Running Arch Linux using OpenBSD vmd(8)

I had difficulties running Linux as a virtual machine using OpenBSD vmd(8). Ubuntu LTS crashed during installation wizard, Debian 9 does not seem to ship with virtio drivers, Alpine randomly freezes the console and Slackware … well slack has not been updated in years. Arch Linux seems to run well. And as I didn’t find a complete guide to install and run it using OpenBSD vmd(8), here are my notes.

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Automated OpenBSD deployment on vmd(8)

Now that I have an OpenBSD server hosted in the Wild and capable of doing virtualization, I’ll migrate all my VM hosted on Synology Virtual Machine Manager. But even if the OpenBSD installer is straight forward, deploying tens of VM takes some time. So I set up an automated environment that provides fast and (nearly) finger-less deployment.

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Choosing between AMD and Intel for the Virtual Infrastructure

My ESXi v5 runs on a Mini-ITX Z68 motherboard with Intel Core i5 2500T (Quad core). I choose this because I wanted to have a silent (fanless) and low consumption box. The box runs quite well. The only thing that I regret is that I don’t have access to any sensors from the vSphere client. I was looking at the SuperMicro motherboards as they seem to provide IPMI.

The SuperMicro H8SCM-F looked really really nice. Micro ATX Form, integrated IPMI and KVM, support for up to 128GB of RAM and AMD Opteron 4000 Series ; the Opteron 4256 EE @2.5 GHz have 8 cores and a TDP of 35W! So I started to wonder how whould an Opteron 4256 EE (8 cores, 2,5GHz, 35W TDP) performs vs my Core i5 2500T (4 cores, 2,3GHz, 45W TDP). According to SPECfp2006 Rate Results, the AMD Opteron 4256 EE would have a baseline of 67 and the Intel Core i5-2500T would have a baseline of 87. A better comparison should be done with Opteron 3250 HE (4 cores, 2,5GHz, 45W TDP) which is ranked 52.

Then the big question raised: is it better to choose AMD or Intel for the virtual infrastructure. I recall reading than AMD processor were perfect for virtualization because they have more cores and use less power. But this was the marketing chat and was published a year ago. What I’m going to do here is try to understand how to compare processor in the case of hypervisor.

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The FreeBSD hypervisor using VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a virtualization software that allows running several OSes on a single host machine. It was first a free VMware Workstation-like tools but has grown quite a bit now. You can now run virtual machines headless, like you do with Xen or KVM.

Here’s a little tour on setting up an hypervisor using VirtualBox on FreeBSD 9.

BTW: Why FreeBSD? Because it features ZFS filesystem version 5 and ZFS pool version 28.

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Run a virtual ESXi 5 in VMware ESXi 5

I now have a (quite) powerfull server: Intel Core i5 with 4 cores and 16GB of RAM. I want to virtualize as many things as possible. So I installed the free VMware ESXi 5 on the physical server and started populating it with virtual machines. I have a main virtual machine that has been P2Ved and run on the local storage of the ESXi. Then I have a virtual Nexenta that accesses some raw disks of the physical server to populate the storage.

This is how to install and run a virtual ESXi 5.0.0 inside a physical ESXi 5.0.0 instance.
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