Using KVM on CentOS 6.3 as a Hobbyist’s Hypervisor

CentOS logoOk, this one was a real quickie, thanks to the earlier test with Ubuntu Server. I mainly wanted to check if there was any difference, given that CentOS is basically the free (as in: not commercially unsupported) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3. Originally RHEL used Xen as the default Hypervisor, but since 6.2 they switched to KVM. For those who never tried out different flavors of Linux, there are three major family trees (in alphabetical order): Debian, Red Hat, and Slackware. Ubuntu comes from the Debian tree, SUSE is one I have used from the Slackware tree, and CentOS comes from Red Hat. There are some basic configuration and directory tree differences between these three. Wikipedia has a nice tree image as well as a comparison article. CentOS gave me no real surprises.

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Using Citrix XenServer as a Hobbyist’s Hypervisor

Citrix logo

When I started experimenting with VMs on my home server, I had a Ubuntu Server system as a base. For Linux there are two main players in the Hypervisor field: KVM and Xen. Xen is the Hypervisor that Citrix bases its server on and they have a free download of it available called XenServer, so I thought that would be a good first sniff at Xen.

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Using Hyper-V as a Hobbyist’s Hypervisor (Updated)

Microsoft logoHyper-V is a bit of an oddball in this set, if only because of its ancestry. When you read the description at the Microsoft site, it becomes clear that you’re not getting just a Hypervisor, you’re getting Windows Server 2012… JeOS‘d. (pronounce as “Juiced”, from “Just enough Operating System”) Hyper-V is officially just enough of Windows Server 2012 (previously known as Windows 8 Server) to run the Hypervisor, but that does include quite a bit, because it has to allow remote management through the Microsoft Management Framework. But let me put this up front: of all the boot animations, this one is definitely the coolest so far. 🙂

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Using KVM on Ubuntu 12.04LTS as a Hobbyist’s Hypervisor

Ubuntu logoKVM was up second, being the (default) Hypervisor in Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS, with which I already had some experience. Ubuntu Server is free and the LTS editions have “Long Term Support”, so updates will be made available over several years. No hassles with download registration or license keys… easy. Documentation in the Ubuntu Server Guide tells you how to install KVM for Virtualization, but the setup process will also offer it as the last step, where you can state your intent for the server. In my case, I only selected SSH server and VM host as functions for the box. Snappy, with a well-defined result. I already had experience with Ubuntu Server and it generally impresses me with it’s ease of installation.

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Using VMWare ESXi 5.1 as a Hobbyist’s Hypervisor [updated]

VMWare logoIn a “Best Buy Guide” on the Tweakers.net (in Dutch) a new category Home server was introduced. Since I was already looking at my server and its capacity, I was intrigued by the remark that VMWare’s ESXi hypervisor is free for personal use. There was also a remark that some Intel Core i5 processors support VxD, which apparently allows you to pass on hardware directly (more or less) to a client VM, so you don’t have to create virtual disks if you want the full device to go to the client. You can also pass on PCI (and PCIe) devices to VMs with minimal overhead that way. A post on the forums (also in Dutch) described the installation in some more detail, including the nice touch of using a USB thumb drive as installation disk, so the hypervisor has almost no footprint on the host. So I gave it a spin.

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KVM Network Bridge on Ubuntu for a Server VM

I warned you I would go recursive in my project to do some development. Well, here’s the first proof of that: I managed to get a virtual machine working on Ubuntu server using a network bridge. Man, it was way more difficult to figure out than I thought, because there are so many articles on network bridges, but none really explain what their instructions do and why, so if your goal differs by the least bit, you’re likely to screw up. My goal was simple: I have a Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS box and I want to run virtual machines on it, where the virtual machine presents itself to the outside world with its own IP address and can function as a server. I finally got it to work, but not without several misses.

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Requirement: Have a Plan. Check!

Ok, that sounds cheesy, but after thinking about the Arquillian posts I thought I’d better tell you where I’m going. As Eric Raymond wrote, many developers write software to “scratch” a “personal itch”. My itch causes me to write also, but not just software; i’ll blog about it as well.

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