Saturday, April 14, 2012

Goodbye Xen & vSphere, Hello Proxmox VE 2.0

In the struggle to find the perfect Hypervisor, I have tried just about every option. My goal for the lab at home is to cut down on both noise and power consumption. This means going to 1 box that fulfills all of my lab needs, until I add another node for High Availability technology. I really can't see myself adding another VM server until I decide to go for something like VCP - which I certainly do not have money for right now. (VCP lab would consist of at least two ESXi servers, a SAN for shared storage, and the ESX license which is somewhere around 500$. I am not sure how much vCenter Server is.)

I have tried many renditions of free Virtualization Software - ESXi is not working for me right now because I don't have a decent hardware RAID controller. I was going to purchase one but in the interests of saving money and time I tried Xen again. I had it on the server before, and had pretty good luck at it, but putting it on there again made me remember why I disliked it. Horrible Linux support. The "templates" are distasteful as most of them do not work. I installed Ubuntu server 4-5 times and decided to give up. The only way I was getting it to work is to use a Windows Template, which doesn't really make sense to me at all. Xen feels hacked and unpolished. I believe it has potential, but it isn't for me. Perhaps if I was running only Windows machines, it would be okay, but I run machines from every family of Operating Systems - I need something more flexible.

I had good luck with Proxmox before, despite the issues with NIC cards and the dreaded /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistant-net.rules file, but I thought that since it had been a while since I had checked into it, perhaps they had corrected that issue. Low and behold I see they have version 2.0 released. I immediately downloaded it and installed it. I am VERY impressed. They have completely re-done the GUI, and it is still browser-based, which is HUGE for me because I no long have to fight with some proprietary client that runs only on Windows, I can VPN in and administer all my VMs though a web browser.

Very nice interface. All built with Java, and the console is VERY snappy (SPICE protocol). I don't have to install VMWARE drivers in my new Windows installations just to be able to function in the console window anymore. Also has the ability for live migration and other HA features I haven't tested, but will be very excited to when I get another node. I almost regret not coming upon this sooner as I would have loved to use this in our Tech-Biz project. I am very happy with it though and I think I have become a Proxmox supporter for life.

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