Mike McKee's picture

My client needs an affordable Windows test platform that hosts 3 virtual machines in it: XP, Vista, and Windows 7. They need to be able to install some custom software that they produced. They need to be able to install and uninstall this custom software for testing purposes, as well as reboot the virtual machine for each operating system. Among my client and I, we need to connect from Ubuntu Linux, Windows 7, and the latest Mac OSX. Therefore, a Terminal Services connection works best because my client and I have free RDP protocol clients installed.

What is the cheapest solution out there that we can purchase where we install like an appliance that serves this up to us? My client doesn't mind spending like $6000 USD up front, but they'd like to keep it down to around $150 USD/month after that.

Andy's picture


why not have a look at the HP Microserver. Add a RAID controller and HDDs and install a hypervisor like the free version of ESXi on an usb key.


If good performance is a prerequisite then a bigger server would be a better choice but for testing or small offices the Microserver is perfect.

Jeremy Davis's picture

But perhaps you could just repurpose some old hardware? Even an old desktop? Anything multicore built within the last few years would probably be more than adequite for what you are proposing (although you may need to boost the RAM - 8GB is probably a good place to start IMO).

As for OS, I'd definately go for ProxmoxVE rather than ESXi. Why used a crippled proprietry OS when you can have a fully fledged Enterprise grade open source hypervisor for free?! :)

I currently have 2 Proxmox setups running - both on old desktops, one of which hosts a Win 2k3 Domain server (servicing 6+ workstations) and 2 WinXP VMs. The only issue I have is under very heavy I/O (which I would think wouldn't be an issue for you with only 3 test OS VMs installed). One of the (many) great things about Proxmox is that you can download and install TKL VMs (in the low resource footprint OVZ format) direct from the WebUI!

Mike McKee's picture

Thanks Jeremy and Andy. I am passing on this info to my client. It's too bad there's no appliance server pre-built for this that we can purchase and get installed in a colocation center.

PHP Freelancer - http://volomike.com/

Jeremy Davis's picture

Then it may be worth speaking to them. Perhaps that's something they'd look at? (Or perhaps even have already?) Perhaps you could ask them and/or 3rd patries via their forums OR mailing list. FYI here is their main website.

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