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Migrating off Vmware-Server, but where to?

Hi Derek,

> I've been running a VMware-Server system to host virtual machines in my
> home production network for several years.  I started with
> vmware-server-1 and then migrated to 2 when that came out.
> Unfortunately, according to [1] vmware-server has been EOLed, and there
> does not appear to be a "free" (as in beer) replacement.

That was pretty much my situation as well.  I ended up going with
VirtualBox because I need my guests to have at least basic support
for OpenGL.

> 1. Only I create VMs, so I don't mind requiring shell access to the
>    VM server in order to create a VM.  However, a web service to do this
>    would be nice.

With VB you get the regular X11 GUI, a CLI and a pretty decent web
interface that recreates the X11 GUI called phpvirtualbox available at .

> 2. I use vmware-server's ACLs to create two non-admin classes of users:
>    VM owner, and VM user.  A VM owner has the ability to minimally
>    reconfigure a VM, power it up and down, etc.  A VM user has access to
>    the VM console.  All of these users need to be able to perform these
>    operations remotely from the VM Host, preferably without local
>    shell/login access to the VM host (perhaps via a webapp?).

I'm not sure how to achieve this part.  I'm the creator, admin and user for
all the VMs.  The closed source VB supports RDP to access the consoles of
the guests and the open source version offers VNC for that functionality.
I set up the closed source version, and it was eary to set up RDP to auth
against LDAP/Kerberos.  phpvirtualbox has an RDP client built in.

> 3. Users should not be able to see the existence of VMs to which they do
>    not have access.

See in what sense?  In the management interface?  I don't believe that
phpvirtualbox or the regular GUI have this level of ACL capability.

> 4. All remote access should be encrypted.

SSL for the HTTP bits and then you rely on RDP having built in encryption
(which is apparently not wonderful).

> 5. The VM needs to be a "hosted solution", because the VM Host does need
>    to run Linux -- I don't want a "raw iron" VM solution.

VB runs on the native OS.

> 6. I need to be able to migrate my existing VMs (machines and disks)

This is pretty straightforward.  Mine went something like this:

 $ vmware-diskmanager -r CentOS-5_desktop.x86_64.vmdk -t 2 centos-5-x86_64.vdi
Creating disk 'centos-5-x86_64.vdi'
  Convert: 100% done.
Virtual disk conversion successful.
 $ VBoxManage convertfromraw --variant Fixed centos-5-x86_64-flat.vdi centos-5-x86_64.vdi
Oracle VM VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 3.2.8
(C) 2005-2010 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

Converting from raw image file="centos-5-x86_64-flat.vdi" to file="centos-5-x86_64.vdi"...
Creating fixed image with size 8589934592 bytes (8192MB)...

I use 8 GB fixed size, pre-allocated disk images for my VMs, but now
I'm tempted to create some LVM slices and test out Rich's findings.

Then you get to do a bit of figuring out how to tweak things inside the
guests to make sure time-keeping is working and all the devices you want
are set up properly.  I use pre-configured MAC addresses in all my VMs, and
VB can emulate a SATA driver for newer linux guests, so I spent a bit of
time getting the migrated guests running nicely.

> 7. I only need to virtualize x86 and x86_64 systems
> 8. The resulting system needs to be very stable..  While I'm only
>    running about a dozen VMs, downtime should be limited to power and
>    network outages, or planned hardware maintenance.

It has been very good for me so far over the last few months.  I use them
for software building and testing, so they are not heavily used really.
YMMV, etc.

> It looks like KVM is the winning hypervisor solution.  Is this correct?
> What interfaces exist out there on top of KVM?  I've heard of "libvert"
> but have not seen what actual UIs exist.  Are there other solutions?

It's libvirt, and it is the GUI.  Red Hat has a sponsored project called
oVirt to offer a web interface to manage KVM farms.  I'm not sure how
complete it is right now.

In most ways, I would really rather be running KVM, since I feel like it
has a bright future, and Oracle hasn't shown itself to be a particularly
good steward for free software projects, but KVM's support for software
OpenGL in the guests was pretty bad.  If I ran a new enough OpenGL
application inside the VM, it would totally hang the VM.

So I'm using VirtualBox, and it has been pretty good so far.


the wages of gin is breath.                                  <anonymous>

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