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I'm currently running a HP Microserver with a single Debian OS running a variety of home-server tasks (NAS, Plex, OwnCloud, Minecraft Server, basic web hosting, git source control repositories etc).

It's all getting a bit complex and I've just run into issues where upgrading one system breaks another, so I'm thinking it's probably worth splitting things out to several VMs, also allowing me to stop/start services individually and migrate them to more powerful machines if I need more performance.

So what am I looking for?

  • A bare-metal (or thin) hypervisor) to run a handful of Linux VMs
  • (Optional) the ability to run Windows and OSX VMs would be nice
  • A web interface, which doesn't have to do anything fancy, but basic management would be nice: adding, removing, starting and stopping VMs, ideally an import/export of some kind? If it can download new disk images for installation that would be nice too.
  • Runs on a HP Microserver
  • Relatively simple - I don't need anything overly clever, and in fact would prefer something reasonably simple.

Any recommendations?

I'm aware of the existence of KVM, VMWare etc, and would be happy with any, but have never used any and have no idea which is most suited to my use.

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I'd like to recommend Proxmox.

It provides KVM for virtualization so you can run Windows or any other x86/x86_64 OS (e.g. Linux, OSX, BSD, etc).

However, unlike any other Hypervisor I have come across, it also provides LXC (Linux Containers). Containers are an independent OS so are essentially completely separate from the host system. Beyond some config and setup differences; they present more-or-less as just another VM.

But as containers leverage the host kernel they are extremely lightweight. I have seen tests that show that under LXC a Linux OS loses only 5% to Hypervisor overhead (normal VMs have something more along the lines of 15%-25% overhead). So relative to the resources you give the container it will almost run like on bare metal! Keep in mind though that you can only use Linux inside LXC.

Also, FWIW Docker uses (or at least used to use) LXC as a component of their container provision. Although Docker is really cool, IMO LXC is superior as in this sort of usage scenario as you have a single host with clearly separated VMs/containers. Besides you can still use Docker within a Linux VM if you so desire (I'm pretty sure that you can't use Docker inside LXC, but I may be wrong).

The other bonus is that all the (~100) TurnKey Linux software appliances (servers - with software pre-installed and pre-configured) are all available to download for free directly within the Proxmox WebUI!

Disclaimer: To be up front, I work with TurnKey and we partner with Proxmox. For the record though I have been recommending Proxmox and TurnKey for years. Long before TurnKey partnered with Proxmox and long before I worked for TurnKey...

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I am using a Proxmox installation running on a minimum debian system for this kind of setup. Actually this one (hardware) server is hosted by an internet server provider so my only access is via web for VM administration or putty for server administration.
There I have several VMs running linux for production tasks like git, owncloud and test VMs for hosting my test web server.

Take a look at the screenshot on :Wikipedia Proxmox
In this page you administer everything for the VMs. Even backups of the VMs can be scheduled.
You find it at Proxmox-VE
It is free to use but has a little nag screen when you log on to the system about making a subscription. But you are not required to have one.

The VMs can also run Windows but I don't know about OSX.

I don't know HP Microserver so I can't say anything on that.

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