I recently acquired a very nice tower server that I want to use as a virtual lab.
I know a few bare metal hypervisors, the first of which is vSphere ESXi. I do know that the hypervisor is free, but I do remember hearing that it is limited to one physical processor and 32GB of RAM. My server has two hex cores with 128GB of memory, and thus I'd need to purchase a copy of vSphere. However, the smallest license they have is around $1000, and it comes with 3 server licenses with 2 physical processors each. I only really need one license, so I feel as if I'd be wasting a lot of money by purchasing it outright like that.
Are there any other low-cost or free/open-source bare metal hypervisors that can address the amount of hardware on my new server? I've heard of Xen, but am not familiar with the hardware limitations. Hyper-V Server is provided by microsoft, but it lacks support for a lot of Linux distros (I think only RHEL, SUSE, and BSD or so). I've heard of KVM as well, which is a linux-based hypervisor with a LOT of supported OS's, but haven't heard of it until I started looking into the subject, and don't really know how viable it is.
So, I'm looking for some input on what you guys (both the ITProTV staff as well as community members) think would be a good fit. I do intend to use various versions of linux, as well as Microsoft's various OSes. I don't mind paying for a product if it works well, but I feel like a lot of the licensing options are meant for small businesses and less for home server scenarios.
Bare Metal Hypervisor for Virtual Lab
Citrix XenServer is the one that seems to meet your constraints of cost and hardware optimization. The cost is free, if you're willing to learn how to do the manual updates.
The hardware limitations of XenServer:
--XenServer can use up to 1TB of physical memory
--XenServer can use up to 160 logical Processors --you may have to go to their site to check the HCL
--A single XenServer can run up to 450 Windows Based VMs or 650 Linux-Based VMs
--XenServer can support up to 16 NICS that can be bonded.
It's the bare-metal hypervisor solution that we use for our infrastructure at ITProTV.
I like because I can install XenServer and start creating a VM within 10 minutes.
With the 5.5 free hypervisor they removed the 32GB physical RAM limitation and I believe that it supports multiple physical CPUs
Please reference http://www.vmware.com/ap/products/vsphere-hypervisor/gettingstarted.html
You could try Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. It's completely free and supports the following:
- 64 virtual processors per virtual machine
- 1 TB per virtual machine
- 64 TB per virtual hard disk
- 320 logical processors on the computer that runs Hyper-V
- 4 TB on the computer that runs Hyper-V
- 1024 virtual machines per host server
You can get more info at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh833682.aspx
And you can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-hyper-v-server-2012-r2
Note: It does not include the full Windows GUI as such but you can manage it remotely via Server Manager.