KVM and Ubuntu
At Data Cave, like most companies, we have internal servers for email, monitoring, web serving, and like such as. Like a lot of companies today, we have virtualized all of these services on a few physical servers. While we experimented with various means of virtualization with Gentoo, we settled on the use of KVM (Kernel Based Virtual Machine) on Ubuntu for our needs. For some time now, Ubuntu has officially included KVM and various supporting utilities in the distribution. For instance, the “Virtual Machine Manager” is a nice front end to one’s KVM-based VMs. It uses SSH to connect, allows you to see how much CPU load the VM is generating, and gives you access to the VM’s console with a double click.
We use run-of-the-mill Dell servers for hosting these VM’s, and you can see from the screenshot above that even the most-heavily used host is still barely being exercised. For the additional complexity of the setup, we get very real cost savings on the number of boxes we need, while providing us even more flexibility to segregate all major computing services onto their own partition, allowing us to work on them independently.
To provide the disk space for these VM’s, we use Coraid disk enclosures. They use the ATA-over-ethernet (AoE) protocol to create a SAN. Comparing bang-for-buck, this approach cannot be touched. Our experience has proven Coraid’s promises of cost-effectiveness to be true. A comparable, similarly-sized iSCSI configuration, from one of the big names in the industry, started at five times the cost of our Coraid units.
For larger installations, Ubuntu is adding OpenStack cloud software in their forthcoming 12.04 LTS release, but for smaller implementations, KVM-based virtualization is still a terrific way to reduce the costs of hosting your company’s infrastructure. And, unlike other, proprietary solutions, you won’t have to spend the money you saved on the hardware buying the software! And, of course, Data Cave provides a clean, secure, purpose-built place — with fully redundant power, cooling, and connectivity — to put servers for exactly this sort of thing.
Data Cave is a privately owned and operated Tier IV data center located in Columbus, Indiana convenient to Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. Please contact us for more information at 866-514-2283.