Best Method for Using Linux/Ubuntu as a Hypervisor

Posted on 2011-10-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hey Everyone,

I've used HyperV so far for virtualizing my clients' servers, but I want a solution for those that don't have licensing to install a 2008 R2 Server for HyperV.  So I was thinking of using Linux to transfer their Servers from the hardware to a virtual environment.  Unfortunately my Linux knowledge is almost none aside from using Ubuntu here and there.

From what I've seen the only real differences for Ubuntu Desktop and Server editions is that server has no GUI and different applications/services installed.

After researching for quite a bit I've found that Virtual Box is probably the best way to go, I was leaning towards Xen for a while but after a few posted test results it swayed me back to VirtualBox.  

So here's what I was thinking of doing, I could install the Ubuntu Server with virtualization services checked off then drop in a core GUI like Gnome and run VirtualBox from within that and run their servers virtually.  Is this a viable solution?  Will it be reliable and run 32 and 64 bit servers?  Etc.

Any info as always is greatly appreciated!

Question by:blue92lx
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    I agree that in your case (the asumption is that it is Windows which will be VM'ed) that VirtualBox is the way to go.
    Dont even bother checking the box for Virtualization Host, that installs KVM and for things to work right, you cant have KVM modules running.
    So basically, install Ubuntu Server (which is also what I use on my server and desktop) with out Virt. Host, once you get down to a command line after the install you want to perform an update and then install the Ubuntu-Desktop  (for Gnome) package, type the following to do that:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-gnome

    after that is installed, you can issue the command:
    sudo init 5
    to make it boot into a graphic login manager.  You can also throw the following lines in at any point to get VirtualBox in your apt configuration:

    wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-4.1

    Enjoy and cheers

    Author Comment

    Awesome and thanks!  One last question then, if I'm installing the server and then putting the GUI on top, why not just install Desktop Ubuntu?  What's the real difference, is it really just some additional programs that install with desktop or is the architecture actually different between desktop and server?

    Author Comment

    For instance could I just install the Ubuntu Desktop and remove some software or do I have to install server and then add the GUI?
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    Haha glad you asked. This is actually the exact process I use for installing Ubuntu - I only use Ubuntu Server and install Ubuntu-Desktop.  If I recall, Ubuntu Server has a different kernel (different scheduler), however I cant quite remember the specifics.  Just a hint, the Ubuntu-Desktop package download is over 1GB, so plan your time  accordingly.

    Author Comment

    Yes I've done a server install once in HyperV to test it out and thought that the desktop download would be done lickity split.  About 1.5 hours later I found out how extensive it is!  haha.  Thanks for your help!
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    Why not use

    Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

    it's free?

    Author Comment

    Because Server 2008 R2 is not free.  I'm going to use Linux for clients that don't have the Server 2008 R2 license, otherwise I'll be using HyperV, a couple of my clients are already setup on it and I like it.

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