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We plan to introduce virtualization on our 64bit Ubuntu 12.04 LTS server so that we can run, in different VMs, a file server for our staff and some development machines for our IT team (code repository, continuous integration, VMs with different browsers/OS's for testing webapps, etc.).

We would like to find a virtualization solution that provides:

  • Snapshots: ability to revert to a previous state of the machine (useful before installing a system update, etc.);
  • Hot backups: ability to create a copy of a machine for safety purposes;
  • Easy of use: simple user interface to create snapshots, create/start/stop/delete VMs.

Which virtualisation solution (e.g., KVM, VirtualBox, Xen, Xen/XCP, etc.) would you recommend for such a setup?

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The later will provide virt-manager package that contains a graphical utility to manage local and remote virtual machines – Ahmadgeo Mar 27 '13 at 14:52

Oracle VirtualBox can do all those things very nicely. It has easy to create snapshots, the machine's hard drive is a portable file so you can back it up, and has an optional GUI. There are other options, but none are as crazily simple as VirtualBox. It's super powerful, but so easy with the GUI a kid can use it. There are also ways to remotely use the VMs built right in VBox. If I were you I would download it from the website vs installing from the repositories, that way you have the latest version.

For your particular use, you will need to forward the network ports:

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But it's not an hypervisor as the asker seens to want, it needs a full blown OS under it. – Javier Rivera Mar 27 '13 at 9:00
Oh, @JavierRivera, I was not entirely clear on this: hypervisor can be Type 1 or Type 2 (like VirtualBox). For clarity, I will remove the word 'hypervisor' from the question. – Hbf Mar 27 '13 at 9:27
@bntser, thanks for your answer and sharing your experience. I guess the only thing that VirtualBox cannot do is hot backup, right? I.e., we need to stop the VM to take a backup/snapshot. – Hbf Mar 27 '13 at 9:31
@Hbf Yes, I looked it up and it appears that unfortunately you cannot make a hot backup. However, you may want to look into this:… Otherwise, there may be another solution that has this feature. – bntser Mar 27 '13 at 22:25

You may want to check Ubuntu Server default virtualization solution (KVM) in addition to libvirt

The later will provide virt-manager package that contains a graphical utility to manage local and remote virtual machines

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According to e.g. this post, snapshots and hot backup are planned/implemented. But are they available from simple GUI tools, like virt-manager? – Hbf Mar 30 '13 at 23:47
@Hbf : the post you mentioned is for Fedora project is is not related to Ubuntu :). Anyway, if you are interested on a distribution other than Ubuntu ; it is your call......otherwise, I'll try to get you a more comprehensive guide or to build a lab and try to do all of your requirements in it using ubuntu 12.04 LTS :) – Ahmadgeo Mar 31 '13 at 5:10
Well, the post shows that there is activity for KVM snapshots on Linux. But I am wondering how well it works in practice and how well it is supported by UI tools. E.g., does virt-manager support managing snapshots (what about live snapshots?) and is it fast (or does it copy the whole hard drive)? – Hbf Mar 31 '13 at 5:27
OK, got your point :) Will get back to you after doing the lab (hopefully very soon). – Ahmadgeo Mar 31 '13 at 7:43
Thanks, @Ahmadgeo, any additional info would of course be very much appreciated! – Hbf Apr 11 '13 at 9:26

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