Advise for running VMs (was Re: New to the list :))

Robert Terzi rct-sub at
Tue Apr 17 10:29:18 CDT 2012

As others have said running virtual machines is your best bet for creating
an economical virtual lab.  A few pieces of advice that I haven't seen
mentioned yet:


Your ideal machine is a 64 bit x86_64 machine with a processor that
has hardware virtualization support. Most of the Intel and AMD processors
made in the last several years have good hardware virtualization support.
Note: this an be a desktop or a laptop.  It doesn't need to be a server.


The amount of memory that you can stuff in will largely determine
how many different VMs you can run simultaneously and how happy you'll be
with the performance.  I suggest something that can a minimum of 8 GB,
but 12 GB or 16 GB would be much better.  One advantage of using a desktop
computer is memory for it is cheaper than any of the other form factors.
Since you are just learning, you don't need to buy server class ECC memory.


VM images can take up a lot of disk space.  After memory, disk performance
will have the greatest impact on how usable your virtual lab machine will
be.  Ideally two reasonably large 7200 rpm disks.  Having two independent
disks can be useful for performance reasons.

Virtual Machine Software:

To start out, the freely available is a nice, easy to use,
and capable virtual machine monitor that supports different host operating
systems (linux, windows, mac ox), and different guests.

After you are comfortable you may want to experiment with other hypervisors
such as Linux KVM, Xen, VMware, etc.

Hope This Helps,

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