Before I get in to the components that make up the lab I wanted to look at the server set up first. My original plan was to run ESXi on the server in the same way I did last time. However the hardware isn’t compatible with ESXi 5.x.
After playing around for a couple of hours trying to get the disks to be recognized as datastores I gave up and looked at alternatives. And I am happy I did. What I have decided on, although I’m sure the title has given it away, is ProxMox. ProxMox is an open source virtualization platform built on KVM and OpenVZ. You can read more about it on their site http://www.proxmox.com/proxmox-ve/features. It is feature rich actively maintained and from my limited exposure stable and reasonably easy to get the hang of.
One of the main reasons I am happy with this over ESXi is the management interface. In Version 3 it is all web-based HTML5 including the console connections. This means I can access the host and the guests through any of my devices, including my chromebook. Something I could never do in ESXi free versions.
There are some drawbacks from ESXi, any advanced networking is not as simple to set up and you no longer have access to import or export OVA’s. I’m sure there are more differences but at the level I will be using this device in my home environment I doubt they will be of major impact. And perhaps most importantly anything that can run Debian can run this out of the box.
The second benefit for me is that i get to play with two types of virtual technology. KVM and OpenVZ container based.
Installation is simple and took under 8 minutes. The only exception to the ease of the installation is if you want to install from USB rather than CD.
You can not use unetbootin or other multiboot iso tools to create a bootable device. What you have to do instead is write the iso image directly to the USB using dd or for windows I found ImageUSB created my USB in under a minute and worked first time.
Once installed open up your favorite HTML 5 browser and head over to https://yourip:8006 to load the management interface. Log in with root and the credentials you created at install.
From there I have just started playing but my first job was to upload some ISO files which I could use to create some VM’s.
OpenVZ containers can also be uploaded or grabbed directly from the Templates interface. ProxMox provide access to a large selection of turnkey containers all ready to deploy as templates. These lists are a little behind the curve and if you want something more up to date you can grab the official OpenVZ templates and upload them yourself . In my next post I will also look at creating your own customized template which will make life a lot easier.
Once you have ISO files and templates you can select CreateVM or CreateCT from the top right menu to start.
The VMs are not as configurable as our vmware counterparts are but we have the basic controls. including the ability to create and revert snapshots.
That’s all for now. As usual Questions Queries Comments below.