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At home I use Citrix XenServer running on a home PC to host virtual machines.

It's pretty good, except the management tools (XenCenter) only run on Windows. So I have to keep and XP netbook about to do management.

Every time I get a new Ubuntu Server ISO I see that it comes with something called OpenStack.

Does this mean I could replace Citrix XenServer with an OpenStack based system?

Here are the key features I use:

  1. Booting VMs off of iSCSI hosted on a Synology NAS
  2. Snapshotting VM disks before upgrades to do roll backs
  3. Cloning VMs off of those snapshots
  4. Overprovisioning RAM (each VM thinks it has it's own 3GB of RAM, but it all comes from a shared pool)
  5. PCI express passthrough of devices from host to VM (TV tuners at the moment)
  6. Resource monitoring of the host and VMs (CPU, RAM, HDD, NET)
  7. Send restart and shutdown requests to the VMs without using the command line
  8. Create single file backups of VMs including metadata.

All of those things I can do with the GUI (except 5, PCI passthrough requires manual hacking of the VM host file)

Can I do all that with OpenStack?

Does it have a web interface instead of a fat client?

I once tried hosting my VMs on Ubuntu Server with KVM and some sort of VM management tool from the Software Centre.

It was awful.

This isn't that is it? Or maybe it's a lot better now. (that was back in 2010 or 2011 I think)

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2 Answers 2

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Openstack is not a hypervisor .. as I see it, you'll still need to either run it's various components on different nodes OR virtualize the nodes within a hypervisor.

I'm researching how to get started, but you could in theory start an Openstack cloud with a Xen Server running 2-3 nodes.

Configuring the Hypervisor

For production environments the most tested hypervisors are KVM and Xen-based hypervisors. KVM runs through libvirt, Xen runs best through XenAPI calls. KVM is selected by default and requires the least additional configuration. This guide offers information on both but the specific walkthrough configuration options set up KVM.

source : http://docs.openstack.org/grizzly/openstack-compute/install/apt/content/configuring-the-hypervisor.html

I once tried hosting my VMs on Ubuntu Server with KVM and some sort of VM management tool from the Software Centre.

It was awful.

This isn't that is it? Or maybe it's a lot better now. (that was back in 2010 or 2011 I think)

I am a big user of VMWare ESXi .. and I'm finished. No matter what I'm going to KVM.* I am SURE it's gotten leaps and bounds better since then. Vmware wasn't even where it is today back then..

*Edit: upon further inspection KVM is great at it's core, but I need more enterprise like features that VMWare provided. Xen Server has me HOOKED

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So it's kind of like OpenStack is more like XenAPI? Or OpenStack is more like XenAPI than Xen. Or Xen + OpenStack + SomeGUI is like Xen + XenAPI + XenCenter. –  RoboJ1M Jun 2 at 10:27
    
Openstack the API id use to build large clusters/clouds. It has things like compute API/persistenceAPI .. And can use Xen hypervisor to host it's nodes .. Or if you google ubuntu orange box .. Youll see a 10 node cloud .. Its meant for larger teams and problems than i need –  Erik Jun 2 at 13:56
    
If you want a more ESXi experience for KVM.. Try proxmox ve... I just installed it and its the closest so far. Im going to try xen server likely next weekend though.. Because proxmox seems to be highky coupled to its java based client for VNCing –  Erik Jun 2 at 13:58
    
FYI , on OpenStack's web gui openstack.org/software/openstack-dashboard –  Erik Jun 2 at 14:04

You can use "Xen Orchestra" which is an open source web management interface for XenServer and it nearly eliminates the need for XenCenter which only runs on Windows.

Unless you have many physical servers (>5), you most likely need to set up OpenStack on top of XenServer.

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