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Home Lab : What virtualization product?

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I am not solely work as developer but also as an IT Pro in few projects just to pay the bill. Working with new technology, creating test environment, and solving services problem are too demanding for my main computer. I know VirtualBox but the host system were taking too much memory and can’t allocate required memory for guest system.

One time, a friend of mine phoned me to sell his old and unused HP ML110 G5 server for good price. I took the offer and upgrade the memory to 8GB. I did a research for free or open-source hypervisor type 1 virtualisation solution on the market. I got three solutions which are VMware ESXi, Citrix XenServer, and Proxmox VE.  I throw off Hyper-V from the list because there is no free “official” client available to manage the host remotely.

I don’t need Enterprise grade feature. This is my pro cons list:

VMware ESXi

VMware ESXi is famous product among IT Pro. You could find plenty tutorial on internet.

PRO

  1. Well known.
  2. Free license key.
  3. Console can be accessed from VMware Workstation or VMware Player with tricks.

CONS

  1. Limited support for old server.
  2. vSphere Client is Windows only application.
  3. vSphere Client have no editing support for vm machine version 10 or newer.

Citrix XenServer

Citrix XenServer is great virtualization product but not for casual usage.

PRO

  1. Free.
  2. Support GPU PassThrough for Guest.
  3. XEN is the best virtualisation by far. It’s fast.

CONS

  1. Windows only client.
  2. Too complex for Home Lab.

Proxmox VE

Virtualization solution on top of Debian Project.

PRO

  1. Free
  2. Support KVM (Hypervisor Type 1) and LXC (Container/OS Level Virtualization)
  3. Web Based Management

CONS

  1. Windows guest performance is slow compared to ESXi / XEN
  2. Can’t mount ISO from client side, you must upload to storage.

All virtualization share common problem for importing/converting vm from desktop virtualization software like VirtualBox.

In the end, I am taking Proxmox VE as my virtualization solution because web based management system which I can use it on any operating system without installing desktop application.