[CentOS] Virtualization - what do You recommend?

Kwan Lowe kwan.lowe at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 23:07:39 UTC 2010


2010/2/2 Rafał Radecki <radecki.rafal at gmail.com>:
> Hi All.
>
> I plan to use virtualization in my production environment. I plan to use one
> of the following options:
> - KVM;
> - VMWare Esxi;
> - VMWare Workstation.
>
> I plan to install Windows 2008 as a guest. I want to use something like LVM
> snapshots for backups. Stability is also very important, the guest will be
> used as a production server.
> Which option could You recommend and why?

I use VMWare Server, ESXi, Xen, KVM and VirtualBox. Some experiences I've had:

VMWare Server
Runs well on CentOS, though there are some workarounds to keep in
mind.  As of today, you'll need to do some library tweaking to get it
to run with the latest glibc. Also, the latest Firefox 3.6 has issues
running the administration console. No support for LVM volumes (which
can be problematic when doing LVM snapshots on the host side).
Networking is easy to configure. Very polished front-end. Guest images
can be converted to work with ESXi and vice versa. File based backup
so you *can* do snapshots. I haven't figured out how to script it yet,
however.

VMWare ESXi
Works well (though is not CentOS). Much more enterprise support
options. Has a scripting back-end which is quite useful.  Commercial
support options available. Management of the host itself is different
from CentOS.

KVM
Runs Linux guests quite well, especially RedHat/CentOS/Fedora
installations. Windows installations didn't go as smoothly.  Can be
scripted very easily so multiple deployments are trivial. Glitches in
the GUI management tool (mouse tracking is horrible). Not so easy to
configure networking. Performance seems pretty good, though I don't
have identical hardware to test versus VMWare. Supports LVM volumes as
back-end storage for the VMs so you can do snapshot backups. I'm
awaiting support for memory de-duplication on the host side as this
can really help cram more VMs into a box (my workloads are very light
on memory/cpu but libraries/packages change daily).

Xen
>From the CentOS side it's very similar to KVM if you use the virt
tools. Performance is extremely good with paravirtualized machines.
It's a workhorse and quite stable, but the GUI is not so great.
Networking is a bear to configure. Requires a separate kernel.  I've
never quite gotten the Xen migration to work.

VirtualBox
GUI is not bad. Networking was a bear to configure. Major issue with
performance that still is not fully fixed (host CPUs pegged even when
guests are idle).


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