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The short version:

I want to create some VMs on a PC running a Linux host OS, then move them to a PC with ESXi installed on the bare metal.

I'm new to Vmware products. Does anyone know if there is something free that will install on a host OS, with VMs compatible with ESXi?


The long version, in case you're interested:

I have two physical PCs of identical hardware configuration. Let's call them #1 and #2. Here's what they have installed on them now:

  1. (empty)

  2. My existing desktop PC; Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop amd64
    Also providing various household services: email, media, etc.
    This machine isn't very stable and needs to be rebuilt...

Besides rebuilding my desktop (and reverting to an LTS version of Ubuntu), I want to move the services into VMs on a separate headless box. Here's what I want to end up with when this is all over:

  1. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop amd64

  2. Vmware ESXi (latest-free) + VMs with household services: email, media, etc.

It takes a while (for me, since I'm not a guru) to get all these services set up properly, and I want to minimize any gap in email and other services, so before I decommission the services running on #2, I need to have the VMs containing the services running on #1.

What I'd like to do is something like the following:

  1. Install some Vmware VM software on the host OS of #1
  2. Set up the services in one or more VMs there
  3. Switch over to PC #2
  4. Wipe PC #1 and install ESXi
  5. Finally, move the VMs over to PC #1.

Is there a vmware product that will run on top of Ubuntu, let me create the VMs, and then move them to the ESXi machine later on?


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closed as off-topic by Canadian Luke, Journeyman Geek, teylyn, gronostaj, Mokubai Jul 30 '13 at 21:33

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve. Here are a few suggestions on how to properly ask this type of question." – Canadian Luke, Journeyman Geek, teylyn, gronostaj, Mokubai
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I really tried not to write this as a "Which VM software is best?" question, but in the absence of advice from people with experience, I'm left with shudder the marketing-dept-written FAQs on the company websites. "Will product X help my company leverage our synergy? Yes, by 40% more than our competitor's software!"<br/><br/>Please let me know if there is a more appropriate place for this; I couldn't think of any... – Scott Smith Jul 31 '13 at 6:33
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Step 0 Getting ready

   Download VMware esxi 5.1
   Download the latest patch
   Download and install vSphere client (viclient)

VMware ® vCenter™ Converter™

Read users guide PDF on this page

   Use the "license and download" tab
   Download the VMware ® vCenter™ Converter™
   Either burn a CD/DVD or make bootable usb to install vmware
   Use a tool like 7zip to extract the self-extracting exe since it is a windows file.

   Once you have done all this and all your questions are asked and answered
   confidently proceed to step 1.

Step 1 swap computer 1 and 2 hard drive (easier than moving the whole thing)

Computer 1 will have your existing stuff Computer 2 empty

Step 2 Install and configure VMware esxi 5.1

Step 3 Use VMware ® vCenter™ Converter™ to import the physical computer over the lan Step 4 Finishing touches Verify the IP address imported correctly and everything is working

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VMware esxi can run any VM's created on their end user products (VMware workstation, VMware server, VMware player).

But if u just want compartmentized services, try LXC + Docker. LXC are containers that shares the host kernel, the overhead is a lot lower and resource allocation is more flexible.

Docker is a layer that sits on top of LXC that automates setup/teardown of on-demand service-oriented containers. It's developed by dotCloud and it's the core of their PaaS infrastructure.

Running VMware esxi is sort of overkill. VMware esxi runs on bare-metal so everything else you run in that box will have to be virtualized, and it take up 1-2GB Ram all by itself. you might also run into trouble if your hardware doesn't support VMware esxi, it's its own OS. Unless you have a strong case for running VMware esxi, it's usually better to run Linux on the bare metal as the host OS as it'll be most predictable and flexible.

Check out Proxmox VE if you want a hypervisor VM host. It's a Linux distro (based on Debian) that runs VMs using KVM and OpenVZ. Has a nice web UI, supports clustering and OpenVZ live migration. They are working on adding LXC support in the next release. PVE host OS overhead is about 1GB at most, less if you stick to OpenVZ containers.

Best of all it's just Linux, u can use any bleeding edge storage/networking technology in the host to fit your needs. You can run 10 VMs over ZFS storage with deduplication if you want, experiment with automated virtual network provisioning with OpenVSwitch, or add LXC yourself with LXC panel for easy web administration. It's just Debian at its core.

Proxmox VE has been around for a few years and very well maintained. I have been using it for about 4 years (since 1.x). If you prefer a RH/Centos distroas the host, another option is OpenNode, a VM host distro based on RHEL/Centos.

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