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I am using Ubuntu 12.10 since last one month. I am new at Ubuntu. I need to create lab contains Windows 2008R2 domain controller with Linux servers and workstations with different roles installed. Hence I need a hypervisor for the same.

I have tried VirtualBox; downloaded from their website. However that (virtualbox) has become unresponsive and bug checking in Windows guest. I have uninstalled that same and installed it back again from Ubuntu Software Centre. But the same thing happened again.

Please guide me with a step by step document to install the latest version of VirtualBox in Ubuntu 12.10. Also let me know if there is free VMware workstation available which can be installed in Ubuntu 12.10 host. If there is any other option apart from VirtualBox and VMware, do let me know.

I would like to mention I have good experience with VirtualBox in Windows host and found more useful than VMware workstation 8.

Thank you in advance.

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3 Answers

Your question title is about which hypervisor is best in Ubuntu, yet the body of your question mentions a specific Virtualbox step-by-step guide. I'm suggesting an alternative to Virtualbox here.

KVM (or QEMU-KVM) is a native Linux virtualization technology, built-in to the kernel. This means you already have it installed just by running Linux!

Check first if you can use KVM, as it requires some hardware acceleration to be able to run. Be sure to enable VT-x "Virtualization support" in your BIOS to get it to work (which is a good idea to enable for either which hypervisor you're going to use!).

$ kvm-ok 
INFO: /dev/kvm exists
KVM acceleration can be used

To get started quickly, I would suggest to install the GUI front-end first: Virtual Machine Manager Install virt-manager

The Virtual Machine Manager pretty self-explanatory. My suggestions when using Windows as a guest:

  • Install the VirtIO Windows drivers for network and disks. See Installing VirtIO drivers in Windows Server 2008 on how to do that. This is similar to what "Guest tools" are in VirtualBox terms.

  • Don't use the built-in console. It's rather slow and sluggish unless you move to SPICE (which I wouldn't recommend for server installations). Use RDP instead (remote desktop) via the network.

As a big bonus, you can just use SSH to manage other hypervisors in your network or via the internet.


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Xen may be your choice.

Note: I am not a server user. As you were looking for a alternative hypervisor for ubuntu, so thought of sharing it.

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I am using 32 bit desktop not the server version. Thank you for your help. –  Kuntal Bose Jan 20 '13 at 0:23
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I have used VirtualBox on Linux on-and-off for many years, and with few complaints. I would recommend it over VMware Player. And in recent years, VirtualBox has seen great improvements; most notably in supporting hardware acceleration for graphics.

If you need the latest, .debs for Ubuntu can be downloaded from Virtualbox's download page. However, you haven't mentioned any details of the issues you're experiencing in the guests - so I don't know whether using a more recent version will help.

VMware makes available VMware Player which can run on Linux: instructions are here. Unless you have cause to do so, I would stick with VirtualBox; but I know some prefer Player...

To comment on Xen; it's a solid option. As a T1 hypervisor, you get superior performance, at the cost of more complex setup configuration. My experiences with it have been mixed, but then I have been trying to accomplish more troublesome tasks than most. I've yet to try Xen 4.2.

It really depends on the requirements of your "lab". Generally speaking, the more control and performance you need, the greater the argument for migrating to a T1 solution. For simpler and/or quicker projects, VirtualBox is the way to go.

However, I see your Ubuntu installations are 32-bit... so Xen isn't going to be viable in that configuration with 64-bit guests.

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