If you haven't heard of ProxMox yet, you need to hit the site right now and grab the ISO file for the latest version (1.3) as of this writing. ProxMox is a bare metal (Type 1) hypervisor that comes with KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) and OpenVZ technology rolled into a single system. That's right. For the price (free) of a single download, you have two distinct types of virtualization supported on the same system. KVM is fully virtualized virtual machines (VMs)and OpenVZ is a zone or container-based virtualization.

ProxMox is a web-manageable dual-purpose virtualization hypervisor. To me, it is the most powerful virtualization platform created to date. To use ProxMox, you'll need a 64-bit CPU-based system with Virtualization extensions and enabled in BIOS. I recommend at least a dual core, 4GB RAM system for testing. Production systems will need to be of higher capacity.

The KVM portion of the hypervisor supports full virtualization, booting from ISO or CD/DVD drives and almost every operating system you can imagine. Check out the list for your favorite.

Zones or containers are basically BSD "jails" that share your running kernel so that each VM is of the same type (Linux) running from the kernel on the host system. Each zone is given its own chrooted filesystem into which you can install applications without affecting other running applications or zoned virtual machines.

Zones make for an excellent development environment because every aspect of an application can be tested with the exact system it will be running on in production and with native operating system performance.

ProxMox is easy to install, elegant and easy to operate and a pleasure to use. Everything you need to fully manage an enterprise-capable virtualization solution is included in the web interface. From download to creation of your first virtual machine is accomplished in under an hour.

Have you used ProxMox yet? What do you think of it?

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