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I have a slow machine, mainly a Celeron with 250gb HD.

This machine is not being used, so I was planning to install a Linux distro and create a bunch of VMs for development.

Which distro should I choose? I plan to use this machine mainly as a small "hypervisor" to other vms.

Is it possible? What do you suggest? (Buying another machine is out of question, since I would like to know if it's possible give a purpose like this to the Celeron)


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migrated from May 22 '10 at 22:07

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A good question, the answers to which I'm also looking forward, but posted on the wrong site unfortunately. – John Gardeniers May 21 '10 at 21:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I echo someone else's sentiment about OpenVZ. I just went through this a few months ago, and I was able to effectively run ~40 VMs on an old Thinkpad laptop. ESX is probably a more full-featured solution, but I can't really see an old machine keeping up with full x86 emulation on 40+ instances.

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I would suggest installing an older version of VMWare's hypervisor (ESXi 3.5 may run), or any very-stripped-down Linux system & VMWare Server. You could also look in to any of the Xen stuff ( for an approach that might be a bit better on less robust hardware.

Even at that though, a Celeron is a pretty wimpy machine for a VM Hypervisor -- How much RAM do you have & what's the processor speed?
My gut says performance in VMs on this box will probably be pretty dreadful, and it may be better to just dedicate it as a (physical) development machine...

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The only thing with ESXi is that it often doesn't have the drivers for desktop/whimpy machines. So I think your vmware server recommendation is a good idea. If the VMs are all going to *nix, OpenVZ might be a good choice as well. – Kyle Brandt May 21 '10 at 21:50
Sometimes, especially for development purposes the VMs don't have to perform at all well, they simply need to be there and respond to signals. At least that's the scenario I'm interested in. – John Gardeniers May 21 '10 at 21:57
@Kyle true - ESXi is a 50/50 shot on desktop hardware (I've had good luck with it, but that was on recent systems). – voretaq7 May 21 '10 at 22:01

I would use an Ubuntu Server for personal use and a Red Hat for enterprise. then you can ssh and/or run remote desktop on each of the guests.

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Well, if it is a single core celeron processor, you will end up with VMs that will be painfully slow. Get at least a dual core processor; that gives at least a core for all VM's. I usually keep 2.5 vCPUs for each core.

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