RE: [Vserver] solaris zones vs. vserver

From: Matthew Nuzum <>
Date: Mon 07 Nov 2005 - 15:45:15 GMT
Message-ID: <>

> Given news like
> I'd be interested in an informal comparison of Solaris zones
> and VServer.

We actually discussed this several months ago at length. Check the archives
for the history of that conversation.

In a nutshell, here is my *opinion* [1] on the matter:
The Linux Vserver project and Solaris Containers serve a very similar role.
They both:
 * have little system overhead
 * serve as an excellent way to "partition" a server into logical servers
isolated from each other, especially with the goal of placing applications
meant for different servers onto the same box
 * is great when you want all of the logical servers to run the same
os/kernel [2].

Some people use Linux Vserver as a general purpose "virtual server" solution
allowing them to sell or give a virtual server to customers who want root
access. However, some of the traits needed to market this type of product
are new, immature, or in development, such as quotas, memory limits and cpu
limits. I think Solaris' containers may have a slight advantage if you need
these features.

Some people use Linux Vserver as a way to mirror applications across
physical servers so that downtime can be minimized. I think the Linux
Vserver project has an advantage over Solaris here.

Neither tool will allow you to run completely different operating systems or
kernels. For example, with Solaris, your containers use Solaris. If you have
a box running Linux 2.6.12 then all of your linux vservers on that box use
Linux 2.6.12. The only solution to this is a different tool such as Xen,
UML, VMWare and the like. With those you basically run an entire OS on a
virtual computer, meaning resource utilization is much higher.

[1] I don't use Solaris containers, but I have evaluated them. I also don't
use the most modern release of the Linux Vserver project nor its tools, but
again, I have evaluated them. I do run several physical servers that make
use of the Linux Vserver project and it's tools to run several virtual
[2] You can run different Linux distributions on separate vservers, but they
will all use the same kernel. This can cause difficulty with some newer
linux distributions but largely these can be worked around. Running Fedora
Core 3 vservers on a Fedora Core 3 host, or running Debian vservers on a
Debian host (and etc) seems to work better than, for example, running Fedora
Core 3 vservers on a Debian host. Again, it can be done, it just seems to
take a little extra effort to get things going.

Matthew Nuzum <> - Makers of "Elite Content Management System"
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