Virtualization: is there anything better out there?
It’s that time again,
every once in a while there is a need to re-evaluate the current technology and workflow you are using.
Last week we spent some time in virtualization mode. Most of you know we have been a long time fan of Proxmox as our Virtual Machine server of choice mix’s with our Untangle firewall/router it was a great mix for many years. However, Proxmox has been pushing a subscription base nagging model around every corner even with their community edition version which is only as good as they're declining community.
We hate seeing this with companies, but things happen.
With that being said, we explored many free Virtualization servers over the last week with our criteria. Our criteria are just the start line are not the end all to all. What’s really important is its stability, efficiency and resource use of guest VMs along with the ease of management cross platform.
- Bare metal virtualization
- Multi-server management
- Hardware assisted virtualization & Paravirtualization
- X86 & x64 Architecture
- Live VM migration
- Live storage
- Large list of supported guest Operating systems
We have come to the decision of choosing XenServer by Citrix after writing it off due to it not having a built-in Web management which makes managing cross platform difficult. However, Darren Kitchen of Hak5 for pointing out that there are some great web management tools out for XenServer. If you're into security or just some Linux Kung fu you should head over to their site Hak5.org and check out their long list of shows and episodes.
So with that knowledge we began our hunt for a good web management tool and found one Xen-Orchestra. It has a free version which seems to do most of what we want. There are many more features in the paid models that would be great to have but these are just merely an extension of XenServer and can’t see paying that cost. I would say it would be better to just get a windows desktop and run XenCenter for the advanced features when needed.
Now XenCenter run very smooth on a windows machine, but its windows only. We did find a 3rd party application called OpenXenManager that works on OSX and Linux. But there are some requirements depending on which one like needing python or Macports and there is an installation process you have to run through. Which to me is not a huge deal, hover I found at least on Yosemite OpenXenManager is not as stable as I would like. I found it was better to install windows on a local VM and run XenCenter from there.
Lots more to come keep your eyes open for more VM tips and tutorials.
Have a tip or want us to cover something specific, Is there something we missed we love trying and testing new things so let us know down below in the comments.