Virtual Multi-OS Server

David Abrahams dave at
Mon Jun 5 13:26:06 UTC 2006

Alan McKinnon <alan at> writes:

> On Saturday 03 June 2006 23:07, David Abrahams wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm about to get a compute/testing/file server on which I plan to
>> run several OSes in virtual machines.  I thought I'd start with
>> Ubuntu as the host OS (no I won't have VT or Pacifica).  I have a
>> feeling that there are myriad issues to consider and I probably
>> don't even know where to start asking questions.  Is there anyone
>> out there with experience in this sort of thing who can give me a
>> few pointers?  Or is there a forum dedicated to these problems
>> where I should be posting?
> Which virtual machine type technology do you want to work with?
> There's vmware - some versions free of charge - which performs quite 
> nicely and the workstation version is dead easy to use. It takes a 
> bit of a hit on heavy disk IO loads, but you have really load the 
> machine to notice

Well, I'll be doing lots of compilation and testing, so it could get
to that point.

> There's Xen which runs a virtual machine at about 98% throughput of 
> the base OS regardless of what you throw at it, but this requires 
> patched kernels. Getting it working can be ... interesting

Haha.  That's good to know.

> But these are itty-bitty points. What you need is RAM and *lots* of it 
> - add up the RAM requirements for each virtual OS and add 512M for 
> the host.

Well, I'm going to have 4x1G to start with; that's only 1G for each
core, (it's a 2x dual-core opteron box) but that's easy to upgrade
should I need more.

> If you need some pointers on how to start off, download or install 
> vmware and read the excellent docs that come with the product.

VMWare seems like the easiest route.  But there is also Win4Lin which
appears to promise lower overhead and thus higher performance for the
Windows emulator, and OpenVZ/Virtuozzo which seems to promise the same
for Linux on Linux.

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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