

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned OpenVZ or VServer. Both are 'light-weight' virtualisation options for Linux. They are by far, the most resource efficient. However, it all depends on what it is that you wish to achieve. You can only run a single Linux kernel with it.

  • These virtualisation options tend to have a lot of administrative overhead compared to full-machine virtualisation solutions like Xen and VMWare. Upvoting anyway, though, because I have a soft spot for VServer :) – Jon Topper Dec 18 '09 at 17:15
  • They do? I think that they all have similar 'needs' for attention - just like running an additional real server. – sybreon Dec 19 '09 at 1:46

Like anythin in this industry you have to decide what's most important to you; speed, functionality, support or cost - you can often have two or three of these things but not always all four - what's most important to you?

  • VMWare - great support and functionality but expensive
  • Xen - not bad support, good functionality and kinda-sorta free
  • HyperV - great support, low functionality, free if you're going to 2008 anyway, not free if your not planning that just yet.

It all comes down to what you need.

  • I am really digging on Hyper-V running on 2008 Enterprise R2 – Breadtruck Aug 19 '09 at 11:03

The virtualizationmatrix web can provide some insight into various hypervisors features and their comparison. I use it for answering such generic questions.


VMWare is good because it is cross platform and you can move virtual machines about without having to worry if it is Workstation, ESX or the free server or player, or if it needs to run on a windows, linux or bare metal base system.

It is easy to move between the free and paid for versions if you need to scale or use the more advanced features without having to recreate your VMs.


VirtualBox is another good dual license option. There is an open source version available and a commercial licensed version that is available to try out for free.

  • The only problem is that if he's planning on virtualizing something he's using at the console, VirtualBox is great. If he's planning on creating multiple virtualized systems to run 24/7 or as servers, he'd probably want something like Hyper-V/VMWare/Xen/KVM...Virtualbox is really handy when I'm at my console and for some reason need to run a Windows tool or test a configuration of a distro, though. – Bart Silverstrim Aug 16 '09 at 19:48
  • VirtualBox can be managed by command line from SSH. I have a server with that, it can be used without a problem. There is a webinterface for the configuration too, if needed. – Glendyr Mar 27 '11 at 19:44

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