[CentOS] VMWare vs. KVM - recommendations?

MHR mhullrich at gmail.com
Tue Mar 30 03:01:24 UTC 2010


Okay, I'm being noisy today.

I have VMWare Server 1.0.8 installed on my CentOS desktop, and it runs
my XP and CentOS guests just fine, though I don't use them much.

I'm considering moving to either VMWare Server 2.0 or switching to KVM
instead, mainly because VMWS 1 is now obsolete and also because its
limitations on video configurations is really annoying - I have a 22"
1680x1050 LCD monitor, hoping to upgrade sometime in the
not-too-distant future to a 23 or 24" display with full HD
(1920x1080), but VMWS 1 does not support any wide-screen
configurations at all.  I tend to use on-screen real estate to maximum
benefit, and the 1152x864 maximum useful size I have now is just too
small for me, so I'm thinking maybe it's time to upgrade to something
newer/better.

I've seen some of the horror stories about problems with VMWare 2.0,
which is not at all encouraging, and I've taken a look at the Red Hat
Virtualization guides (the 5.4 one that's online in html only) and
also a PDF version for 5.2 that I found somewhere, and it _looks_
complicated.  (One of the main benefits of VMWare Server that I really
liked was that it is fairly easy to use and relatively low
maintenance, if it works, and 1.0.8 works just fine, except for the
screen issue.)  OTOH, the built-in nature of KVM is really appealing,
and if it works as well as other features of CentOS/RH/Linux, it would
be nice to be able to avoid the separate upgrade and
re-build-the-drivers-vmware-config.pl annoyance every time a new
kernel comes along.  I'm a big fan of well-integrated software,
especially in this area (virtualization).

One question I had that overrides most other considerations is how to
transfer my existing XP VM over to whichever new underlying system I
choose - is that even possible, or do I have to go through all the
reinstallation pain yet another time?  If I have to go that route,
I'll probably opt for kvm and take that plunge so I can do it once and
never again (ok, that was not supposed to be funny... :-).

Recommendations?

Thanks, as always.

Mark Hull-Richter
Expert CentOS/Linux C/shell Software Developer
Registered Linux User #472807
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