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Choosing a Virtualization Solution

From: opalvaults (ry)
Subject: Choosing a Virtualization Solution
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2021 19:34:51 -0800

Hello (again :D)

Last in this slew of e-mails is the decision of choosing a hypervisor/virtualization solution. There are at least 4 options I can think of:

Proxmox - AGPL - https://www.proxmox.com/en/ - Tends to be the go-to for a lot of small enterprise/homelabs. It's the shiniest free software virtualization environment on the block! It comes with interfaces for scheduled backups, clustering, ease of LXC containers and VM's out of the box, ease of networking, etc. It's kind of the whole one-stop-shop solution. However, big caveat: lots of _javascript_, and lots of abstraction. It's an amazing piece of free software, but for those reasons alone I  think we should at the very least consider alternatives.

Cockpit - LGPL - https://cockpit-project.org/ - . It's just a web interface for your server and has many plugins and extensions such as podman and libvirt. Essentially you install libvirt and it "unlocks" that module once you've activated it. Very lightweight, integrates with a lot of technologies and solid as heck. Also, along with other technologies like Autofs, it only is activated when someone is actually using it, making it more light on resources. Like all of these solutions, it's an abstraction layer so you don't learn the CLI interface for libvirt. However you don't have to use Cockpit if you don't want to. It's simply broadcasting a web interface so if you felt inclined to never look at Cockpit and only use CLI libvirt/whatever you're more than welcome to. Could be a good solution for both sides of the aisle?

Ganeti - 2 Clause BSD - https://docs.ganeti.org/# - Another minimal  solution! It's essentially a wrapper around existing hypervisors. It was created by Google, and is still used for some of their internal infra, but it is community supported. I believe it is also used by the Linux Foundation. This is what the company I work for uses, and I use a modest amount, so I can attest to it's more simple approach vs. what proxmox offers. Allows for much of the same functionality as Proxmox has minus some of the shiny stuff. Something to consider, definitely still a solid option.

libvirt - https://libvirt.org/ -  We could just use libvirt bare. Not sure what else to say here. It'd be about as flexible as you want it to be. Don't let the brevity of my comment put you off. I've just never used its raw API before so I have less to say about this one. Still a solid choice but probably not for those new to this kind of thing?

I personally have an instance of Cockpit, and have a Proxmox instance as well. So during our next meeting, or during the Ansible meetup let's take a tour of those two at least so we can all see what that looks like in action if you don't spin it up for yourself beforehand.

Hopefully that gives a good overview of the options! I've provided links so you can draw you own conclusions. Please feel free to discuss away! Another sorta urgent one along with the backups so we can get this show on the road :D.

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