The journey to Linux KVM virtual hosting

Last week I decided that I should check out KVM as an alternative to VMWare’s Vsphere ESX for my home lab.

ESX worked fine-ish – relatively easy to setup and well documented online – but their update process left something to be desire. Plus – they’ve been phasing out old hardware (shocker, when your parent company is one of the world’s largest server manufactures, maybe you don’t want to support anything that’s getting a little long in the tooth) which is the whole point behind a home lab.

So – here’s documenting some things that I’ve been figuring out in the last few days:

  1. Installing KVM is easy.
  2. Migrating works great with Ubuntu. (only thing I had to fix was network interface names). Centos – not so much (can’t find disk volumes, etc). Since Centos has that whole big policy change, I’ve been meaning to migrate to something else anyways so not a big deal.
  3. Windows is quite a beast. You need to install a bunch of vert-io drivers, and if you remove the random “EvTouch USB Graphics Tablet” device, your mouse will stop working properly.
  4. You can get a simple web GUI with cockpit-machines
  5. If you want to troubleshoot something like “why is my windows vm crashing whenever I run blueiris” – you’ll probably want to enable a remote xserver connection so you can use virt-manager and really get into all the options with a GUI instead of trying to google different types of CPU options for a day like I did.
  6. At the end of it all, you’ll figure out that has nothing to do with why BlueIris kept crashing, and you instead need to
echo "options kvm ignore_msrs=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm.conf

to fix the issue.

More to come!

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