Re: KVM or Virtualbox for Windows 7 guest??
@meteorrock: The OP mentioned KVM as an option, which is - in my opinion - not easier compared to Xen. KVM would probably be easier to setup if the documentation was clearer and more up-to-date.
KVM seems to offer less options, compared to Xen. Xen, on the other hand, has perhaps some too many options. I believe the Xen developers have recognized this and starting with Xen 4.2 they have streamlined a lot of stuff and focused on the xl toolstack. Unfortunately Ubuntu 12.10 still ships with Xen 4.1.3.
If the OP feels secure enough to takle KVM, it is my opinion that Xen would offer a good option. This is particularly true if the OP likes to squeeze out maximum performance from the Windows guest (or Linux guest).
Unfortunately some bad publicity and rumours about Xen's performance are flooding the web. There have been some benchmarks comparing Xen with KVM where KVM took the lead, for example those published at Phoronix. Some people have already pointed out the flaws of these benchmarks, but these benchmarks are still on the web unaltered, without any note to inform the readers about the limitations of the benchmarks (I'm putting it mildly).
About a year ago I was in a similar situation to the OP where I had to choose between virtualization options. I loved the ease and familiarity of VirtualBox (and its excellent documentation!), but also knew its limitations which, in the end, led me to look for alternatives. I even looked at commercial options such as Parallel Workstation and VMware. Initially KVM became my favorite, probably because of the reports on some benchmarking sites and other, perhaps biased information. Fortunately I soon discovered that the KVM documentation was a mess and that some of the features I was looking for either didn't exist, were in an experimental state, or nobody ever succeeded using them. Today I'm extremely happy with having chosen Xen, but it wasn't an easy start.
But then, KVM is evolving rapidly. On the performance side it seems to be comparable with Xen, though I still have to see proper benchmark comparisons where Xen is set up for optimal performance (this is not that difficult and the Xen documentation gives clear guidelines on how to achieve it). Perhaps one day I'm going to install KVM and give it a run to compare it with Xen.
Here the stuff I would be looking for under KVM:
Last edited by heiko_s; February 1st, 2013 at 12:20 PM.
LM14 64bit (Ubuntu 12.10) with Xen hypervisor 4.1.3 and Windows 7 Pro 64 bit guest using VGA passthrough