Recently I stumbled upon KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) which allows you to leverage the virtualization features built into modern processors.
This blog entry got me started. I am running Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 on an AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor so I installed qemu and kvm, loaded the kernel module and created a disk image for my virtual machine:
sudo apt-get install qemu kvm sudo modprobe kvm-amd qemu-img create node1.img -f qcow2 6G
Next I added myself to the kvm group to access /dev/kvm. As an alternative you can temporarily loosen the permissions (
sudo chmod 666 /dev/kvm) but don’t forget to fix that later on.
I grabbed the iso image of the server edition of Ubuntu 7.10 and was ready to boot the vm and start the installation:
kvm -m 750 -cdrom ubuntu-7.10-server-amd64.iso -boot d -std-vga node1.img
Wow! That was easy:
I installed Ubuntu just like on every other computer. Once the installation was done the automatic reboot failed as expected and I closed the qemu window and started it again (this time with only 500MB of RAM which is still plenty):
kvm -no-acpi -m 500 node1.img
I booted a fully running Ubuntu system – even networking automagically worked.
This looks like a great alternative to the bloated VMware server especially as it is extremly easy to just copy or move the virtual machines if you want to play with clustering for example.