[CentOS-virt] Check out Proxmox VE... can CentOS improve on this?

Wed Aug 13 23:40:19 UTC 2008
Scott Dowdle <dowdle at montanalinux.org>


I'm a big OpenVZ fanboy.  I've sent a few emails on this list that proves that... and I'm sure I've annoyed some people... but be that as it may... I would like to draw everyone on this list's attention to Proxmox VE.  What is Proxmox VE?

Here's a review from the end of June:

ProxMox: The high-performance virtualization server for the rest of us

It is a "bare-metal" Linux distribution based on Debian that has been stripped down to a minimum that includes a kernel that provides support for both KVM and OpenVZ so it does fully virtualized machines (requiring hardware support in the CPU) and containers.  It has a nice web-based management system that is fairly feature complete and allows for the easy creation and management of KVM virtual machines and OpenVZ containers.  It also has clustering features.  That's a long enough description.

Ok, how does this differ from everything else out there?

1) It is bare-metal... just pop in the CD (which is a 250MB download)... boot up the machine, answer about two questions... a few minutes worth of install time... and a reboot later... you have what looks very similar to a VMware ESX host... with a console (text) login screen that says... I man a Proxmox VE machine... connect to me at the following URL.  Start browsing.

2) It supports both fully virtualized machines AND containers

3) It has a really nice, maturing (two releases so far) web-interface for managing everything

4) It is cluster aware - add additional Proxmox VE machines, use the really simple command line program to make each machine aware of all of the others... and bang the web-interface on any machine sees all of the virtual machines on all nodes

5) The web-interface includes VNC-java-applet based access so you can graphically attach to any virtual machine including the console of an OpenVZ container. For KVM machines, you get to see the BIOS / boot from ISO image before virtual machine is even on the network

6) Proxmox VE shows the potential that exists with a FOSS OS, FOSS Virtualization products... in a completely FOSS product... that is freaking easy to install, setup and use... that works well

Problems - Some of the features aren't done yet.  Proxmox VE is a little ahead of its time.  Live migration doesn't quite work for OpenVZ yet (although it works fine in stock OpenVZ with their stable kernel branches).  Proxmox VE is still in beta.

Basically, if and when the Proxmox VE concept is fully realized and matured it'll be a killer app that makes business folks go... Linux DUH... for those that care about virtualization... like yoous guyyys on this hea list.

Ok... so any chance CentOS or some of the members of the CentOS development community would like to borrow the Proxmox VE idea (perhaps even their web-interface code) and make something like Proxmox VE... but based on CentOS... that supports Xen and OpenVZ?  It would have the benefit of being able to run on both systems with and without hardware support for Virtualization - if you have VT you can run fully virtualized Xen AND para-virtualized machines... if not... para-virtualized VMs only... and in both cases OpenVZ containers.

The form-factor would have to retain all of the properties I mentioned above... I think... for it to be a huge success.

Where to start?  Get two machines to test on... desktops are fine as long as they have VT in the CPU.  Download the 250MB Proxmox VE iso.  Burn disc.  Boot disk.  Answer two questions.  Wait 5 minutes.  Reboot.  Play with it.  See what you think... and use your imagination.  If impressed, plan the take over of the world with a similar setup based on CentOS.  Then when RHEL6 comes out and KVM is here... switch to KVM.

BTW, the OpenVZ Project had a kernel package built on the RHEL kernel that included both Xen and OpenVZ but I can't seem to find it now.

Notice I'm not providing any links to Proxmox VE.  You have to care enough to google for it. :)

Scott Dowdle
704 Church Street
Belgrade, MT 59714
(406)388-0827 [home]
(406)994-3931 [work]