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Question:

  • Suitable Linux or opensolaris (minimum requirements/packages) as HOST platform, to run Virtualbox or VMware?

Note: I would like a bare minimum installation of Linux or opensolaris as the HOST OS, that meets the requirements for virtualisation

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If you're talking bare minimum, you don't need to strip down an OS. You can just run a bare-metal hypervisor like the ones Wil has mentioned. –  rob Oct 14 '09 at 23:15
    
A minimal installation of virtually any modern Linux distribution is sufficient for VirtualBox or VMware Server. –  EmmEff Oct 15 '09 at 1:43

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you want to build up a system with nothing more than you need, a ubuntu minimal or debian minimal disk is a good start. then install vmware server (no idea if virtualbox runs headless)

If you want a dedicated VM server, ESXi would be worth trying (its free, BUT tends to be picky about the software it runs on) or microsoft hyper-v server (also free, but dosen't quite meet your specs - its windows server 2008 based).

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CPU is Intel T5250, not sure if this will work with ESXi? –  Aaron Oct 15 '09 at 21:35
    
its dependant on the hard drive controller apparently. there's a few sites with lists but vmware.com/resources/compatibility/… would be a great place to start –  Journeyman Geek Oct 16 '09 at 6:50

Hopefully I don't mean to sound dumb here, but Vmware (as you say on something, I guess Workstation) and Virtual Box are software based virtualisation platforms - they are designed so that you can do other work on your OS and virtualise at the same time.

If you want the bare minimum, I would highly suggest you look at ESXi from VMware, Hyper-V from Microsoft or Xen from Citrix - All of which are free hypervisors that should give you even more performance and really would be the bare minimum.

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@Wil: Sorry, I meant what Linux distro, would be suitable (as min) to run as HOST for other QUEST VMs –  Aaron Oct 14 '09 at 20:36
    
Sorry, I don't really understand - Any VM that you can run in Vmware Workstation should run in ESXi, only a LOT faster and you should have a lot more control over the system. again, sorry if I did not answer your question directly, but I still think this is a better solution... can you exaplin more in your question about what you are trying to accomplish? –  William Hilsum Oct 14 '09 at 20:44

I second Debian as a minimal installation, or there's OpenSolaris JeOS if you want to go that way.

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I think you are better off running a host OS that supports your chosen VM well and then tune your host to eliminate everything you don't need. Trust me, the future headaches you will avoid from trying to cram 10 pounds of (well, you know) into a 5 pound bag are worth the price of using a 'less minimalist' distro. Pick a distro you're familiar with. Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva are all good VirtualBox choices.

If you pick a host OS that's on the bloody edge of your vm, you're always going to have pesky issues with remote disks, audio, 3D, peripherals, you name it. It won't be all those problems all the time, but just something annoying that you really don't need in your life.

I run Windows XP SP2 routinely in VirtualBox on Ubuntu and Fedora and I can tell you it's faster virtualized than if I had installed XP on my machine. I have no idea why that is, but it seems to be true.

I can't speak for VMWare.

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