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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Virt. Win Server benchmarks - VMWARE vs KVM vs XEN - where are they? in Technical; I'm currently researching my options for virtualising a number of Windows and *nix servers, but more Windows than nix. The ...
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    Question Virt. Win Server benchmarks - VMWARE vs KVM vs XEN - where are they?

    I'm currently researching my options for virtualising a number of Windows and *nix servers, but more Windows than nix. The problem is that all the benchmarks I've found so far that compare any of the different hypervisors have only benchmarked open source apps like Apache, dovecot and Postgres etc. running under Linux guests when what I need to discover now is how a vitualised Server 2008 guest (64-bit) runs AD, Exchange, SQL server, IIS, Sharepoint, SMB under the main competing virtualisation technologies compared to bare metal. I'd expect such a benchmark, if it exists, would utilise the PV/ virtio or whatever drivers each virtualisation solution provides for Windows Server so as to give the optimum results but other than that the test guests should be identical of course.

    As it stands it looks like KVM has a slight performance edge over both Xen and VMware and ovirt seems to be the management console of choice for KVM but Xen and VMware are generally regarded as safer bets dur to their relative maturity. Hyper-V seems to be the also-ran only for the most devout MS shops.

    Also, if there is anyone reading this who is familiar with both KVM and VMWare - are there any features that VMW has that KVM/ovirt doesn't that would make you consider shelling out all the extra cash required to go the VMWare route over the free and allegedly better performing KVM? Yes, I know about ESX but KVM and XEN seem to do a lot more for zilch quid.
    Last edited by danboid; 29th June 2012 at 03:59 PM.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    I have worked with both KVM and VMware (with vmware what I am doing now).

    They both have the advantages and disadvantages.

    VMware - Very good neat all round product with lots of direct integration with the software to hardware (such as the Dell Equallogic). HA etc all just tends to work and the support is pretty good. Plus it gives you the opportunity to use Veeam (which is brilliant!!).

    KVM - a very good product with great performance. The Management side of KVM can be limited and requires a good Linux knowledge to manage. The HA and migration tools are limited an in my experience take a lot of tinkering to get running 100% smoothly. Havn't used Ovirt but have used Cloudstack which seems pretty good.
    @CyberNerd is currently going through the motions of setting up Desktop Virtulisation on RHEL I believe.

    Toby

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    teejay's Avatar
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    KVM is great if you've got really good Linux skills, it can be a pain to get up and running properly.
    VMWare is tbh very easy to get up and running, it's also pretty cheap for school if you go for the Essentials version and as long as you use certified hardware just works.
    You have to consider the overall cost of ownership in your time setting it up and managing it and also if the school could find someone with the relevant skills if you left/got runover by a bus.

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    I've been a Linux user since '96 and its the only OS I run at home and work. I get paid to support Windows although I'm def. more at home under Linux so as long as setup is reasonably well documented (or it has good IRC support) I should be OK and I think extra setup time is a fair price to pay for better performance (is it? For Windows servers?) and lower costs but these of course aren't the only factors. Ease of management and stability are of course important factors too.

    I'm not ruling out any of the other major offerings here either like Oracle VM but I don't like that Xenserver (its config console) only runs under Windows clients!?! Whaaa? Hyper-V of course will only run under an MS OS and I don't rate MS as a server platform provider- you cannot streamline Windows as much as Linux for one and we all know how reboot happy MS still is.

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    I've been a Linux user since '96 and its the only OS I run at home and work. I get paid to support Windows although I'm def. more at home under Linux so as long as setup is reasonably well documented (or it has good IRC support) I should be OK and I think extra setup time is a fair price to pay for better performance (is it? For Windows servers?) and lower costs but these of course aren't the only factors. Ease of management and stability are important factors too.

    I'm not ruling out any of the other XEN/KVM offerings here either like Oracle VM except I don't like that Xenserver (its config console) only runs under Windows clients!?! Whaaa? Hyper-V of course will only run under/ be configured by an MS OS and I don't rate MS as a server platform provider- you cannot streamline Windows as much as Linux for one and we all know how reboot happy MS still is. Hyper-V is just another avenue for MS vendor lock-in in my eyes with no advantage over the alternatives other than it comes with 2008 as standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danboid View Post
    I've been a Linux user since '96 and its the only OS I run at home and work. I get paid to support Windows although I'm def. more at home under Linux so as long as setup is reasonably well documented (or it has good IRC support) I should be OK and I think extra setup time is a fair price to pay for better performance (is it? For Windows servers?) and lower costs but these of course aren't the only factors. Ease of management and stability are important factors too.

    I'm not ruling out any of the other XEN/KVM offerings here either like Oracle VM except I don't like that Xenserver (its config console) only runs under Windows clients!?! Whaaa? Hyper-V of course will only run under/ be configured by an MS OS and I don't rate MS as a server platform provider- you cannot streamline Windows as much as Linux for one and we all know how reboot happy MS still is. Hyper-V is just another avenue for MS vendor lock-in in my eyes with no advantage over the alternatives other than it comes with 2008 as standard.
    another plus for hyper-v is that it's ridiculously easy to setup with SAN storage. Plus i think it abstracts the networking and storage aspects of running virtual hosts in extremely easy to understand way. It's easy to get your head around the concept of the different types of virtual networks you can use for vm's, and the abstraction of storage on SAN for use by the host(s)/VM's in the form of the clustered shared volume and IDE/SCSI devices within the VM's themselves is well done.. you don't have to think about going a bit more complex with ideas NPIV..it just keeps things simple. I don't know about benchmarks vs the bare metal stuff, but it's performance should be fine for most school workloads. Sure, it might be one of those things where it's a bastion for windows shops, but i don't see how it's a lock-in - if your a school you already have EES, all your doing is taking advantage of something you would already have the rights to use.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    One other thing about KVM is to connect the same partition to multiple hosts you need to setup some kind of cluster such as OCFS2 or GFS2 which can be a pita. We had lots of problems with STONITH (shoot the other node in the head). Therefore you couldn't easily take a single node out of the cluster without it crashing them (that was with OCFS2 but another school had no problems with it).

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    I've setup a few KVM virtualisations. It's pretty simple to do, but management can be a bit of a pain for people unfamiliar with the cli.

    As mentioned above, this is a strong consideration. As such we will be using the commercially supported RHEV.
    You can get a free 30 day trial here: Red Hat | Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
    the full cost isn't that high either, it is licensed per socket on an annual basis (we paid £270 per year per socket)


    You'll need to install RedHat, add the virtualisation manager entitlement (through RHN), download and install a couple of hypervisors. It's not difficult at all - the hardest part is probably configuring the nic on the virtualisation manager. One major gotcha is that the rhev manager needs a windows client interface for .net on IE. go figure.

    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    One other thing about KVM is to connect the same partition to multiple hosts you need to setup some kind of cluster such as OCFS2 or GFS2 which can be a pita.
    RHEV-M takes care of all that for you
    Last edited by CyberNerd; 29th June 2012 at 07:03 PM.

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    @danboid:

    Been running Xenserver 5.6 for around a year and a half with a mixture of linux and MS server types, 64bit 2008 plus SQL 2008 for our MIS system. To date I have only had to reboot the hosts (3 of them in a pool with HA) when I upgraded from version 5.0 to 5.6, their uptime at the present is getting close to 400 days and to be quite frank it just works.

    Reasons for choosing Xenserver was principly on the cost and then the extra's which to date have only cost us £400 per host and these include the HA and when I next upgrade to version 6 it will allow me to schedule VM snapshots automatically so I will not require a third party backup system.

    Performance tools and dynamic allocation of memory etc etc is free and as for connections to SAN storage it couldn't be simpler especially with the SUN now (Oracle)SAN's.

    As for the CLi interface this can be used to many of the day to day stuff plus more powerful configs if required, I am a total newbie in essence to your skills with Linux and the CLi but I would definately consider Xenserver above the others even KVM with it's CLi interface.

    That's just my penny's worth for what it is worth, good luck in your decision.

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    Thanks to everyone who has shared there virtualisation experiences so far!

    I know I mentioned ovirt before but I'm not so sure about that now. They only seem to create 'official' packages for Fedora 16 and if I was going to use a RH based OS it will be RHEL or Scientific. I have found a 3rd party RHEL/SL 6 ovirt repo but if I do go the RHEL route I expect I'd use their official tools for the job. The main thing that has put me off is that it sounds like a nightmare to get it running under Debian/Ubuntu and sounds like you won't get the real deal and do a lot of hacking to just get it to run.

    opennebula looks good to me and is in the Debian, Ubuntu and Suse repos at the very least but from what I read the virtualisation solution to beat now is Proxmox VE which is Debian/KVM/OpenVZ based, open source, supposedly very easy to set up and maintain and has advanced features like HA. A very experienced vSphere admin I know says it wipes the floor with vsphere in many respects!

    Proxmox - Comparison

    Any proxmox users here?

    EDIT

    A quick search of theses forums reveals that at least @cpjitservices has already had proxmox rox his box!
    Last edited by danboid; 29th June 2012 at 10:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danboid View Post
    The main thing that has put me off is that it sounds like a nightmare to get it running under Debian/Ubuntu and sounds like you won't get the real deal and do a lot of hacking to just get it to run.
    From my experience with spacewalk then forget it unless you can devote some serious time. Ultimately its all hackable and you can do what you like, but Redhat are trying to make money from product like satellite and RHEV - they port very well to Centos/Scientific/Fedora but Canonical aren't interested unless you pay them £££

    RHEV isn't CLI based, it's all quite straightforward - in the same way hyper-v, VMWare, Xen are - I chose it mostly because it scales very well (and cheaply) esp if you are considering VDI and is easy to use for (non unixy) technicians.

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    RHEV 3.0, like Xenserver, is a bit of a joke to me because its management console still requires IE and hence Windows. I know this is because RH aquired another company but this is such a gaping flaw to its cred that they should've held out for its java port to stabilise instead of rushing out a product thats dependent upon their biggest rivals platform! Also, anything that requires IE to me is a software engineering fail of the highest order as its still the most standards lacking browser. I admit it has greatly improved in its compliance in recent years but it still stinks compared to its open source rivals.

    Since my last post to this thread, I've discovered opennode which seems to be a better looking, centos-based alternative to proxmox although I don't know how they differ feature-wise yet.

    Has anyone here tried both proxmox 2.1 and opennode 6 yet?

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    CyberNerd:

    So if IE gives you the plague or you're running a decent OS/browser, what are your options for managing RHEV under 3.0? I've heard the alternate method, whatever that is (cli/java?) is unsupported in EV 3.0. Does the alternate manager work well enough to use on a daily basis already or are we waiting on 3.1 for a sane (post MS management setup?

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @danboid:

    As your opposed to using IE then perhaps this maybe of interest if you consider XenServer:

    http://www.xvpsource.org/

    Then you can be comfy in your totally closed view of the computing world according to unix

    Xenserver might not seem so much of a joke then :P
    Last edited by bossman; 30th June 2012 at 10:45 PM.

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    Totally closed view of the world?

    OSX, Android, Linux etc etc = unix variants

    Its MS that is the walled garden that doesn't want to know, because if you do see their secrets they may lose their monopoly!

    MS aren't quite as hostile as they used to be towards unix, linux and free software but its still a very real threat.

    I'm not a fan of any sort of lock in and digital chains so I try to avoid MS as they are the masters of pinning you down- if its not Apple but I prefer OSX to Windows if I have to pick a prison!

    xenserver would be no good if I was more the Mac fanboi and the same problem applies to RHEV - proxmox and opennode def sound the best on paper to me so far.

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