Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox vs. ?

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Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox vs. ?

Postby Gorg » 2020-06-17 17:55

Hi everyone,

I'm setting up a Debian 10 server at the moment and am considering different alterantives for virtualisation.

I at least need a Debian 9 VM and another more current system, possibly Fedora or Sid, which I can mess up at any point, however more might follow.

Now, I already have some experiences with VirtualBox, but there's always the ickyness of having an unsupported package from an external source running on the host system and even though the standard functionality is probably enough for me, I like the idea of having a "full-featured" system running.

I've just quickly looked into KVM and Xen and immediately got confused a little, so I thought I'd ask the more seasoned VM-users around here what approach they would recommend so I can look deeper into that. What are the advantages/disadvantages? Where are the limits?

I'd basically like a solution that comes close to VirtualBox from the userspace-perspective, but I'm also willing to get my hands a little dirty in the process.
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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby cuckooflew » 2020-06-17 18:03

I use QEMU, :
I'd basically like a solution that comes close to VirtualBox from the userspace-perspective,

BUT, it is in reverse, and Virtual Box can not come close to QEMU/KVM, I realy don't know about Xen, QEMU fills all my needs.
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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby pcalvert » 2020-06-17 22:04

You might want to look into Proxmox. It uses Debian along with QEMU and LXC.

Here's an old article that I found in my notes:

Proxmox as a home virtualization solution
http://www.hydrogen18.com/blog/proxmox- ... ation.html


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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby Bulkley » 2020-06-17 23:05

At the present, VirtualBox has a poor reputation on Debian. Maybe they'll get it fixed but for now I'd avoid it. If you are comfortable with command line instructions then Qemu is the way to go. If you want something simpler try Gnome-Boxes. For something more configurable there's Virt-manager.
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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-06-18 09:52

VirtualBox should be avoided at all costs, it relies on proprietary blobs and the developers don't give a damn about security issues. It's also slower than KVM & Xen: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... -1510-virt

Xen offers the best performance but it's the most difficult to set up, KVM gets very close to Xen in respect of performance and offers convenient GUIs for management (virt-manager & gnome-boxes).
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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby pcalvert » 2020-06-18 22:14

I switched from KVM to VirtualBox about five years ago because the performance was noticeably better. Disk I/O performance in KVM was poor enough that it was starting to become annoying. I also liked the additional features like the shared clipboard and shared directories. It looks like it might be time for me to take another look at KVM.

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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby peer » 2020-06-19 07:25

At the moment I use Virtualbox. I want to experiment with KVM.

Is it possible to install Virtualbox and KVM on the same pc or will there be dependency problems)??
Will I then be able to run Virtualbox and KVM (not at the same time??)
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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-06-19 08:54

pcalvert wrote:Disk I/O performance in KVM was poor enough that it was starting to become annoying.

Be sure to use virtio for best performance under KVM.

On my system I see ~1850MiB/s when using 'hdparm -t /dev/nvme0n1' and in a QEMU/KVM virtual machine using virtio I see ~450MiB/s, which isn't bad at all.

pcalvert wrote:I also liked the additional features like the shared clipboard and shared directories.

QEMU offers a shared clipboard when using SPICE & the QXL video drivers[0] and there are several ways to share directories, I prefer virtfs[1] (Plan 9 over virtio).

peer wrote:Will I then be able to run Virtualbox and KVM (not at the same time??)

Yes, both solutions are co-installable. And you can even run them both at the same time.
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Re: Virtual Machines in Debian: KVM vs. Xen vs. VirtualBox v

Postby peer » 2020-06-19 09:12

Thanks!!
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