I was recently introduced to a superb piece of software called Proxmox. Proxmox is a virtualization environment not unlike VMware ESXi. Capable of running full KVM based virtual machines or lightweight LXC based guests, Proxmox has proven to be the perfect solution for a home lab setup. Installing Proxmox is no different than installing any other Linux distribution and with minimal effort can be clustered together to form a system capable of migrating a guest from one host to another. With the right hardware you can even perform live migrations. Although Proxmox supports and is capable a lot more than I need it satisfies my desire┬áto have a more “enterprise” like way to virtualize hardware in my home.

Proxmox is free with support plans available. If I were to use it anywhere other than at home I’d definitely play for the support subscription as it allows you to get access to the proper update repositories as well as, obviously, support. Without the support subscription your Proxmox is basically part of a testing repo meaning you get faster access to updates but also updates that are less tested.

In the coming weeks I’ll detail a bit more how I’m using Proxmox, how to setup KVM or LXC based hosts and provision them using Ansible.

Virtualization. Despite being around for years it has suddenly become a hot topic today and it seems that everyone is trying to get a piece of the action. Sun is no different.

Virtualization has been around since the mainframe days but virtualization as we usually see today started with VMware (to the best of my knowledge). VMware has had available for years a few different products that allowed you to dedicate and entire machine to hosting virtual machines or simply run other operating systems on your desktop PC. Today’s computers are more powerful than ever before and even the cheapest of computers today typically has some power to spare. With the abundance of computers with excess power continuing to grow, it is no wonder virtualization has gotten to popular.

About a year ago VMware noticed that virtualization was getting more popular and decided that then was the time to really hook people. They released a free virtualization product (and since then some more) allowing people to run virtual machines on their computer for free.

Soon other virtualization techniques came to market, many of them also free. VirtualBox is one of them and is a relatively new entry into the virtualization market but is already showing some great promise. Unlike some other virtualization products, VirtualBox is cross platform covering the usual suspects like Windows, Linux and Mac. Of course, being from Sun it also runs on Sun’s Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems.

VirtualBox, while young, shows great promise and it is available for free (for personal using and testing). It brings together some of the things I love about VMware. Simple to manage, cross platform and easy migration from one host machine to another. Some of what VirtualBox adds is native iSCSI initiator support, Remote Desktop Protocol support for running virtual machines and the ability to run on Windows, Linux, Mac and Solaris. It even supports the seemless mode seen in VMware’s Fusion and Parallels.

If you’re looking for a free way to get into virtualization then give VirtualBox a shot. I think you’ll be impressed.