[nSLUG] Virtulization Solution/Environment

derek mahoney derekmahoe at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 22 10:59:48 AST 2009

Hello All,

I was wondering if someone here could provide me with some insight. Recently I bought a Refurbished IBM Thinkcentre with a Pentium D 920 processor and 3GB's of RAM. My hope for this machine is to use it as a linux virtulization server for now, until I can build a really nice one for the same purpose. 

Over the past couple weeks I have been playing around with Distros and visualization software to try to accomplish having a remote virtualization server that I can administer from my laptop or another computer on the network. My goal is to have a bare bones linux installation (no gui) that sits in the corner with nothing else but a ethernet cord plugged in to it which would allow me to setup and manage vms from a remote PC.

I first tried Ubuntu 9.10 Server with VMWare server 2 on it. I really like the direction VMWare went with Server 2 with having the management console as a web interface. However, upon monitoring the system resources, it looked like there was a memory leak. Because without any VM's running, RAM usage kept increasing until there was no physical RAM left. I tried a reinstall of everything, but same result. I figured it might have been ubuntu.

So I tried CentOS 5 Server installation with VMWare server 2. All was well until I started really using the Web Interface. It began becoming really unresponsive and would loose the connection to the server daemon, then when I would try to reconnect it wouldn't be able to do so. The only thing that would fix it is a daemon restart. I did some research and found out that a lot of other users had the same frustrations and some would even call VMWare Server 2 a failure. Anyway I figured I would try another solution.

I then reinstalled CentOS 5 with Xen virtualization. Easy to install and setup of vm's can be done via command line (which is cool) However when I went about trying to create A windows XP virtual machine, I had some more trouble. It seems that it wanted to create it as a paravirtulized machine, which I am not too familiar with, and because of that, I am unable to install from CD or an ISO image. It seems the only option I have is from http/ftp/ or nfs. and for the most part it seems its more geared towards installing Linux virtual machines instead of Windows VM's. It also said I needed to have VT-x enabled from BIOS for my processor to run it as a true virtual machine (not paravirtulized). I did some research in to this as well and my processor does support it, i just have to figure out how to turn it on if not already. I checked the bios and didn't see any reference/option for it. I am going to try tonight when I go home to see if it's enabled or not. 

I am going to continue to try different methods but I am at the point now where  I am looking for advice. I was wondering if someone here would have any comment/suggestions /advice about a method or a product. 

I would really like to have a remote solution that would allow me to manage and run these things from any computer as I have mentioned. 

Thanks for you help and time.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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