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Linux - how to distinguish between dedicated server from VPS or cloud?

Posted on 2011-09-12
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How to distinguish between physical (dedicated) server from VPS or cloud?

Which utility can give me such information? Or maybe system call and so on?
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Question by:longjumps
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9 Comments
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36524612
Your question isn't very clear.

VPS -- dedicated machine (could be physical or virtual)
Cloud -- a cluster of machines that act as a single server

However, these days the term "Cloud" is so abused and misused that who knows what is really on the other end of any "Cloud" services.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36524640
I should clarify, that technically a VPS is a virtual server, but it really depends on how your provider has it all setup, contact them.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:longjumps
ID: 36524857
The question is really the following.

Let's say I am working inside of some Windows Server.
How can I know if it is physical, VPS or cloud?

Is the some definitions of utility to be run that can tell me where am I?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:longjumps
ID: 36524899
I mean in Linux.

The question is really the following.

Let's say I am working inside of some Linux Server.
How can I know if it is physical, VPS or cloud?

Is the some definitions or utility to be run that can tell me where am I?
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LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
mchkorg earned 1332 total points
ID: 36527886
Hi
Probably with lshw or lspci and a bit of grep to get, for example, your motherboard manufacturer.

I've tested on a virtual Debian, running on VMware ESXi, and on a physical one

# lshw | grep vendor

returns either : "Supermicro" or "VMware, Inc".
Guess which one is virtual :)

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LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:mchkorg
mchkorg earned 1332 total points
ID: 36527917
You can elaborate, based on this, to get the information.
Not an automatic way, but I guess you just have to check for some servers, one time.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:longjumps
ID: 36556110
Thanks for information.

These commands are supposed to be run from "root" account.
Also they are using /dev/mem

Is there something that can be run from regular and not using  /dev/mem?
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:mchkorg
ID: 36560000
None that I'm aware of.
Some files are readable in /proc and might contain the information you need, but I doubt it.
lshw is just some sort of a frontend for these information.

dmesg is unreadable for non-root, also



A intermediate solution would be to have a sudo privilege for lshw only. If you can't get root access but the root user can give you lshw via sudo.

No other idea, sorry
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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:PsiCop
PsiCop earned 668 total points
ID: 36570927
Look at my EE Profile for a link to my personal website.

On my Projects page, currently up at the top, is a link to my paper entitled Probing System Hardware in Linux. Read that - it includes how to differentiate an OS running directly on physical hardware vs. virtualized.

If you have any questions after reading that, let me know.
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