Small installations, rPi vs PC-based VM server?

Discussion in 'Virtualized Computing' started by iroc409, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. iroc409

    iroc409 [H]ard|Gawd

    Jun 17, 2006
    For smaller lightweight services do you prefer to run a lightweight PC-based system running a hypervisor of choice, or is it just as reliable or efficient to run the services on a rPi? I would consider mostly a batch of small production network services.

    I've gone both ways and I'm having trouble deciding which makes more sense. The rPi footprint is certainly appealing, but Proxmox has been pretty solid for me and I could consider virtualizing the router.
  2. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

    Dec 1, 2011
    For actually running a hypervisor, I think I'd rather go with a x86 platform. The apps/tools (e.g., Proxmox, VMware, KVM) are more flexible and mature, there's fewer problems with compatibility (e.g., docker containers not compiled for ARM), and the hardware is just generally more powerful.

    If all you wanted was a basic system that could run pretty much any service/daemon needed for home or a similar environment, then a RPi would be more than sufficient.

    FWIW, for home I'm currently running Proxmox on a ~5-6 year-old Xeon 4-core. Works really well. About the only negative I can think of is there's no native Docker support (been using LXC containers for most services), but it would be easy enough to just fire up a VM with the needed support.
  3. Eulogy

    Eulogy 2[H]4U

    Nov 9, 2005
    Depends on the requirements. Most things I run in containers - VMs are too bloated and resource hungry.
    For my edge router, I use a PCEngines box. I don't want my WAN traffic to hit the same physical gear as my other devices. It's mostly safe with passthrough, but, not entirely.

    For IoT things like my 3DPrinter (OctoPi), home automation (HASS), things like that, are raspberry Pis.

    Right tool for the right job.
  4. kdh

    kdh Gawd

    Mar 16, 2005
    a lot of really great responses in here. A lot of it comes down to personal preference, budget, and how much you want to tinker with it. There is definitely something sexy(in my mind anyway) about having a few rpis setup and doing simple low and slow services. Let them handle the those work loads and allow your main machine machine to do its thing. But there is also something to be said about running a hypervisor and making it all virtual. A lot comes down to manageability. If you have a farm of rpis, you have to make sure you patch them, and maintain them all while making sure they have power, and all the other odds and ends. If one of them dies, that service hosting it dies. =( You may run into potential packages you want to run not compiled for your rpi. If you virtulize it, you really only have 1 physical machine to mess with, but you have to maintain a bunch of vms. However, you have the ability to easily move those VMs to other physical machines down the road. But now, all your eggs and one basket. If that box dies.. You're really screwed. I've thought a lot about what your trying to do, and for me it comes down to.. How much do I wanna mess with it daily, how critical to me are these services, is there compromises in my goals and how easy is this thing to maintain long term? Maybe painful, but try and do both for a little while until you settle on what works best for you.