Lately, on the sysadmin side of things, we've considered virtualization; namely, VMWare, Microsoft Virtual Server, and Xen. We've tried VMWare ($$$ for the full featureset to be turned on), Virtual Server (lacks the full featureset, according to the admin who played with it), and they asked me to check out Xen.

So, I first want to try Ubuntu. The other easy and free choice would be Fedora, but their release cycle means that we'd have to keep updating this very manually on a fairly regular basis. The choice then becomes Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Desktop, or Ubuntu GeOS (optimized to be a virtualization host).

GeOS (prounouced 'juice') would be the frontrunner... except that this is a Windows shop, and some GUI tools would be awful nice for the rest of the gang. GUI also rules out the standard install of Server, so Ubuntu Desktop 7.10 gets the nod.

As a side note, I *hate* Ubuntu release names. They're confusing, and unless you follow Ubuntu closely, they're easy to forget. 7.10 is "Gutsy Gibbon".

The machine I'm installing onto is a dual proc, 32-bit Intel box, 2 gigs of RAM. I'm making a 4-gig swap partition and a 4-gig root partition, and going for a vanilla install of Ubuntu.

And two hours later, after working through these directions, I realize that no one else in the office has enough Linux know-how to maintain this; we're past the point where it's more efficient to pay for VMWare, or live with the reduced features of MS Virtual Server.

It seems that Fedora's yum package manager can install xen and kernel-xen packages to get Xen installed, and then install the virt-manager package to get a GUI way to install and run virtual machine images. That lets you run Fedora virtual machines, and if you have an Intel processor supporting IVT, you can then run Windows operating systems.

Then again, virt-manager/Xen/Fedora only seems to bring us up to the same feature set as MS Virtual Server... which is free with the MSDN subscription we already have, and *much* easier for the rest of the folks here to maintain.

Back to the drawing board, and scratch the afternoon on that one.

No comments: