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I love Ubuntu, and as I am searching the internet, I am finding that some questions I have have not been answered yet.

One of them is if there is a preferred way to set up a virtual server. I look through the Ubuntu Software Center, but found nothing from the search "Virtual Server" I then searched the internet and found lots of posts to trouble-shoot VMWare virtual servers. So, like a good researcher I looked in the Software center for VMWare. Sure enough I found "user agent" and "view open client".

I didn't get sufficient info from the software center. And searching the website only left me scratching my head.

I want to install Ubuntu Server Edition. I already have a server, but am cautious "trying out" things on it. So a virtual server sounds like what I need.

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You are looking for the wrong term: "virtual server" is more commonly called a "virtual machine" or "virtualization software". Virtual servers aka VPS aka virtual hosts usually refer to hosted virtual machines you can rent from ISPs. – Olivier Lalonde Mar 10 '11 at 5:34
up vote 4 down vote accepted

For the sake of merely testing, a desktop virtualisation product like VirtualBox or VMWare would be the easiest way to get started. Installation is quite simple but I'd suggest you download the closed-source version of VirtualBox from their website.

From there it's just a case of running the server when you need it and it's just like using it on bare metal.

If you are looking for a long term solution, there are other options like KVM, OpenVZ and XEN. These are products used in the virtualisation industry on servers. The offer mildly better performance and lower overheads at the cost of setting it up.

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This is great. Thanks. I am setting one up now. How do I ensure that the virtual machine is connected to the internet? – Keith Groben Mar 10 '11 at 0:54
@keith That will depend on the particular product you use -- you might ask another question with the specifics when you get to the point of setting up the VM network connectivity. – belacqua Mar 10 '11 at 4:43
Uh? VirtualBox is open source AFAIK. Because it's not in Ubuntu's repositories doesn't mean it's closed source... Actually, I just doubled check and it is available from Software Centre. Edit: Apparently you are right, there is also a closed source edition. – Olivier Lalonde Mar 10 '11 at 5:42
@Olivier I'm not sure it's closed source but it's certainly not a FOSS license. The PUEL version comes with fancy things like USB host emulation, an RDP server and PXE booting (for netinstalls). I use it just for the USB. – Oli Mar 10 '11 at 9:09
@Keith (Assuming you're using VirtualBox) set the network type to bridged. The VM should auto-configure itself and get an IP from the network router. If you want people on the internet to be able to access the server, you need to do some port forwarding from your router to your virtual server's IP. – Oli Mar 10 '11 at 9:13

Try VirtualBox, the Open Source Edition (VirtualBox OSE) is available in the Software Center, and there are numerous tutorials available on the web.

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I run my virtual servers on KVM. It can be installed on either the server or desktop versions. I have a test virtual machine with a desktop accessible using XRDP. There is a virsh program from controlling the environment from the command line. Look for ubuntu-virt-manager and ubuntu-virt-server.

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If you want to be running a server on your machine you could install the server you want (apache, mysql, etc) on your machine. This will eliminate the overhead that comes from running virtual Operating systems.

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