Virtualization Options

At my job, we have quite a few servers, all on dedicated hardware. Most of our servers relate directly to storing data on disk, and so physical hardware makes sense. For the scores of random, smallish servers, though, physical hardware is overkill. To help manage this inefficiency, we’re looking at various virtualization options, including XenServer, KVM, and containers/jails/zones.

To tackle this project, I’ll spike out simple implementations in a few different tools, and get a feel for the setup and management requirements. One important requirement is that whatever we choose must have a decent set of tools for automating tasks, because we want things to be as hands-off as possible. Other features I’m looking for include:

  • Good performance for linux hosts
  • Good isolation with respect to both performance and security of network/disk/etc
  • Network support for host-specific VLAN configuration
  • Intuitive & sane management
  • HA of VMs
  • Live migration of VMs

The first solution I’m trying out is XenServer 6.2. I’ll write more about that over the next few posts.

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Patrick Schless

I'm a (mostly) ruby/rails developer, living in Chicago. I work at Braintree, and I have lots of side-projects.

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