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So, I'm very interested in running my testing machines and servers virtually and considered vmware, VirtualBox, VirtualPC and qemu. From all those solutions, I like qemu and VirtualBox most, but both of them lack of a uniformed, managed interface to handle the machines.

There was vmware Server a few years ago, which was also free and somehow the perfect solution for me. But it's now unsupported and deprecated. Is there any free follow-up or alternative? I don't want to run x players (vmware/virtualbox or whatever) in their own window.

I know there's also vmware ESX, but this requires a very strict hardware constellation such as plain intel products (chipset, network adapter) etc.

  • Have you seen the virt-manager? – behrooz Nov 6 '12 at 8:17
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I still use VMWare server on one PC, and it's fine for my needs, but those revolve around running legacy OS (Windows XP, Centos 5 in my case) rather than running an up-to-date client OS. I believe that Windows 7 would be OK in VMWare server, but Windows 8 would probably not run.

If you're planning on upgrading your host OS to Windows 8, you may want to consider Hyper-V as your virtualization solution, since that is provided free of charge with the OS.

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I don't want to run x players (vmware/virtualbox or whatever) in their own window.

You can hold shift down when starting a VM in VirtualBox to start it "headless". There is also an option under the start button to start headless.

To connect use SSH, RDP or other remote access software. VirtualBox also has a Remote Display option to use RDP to connect directly to the console (emulating physical keyboard/mouse). I would make sure a firewall is enabled and access it via SSH tunnels.

You can make scripts that use the VBoxManage command to start/stop/configure VMs and run those over SSH.

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