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EDIT: (Sorry for the wall of text)

not so new Linux user but I still consider myself mostly a novice, because this is me jumping off the diving board, ANYWAYS:...

From what little research I've managed to dig up with Google to set up a Virtual Machine Host is I should use Virtual box as it has more options and as it comes in Ubuntu repositories, so I assume is both open source and free. would this assumption be correct?

the rest of the question revolves around the installations them selves

So what I have is I want to set up a single machine to be my virtual machines(up to 4) host and only to host said virtual machines...

firstly: I gather there is an Ubuntu server installation mode that installs the stripped down server and from this I can just install Virtualbox from repositories so as to save as many cycles/ much dive space as possible?

secondly: I can install each VM to also be as striped down as possible to only run on a VM host?

thirdly: Can anyone recommend a partition set up for the master server so that the server boots from a ssd, but the vmboxes run soley from my raid partition for both redundancy and so once the master server is correctly set up, it should never again need to write to the ssd. I'm lead to believe that regular writing to ssd drives drastically shortens their life.

the idea being to set up the servers locally and when they are finished, I can just upload the image files to a online virtual hosting service. EDIT2: (and any modifications/updates can be worked on completely offline)

I do have some experience playing with VMWare, but it was on a windows box.

So, I've tried the best I can to explain what I'm trying to accomplish here, if I need to clarify anything further, please don't hesitate to ask.

many thanks in advance guys,

really looking forward to working with everyone here.

Andrew

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