Multiplying your server

One of the hottest new technologies for servers is virtualisation, which allows you to install multiple instances of one or more operating systems on one machine.

This is ideal especially for servers with a low average load because, instead of configuring a separate physical box for every single instance of an operating system you need, you just run multiple instances of one or more operating systems on one machine.

Unfortunately, it’s a jungle out there: There are many different and competing virtualisation options. This chapter will provide an overview of the possibilities that virtualisation offers. You’ll also learn how to set up Ubuntu Server for virtualisation.

Understanding Virtualisation

In this section, you’ll read about the different solutions that offer virtualisation, and you’ll explore its two main approaches: full virtualisation and paravirtualisation.

Virtualisation Solutions Currently, many solutions are available to work with virtualisation, but three of them are particularly important:

* VMware

* Xen

* KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine)

As for the other solutions, you won’t often find them in a data center because of their considerable limitations, which include a lack of support, a limited selection of operating systems that can be installed as virtual machines, and a severe performance penalty when using them. For these reasons, I’ll ignore them here.

Of the three important technologies, VMware is the current market leader, probably because it offers a commercial solution to virtualise many different operating systems. The most important VMware version in the data center is VMware ESX, which offers a tuned Linux kernel that integrates Virtual Machine Manager.

However, if you want to use VMware ESX as a virtualisation platform today, you’ll have to do it by running Ubuntu Server as a virtualised “guest” operating system within the VMware environment. There’s currently no way to combine VMware ESX and Ubuntu Server as a virtualisation “host” platform.

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