Author Topic: Which Hypervisor  (Read 3112 times)

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Offline blacksheeplogic

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Which Hypervisor
« on: November 20, 2021, 09:42:01 pm »
I've found Virtual Box has been problematic especially after upgrades so I'm wanting to move away from it. Seems to be a very limited number of options.  I have the option of using Hyper-V with a Windows-Pro license but I'm leaning to wards VMWare Workstation Pro 16 as it's single user license is around AUD300. They offer 30 days free support and I've not looked into the piece of a yearly support/maintenance. Upgraded add up over time tho. Are there any others worth looking at that offer a single user license? I don't want to invest too heavily as  I don't plan on moving to Windows 11 so future systems will not run windows.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 09:46:41 pm by blacksheeplogic »
 

Offline nightfire

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2021, 10:01:06 pm »
Depends what your priorities are.

At work, we also had some of this discussions lately- and as we are having developers needing to be able to attach some special measuring devices via USB/Serial to the VM, we finally settled to VMWare Workstation, as the Hyper-V inbuild desktop Virtualizator is working as a Type 1 virtualization a bit differently from Vmware, which is Type 2.

Experience with stability is good, we are doing some stuff with Embarcadero C++ there, so we have to use compiler and debugger inside the VM.

What are your exact requirements to which application software will be housed into a VM?
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2021, 10:31:21 pm »
What are your exact requirements to which application software will be housed into a VM?

I'm needing only a type 2 hypervisor at the moment. Mainly I only need to host my Linux build servers & development/test environments and a few basic services I prefer to keep separated (Git server, file servers, & firewall). I connect and mange everything via remote connections so I'm not concerned with the client hardware support. Most of my work is C and I move over to real hardware if I run into any issues. Very basic requirements but I need the VM's be be stable and easily recoverable and I want to have configured a large number but outside of the basic services I only have a handful of VM's running.
 

Online evb149

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2021, 10:34:08 pm »
There are different kinds of hypervisors.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypervisor
"...Type-1, native or bare-metal hypervisors"
"...Modern equivalents include AntsleOS,[5] Microsoft Hyper-V and Xbox One system software, Nutanix AHV, XCP-ng, Oracle VM Server for SPARC, Oracle VM Server for x86, POWER Hypervisor,[6] QNX Hypervisor,[7] VMware ESXi (formerly ESX), Proxmox Virtual Environment, Xen and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)."


"...Type-2 hypervisors abstract guest operating systems from the host operating system. Parallels Desktop for Mac, QEMU, VirtualBox, VMware Player and VMware Workstation are examples of type-2 hypervisors."

I wouldn't really consider hyper-v, and virtualbox to be altogether comparable because of the above mentioned distinctions.

If you just want to virtualize something running under an x86_64 native platform then your major options are those listed above.  If it is preferable | not objectionable to run a type 2 hypervisor under such a LINUX host and you want a x86_64 guest OS then KVM is a reasonable alternative to VirtualBox in many regards which I can commend.

A lot of people find Proxmox_Virtual_Environment to be convenient but I think Vmware Workstation is probably more used in commercial / enterprise types of scenarios for general virtualization on workstations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxmox_Virtual_Environment

Your workload will dictate what kinds of features you may want / need from a virtualization environment -- guest OS support, whether guest additions / drivers / paravirtualization or similar is available and functional for your guest OS and installation, whether GPU / 3d / 2d graphics acceleration or pass-through or whatever is available / useful / needed, what other kinds of host to guest hardware utilization / pass-through is available (USB vN.N controllers / devices, PCIE devices, storage controllers / channels / targets, ...).

In my own experience VirtualBox is convenient to use / "sysadmin" as an end user and generally works though has very limited guest 3d graphics / GPU capabilities, and limited guest USB / PCIE / storage exposure / pass-through also.  If your guests do not care much about such things then KVM (along with the UIs / machine management utilities supporting KVM based VMs your choice of LINUX desktop offers e.g. virt-manager etc.) seems like it may be a reasonable alternative, and, I suppose, Vmware Workstation as you said, are the two most direct alternatives to VB which should be comparable in most ways.

Wrt. support you can buy enterprise LINUX software and hardware platforms (e.g. RHEL, SLES, ...) which offer support and documentation etc. along with supported virtualization tools on top of base platform capabilities like KVM and Xen and I suppose the cost would be competitive with the Windows-Pro/Hyper-V option you mention.
https://www.suse.com/solutions/server-and-application-virtualization/


 

Online evb149

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2021, 10:45:29 pm »
For that use case, if you like LINUX, I'd personally certainly run a linux host like at least suse / ubuntu server, maybe centos or rhel.  Then KVM based virtualization and the distribution's best supported / applicable for your use case VM provisioning / management tools (e.g. stuff that works with libvirt, virt-manager, whatever).

Since you're wanting to have a lot of them provisioned and easily (wrt. an engineer's workflow) managed but have few actually running at once you might consider whether you want to use only the platform general CLI / UI tools to provision and sysadmin VMs or if you want to integrate that via some kinds of more general devops tools of your choice to setup and manage the guests e.g. vagrant, et. al.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagrant_(software)

KVM based facilities have worked for me for those sorts of guest needs and then you're not at the mercy of oracle vbox. wrt. bugs and capabilities since you have more choices of deployments / versions / etc. with KVM that has been long stable and presently offered in most every variant of LINUX.

What are your exact requirements to which application software will be housed into a VM?

I'm needing only a type 2 hypervisor at the moment. Mainly I only need to host my Linux build servers & development/test environments and a few basic services I prefer to keep separated (Git server, file servers, & firewall). I connect and mange everything via remote connections so I'm not concerned with the client hardware support. Most of my work is C and I move over to real hardware if I run into any issues. Very basic requirements but I need the VM's be be stable and easily recoverable and I want to have configured a large number but outside of the basic services I only have a handful of VM's running.
 
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2021, 11:19:37 pm »
I personally use Proxmox. Works well and better still, it's free (unless you want the optional support).
 
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Offline PKTKS

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2021, 05:36:41 pm »
Just for the record..

I run QEMU with KVM  just fine...
It may not be the most feature rich tool..

But works fine.

Paul

 

Offline olkipukki

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2021, 08:46:32 pm »
I've found Virtual Box has been problematic especially after upgrades so I'm wanting to move away from it. Seems to be a very limited number of options.  I have the option of using Hyper-V with a Windows-Pro license but I'm leaning to wards VMWare Workstation Pro 16 as it's single user license is around AUD300. They offer 30 days free support and I've not looked into the piece of a yearly support/maintenance. Upgraded add up over time tho. Are there any others worth looking at that offer a single user license? I don't want to invest too heavily as  I don't plan on moving to Windows 11 so future systems will not run windows.

I'm using VMWare Workstation Pro 16 on Windows and Linux, can share VM's between both no issues.
Also, VMWare Fusion on Mac (Intel only), but quite rare these days.

There're mostly for desktop apps, works like a charm, you literally move a mouse from VM back to host without any delays... very handy to work with Host/VM GUIs.

The upgrade usually cost 1/2 of the full price, but worth keep eye for promotions etc. :)




 

Offline olkipukki

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2021, 08:55:24 pm »
A lot of people find Proxmox_Virtual_Environment to be convenient but I think Vmware Workstation is probably more used in commercial / enterprise types of scenarios for general virtualization on workstations.

I tried Proxmox as desktop alternative, interesting beast - I ran usual Windows as VM with pass-through PCIe and USBs from Proxmon to VM.
You literally can run multiple desktop OS's and be closer to a native hardware. :)
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2021, 05:24:13 am »
KVM based facilities have worked for me for those sorts of guest needs and then you're not at the mercy of oracle vbox. wrt. bugs and capabilities since you have more choices of deployments / versions / etc. with KVM that has been long stable and presently offered in most every variant of LINUX.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. The basic reluctance I have to using KVM is familiarity. I've done very little work with it.  Proxmox which Halcyon suggested (not come across this before) + RHEL Developers license. The appeal of KVM is the remote management and not needing a client but it looks like something I would have to invest a lot of time into getting set up and running.
 

Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2021, 09:57:15 am »
AFAIK Xen and KVM are free for personal use, and well supported in Linux and BSD.

Some distributions are using hardware hypervisors out of the box (though for other purposes).  For example, Qubes OS https://www.qubes-os.org/ is a Xen with a few isolated OSs on top (IIRC has both Fedora and Debian or so, for security and privacy reasons, and when you want to browse without traces it fires up a completely new OS install, with its own new browser, etc).

You'll probably need 2 displays/video cards/keyboards if you want to easily control a hardware hypervisor.

I've tried Xen and Proxmox some years ago, they all worked, but I couldn't pass the nVidia GPU to another machine, so that made the whole exercise futile, so I am still using virtual machines, but instead of VMware I am using VirtualBox (free to use for non-commercial).  VirtualBox can open or import machines created with WMware, so you won't lose your old VM from VMware.

I'm using only virtual machines now, no hardware hypervisor, because I don't do gaming.  The performance in VirtualBox is about the same as a bare metal install for my daily use of VM.  Unless you are doing 3D video gaming from a VM, you won't notice any performance loss.  I'm using mostly VMs isolated from the Internet and never updated, to preserve programming environments for devboards, compilers, etc.

Those VM can be preserved, and they will still work either with VMware or VirtualBox, either with Windows or Linux, nothing to install again or to reconfigure when you change computers/hardware, can be copied on a USB and run somewhere else, cloned, snapshoted, etc and all this from a nice GUI (some hardware Hypervisors only have a command line interface, or a spartan web interface at most).

If you combine VMs with a file system like ZFS (between other goodies, ZFS can do automated deduplication, so if you have 100 Ubuntu VMs 4GB each, with deduplication you'll need only a little more than 4GB instead of 400GB of disk).

No matter what method will work best for you, please come back and left your findings here, after a months or so of usage.  I'm very curious if today, 3 years later, the hypervisor setup is easier than when I tried it.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 10:05:37 am by RoGeorge »
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2021, 05:30:56 pm »
At work, we also had some of this discussions lately- and as we are having developers needing to be able to attach some special measuring devices via USB/Serial to the VM, we finally settled to VMWare Workstation, as the Hyper-V inbuild desktop Virtualizator is working as a Type 1 virtualization a bit differently from Vmware, which is Type 2.

Experience with stability is good, we are doing some stuff with Embarcadero C++ there, so we have to use compiler and debugger inside the VM.

+1 for VMware Workstation. We use it (and VMware Fusion on Mac) to develop VM-based solutions and then push them out to our vSphere ESXi clusters, which you can do from workstation/Fusion with the press of a button.

Personally I use a similar setup at home, creating VMs under Workstation or Fusion on my PC or laptop, and the push them out to one of my home servers which run the free version of ESXi.
 

Offline ve7xen

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2021, 02:43:12 am »
I think perhaps the question is a bit of an XY problem. It's hard to suggest which hypervisor / management plane you should be using without an idea of the problem you are trying to solve with the hypervisor in the first place, why VirtualBox was problematic, or even if a hypervisor is the best solution to those problems at all.

From the sounds of things, most of your virtualization workload may be better served by something at a slightly higher level or at least a higher level of abstraction. For development work, particularly build/test, using ephemeral containers is the modern route, and with something like Docker is pretty much platform agnostic. If you do need a bit more of a heavyweight virtualization, Vagrant offers platform-agnostic definition of virtual machines that you can use to easily spin up development VMs or servers wherever is convenient. Sure it's a paradigm shift, but it also frees you from dependence on an instance of a VM to get work done, you can just pull your repos and spin up new ones wherever/asever required.

For network virtualization though you probably do need a real hypervisor, so I will just say KVM - either fronted via Proxmox or just using virt-manager on a desktop machine, because it's what I am familiar with, but any of the mentioned offerings should be working here.
73 de VE7XEN
He/Him
 
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Offline jmelson

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2021, 12:09:56 am »
Years ago I used VMWare.  Our IT guy at work put Virtual Box on my desktop, and it worked fine.  The only difference I noticed was that VMWare kept a separate state for caps lock for the VM and host, Virtual Box did not.  BUT...  VMWare's support people were absolutely the worst I have experienced!  I had issues when a VMWare guest Windows OS was shut down and would blue-screen on a restart.  I had to research this myself and inform VMWare what the solution was, they had NO clue.  Just read from a script.  And, I had to pay for a service contract to be allowed to call for help, whioch they could not provide!  Virtual Box just works!

Jon
 

Offline brichards42

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2021, 01:33:06 am »
A lot of people find Proxmox_Virtual_Environment to be convenient but I think Vmware Workstation is probably more used in commercial / enterprise types of scenarios for general virtualization on workstations.

I tried Proxmox as desktop alternative, interesting beast - I ran usual Windows as VM with pass-through PCIe and USBs from Proxmon to VM.
You literally can run multiple desktop OS's and be closer to a native hardware. :)

I think I read somewhere that the free version of Proxmox has some kind of nag screen though.
If you go the KVM route there is Cockpit which gives you remote management. I haven't used it myself, I only use virt-manager.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2021, 10:48:51 pm »
A lot of people find Proxmox_Virtual_Environment to be convenient but I think Vmware Workstation is probably more used in commercial / enterprise types of scenarios for general virtualization on workstations.

I tried Proxmox as desktop alternative, interesting beast - I ran usual Windows as VM with pass-through PCIe and USBs from Proxmon to VM.
You literally can run multiple desktop OS's and be closer to a native hardware. :)

I think I read somewhere that the free version of Proxmox has some kind of nag screen though.
If you go the KVM route there is Cockpit which gives you remote management. I haven't used it myself, I only use virt-manager.

When you login or run updates, it will warn you that you don't have an active subscription (and thus don't have access to the enterprise repository). Whilst it would be nice to dismiss this message, for me it's not really an annoyance or an issue. You can disable the enterprise repo if you aren't using it, so it won't try to check it for updates (and fail), but you still get the warning about the subscription upon login.

On the subject of updates, whilst you'll get the underlying Linux updates just fine, you'll need to manually update Proxmox to later versions yourself. It's not difficult, just a few lines in the shell, but it is something to be mindful of if you're expecting to just click "update" in the GUI.

All this is a very minor inconvenience for a solid hypervisor that just works.
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2021, 05:29:30 am »
+1 for VMware Workstation. We use it (and VMware Fusion on Mac) to develop VM-based solutions and then push them out to our vSphere ESXi clusters, which you can do from workstation/Fusion with the press of a button.
Personally I use a similar setup at home, creating VMs under Workstation or Fusion on my PC or laptop, and the push them out to one of my home servers which run the free version of ESXi.

I purchased a license for VMWare Workstation Pro 16 as a temp solution. I'm not discounting vSphere but the license fee is a factor I need to think about more. Proxmox requires a minimal yearly support fee which will add up over time. Right now I'm looking at purchasing a dedicated server and will decide once that arrives.
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Which Hypervisor
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2021, 05:32:37 am »
I think I read somewhere that the free version of Proxmox has some kind of nag screen though.

I'm not too worried about that as we will purchase a support license which every way we go. But I understand for the community saying your product is 'Free' and then nagging to get paid does not site well. The yearly community license is too high for casual use in my opinion.
 


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