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Leaving VMware? Consider these 5 FOSS hypervisors • The Register

Comment Last month we shared four VMware ESXi alternatives for enterprises hedging their bets over Broadcom’s impending takeover of the virtualization giant.

You can find those suggestions and all your comments right here.

But for small to midsized businesses looking for an escape from VMware’s stranglehold on virtualization, you may find your next hypervisor is of the free and open source (FOSS) variety. Lord knows you gave us enough recommendations.

While ESXi has long been the obvious choice for virtualization in large enterprise datacenters, VMware’s dominance in the virtualization market means companies of all sizes have all-but standardized on the platform – regardless of whether they’re running a single server in their network closet, a few racks in a colo, or a full-fat datacenter.

Given the uncertainty as to how Broadcom’s now uncontested takeover of VMware will play out, it might be time to consider your alternatives – just in case. The good news is, when it comes to FOSS hypervisors, users are spoiled for choice. Many offer surprisingly good feature parity and enterprise support contracts to boot.

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and not all of these can or will replace ESXi for everyone. Let us know via email or the comments if there any others you’d like to recommend, and we’ll share those, too.

1. Proxmox Virtualization Environment

Admired by home lab builders and SMBs alike, Proxmox is based on Debian Linux and offers support for both the kernel virtual machine (KVM) framework as well as the Linux Container (LXC) runtime.

The type-1 hypervisor supports most x86 hardware from either AMD or Intel and provides a single dashboard for managing hosts, clusters, VMs and containers.

The platform has evolved steadily since its introduction in 2008 to include support for a bevy of enterprise features, including high-availability clusters and live VM migration between hosts. Proxmox also supports storage systems like local volume management, ZFS, and Ceph.

Proxmox will also run on just about any system with at least 1GB of RAM. However, users coming from VMware’s ESXi may run into platform limitations on hosts equipped with more than 12TB of memory or more than 768 CPU threads. If you fall into this category, drop me a line – I have questions. And while there isn’t a hard cap on the number of hosts per cluster, many recommend against clusters larger than 32.

Proxmox VE is available at no cost under a standard GNU license, regardless of whether it’s deployed for personal or enterprise use. For organizations that want or require a support package, Proxmox Server Solutions – the company behind the the FOSS hypervisor – offers paid licenses on a per-socket basis that unlock access to the enterprise software updates and premium support.

2. XCP-ng and Xen Orchestra

For fans of the Xen virtualization stack, XCP-ng is another popular open-source hypervisor.

While a relatively new entrant into the hypervisor arena, XCP-ng’s roots actually stretch back to formation of the XCP project in 2010, which sought to provide an open source version of Citrix’s XenServer.

XCP-ng was launched in 2018, after Citrix stopped providing XenServer under a free and open source license and rebranded to Citrix Hypervisor.

It is compatible with most x86 systems using AMD or Intel CPUs and at least 2GB of memory. However, the platform is reportedly limited to 5TB of memory and 288 logical cores supported on each host.

Much like ESXi and vSphere, XCP-ng is only part of the what’s needed to run a datacenter and is responsible for virtualization on each of the hosts. The actual management console is provided by running something like Xen Orchestra in a VM. This approach enables users to manage large numbers of hosts from a single interface.

It should be noted that XCP-ng, unlike Proxmox, doesn’t support containerized workloads natively.

Paid support options are also available for XCP-ng starting at $600 per-host.

3. OpenNebula

Another reader favorite is OpenNebula which provides a cloud-like web interface for managing virtualized and container workloads.

OpenNebula differs somewhat from other hypervisors on this list, because the platform is actually a management plane. You can think of it sort of like a vendor-agnostic take on VMware’s vSphere. This means that unlike Proxmox or other hypervisors on this this list, you can’t just start spinning up new VMs right out of the gate. Users first need to configure their virtualization hosts. Thankfully, this is a relatively painless process, especially for KVM virtualization.

The platform isn’t limited to KVM either, and supports VMware vSphere, LXC/LXD containers, or Firecracker microVMs. Additional virtualization, bare metal, or container services – including Equinix Baremetal, AWS EC2, or Kubernetes clusters – can also be added via optional plug-ins.

Beyond virtualization, OpenNebula also supports a variety of storage frameworks including Ceph and LVM.

OpenNebula Community Edition is available at no cost under the Apache 2.0 license. As with other virtualization stacks on this list, paid support options are available including several through managed service providers.

4. SUSE Harvester

A relative newcomer to the virtualization game, SUSE is best known for its enterprise Linux operating system. However, the company recently launched its open source Harvester hyperconverged infrastructure platform.

SUSE bills Harvester as a means to manage and consolidate virtual machine workloads alongside Kubernetes clusters from a single unified dashboard. When paired with Rancher, the platform can even automate the deployment of VMs for new Kubernetes clusters.

Harvester is based on Linux and uses the Kubernetes Kubevirt virtualization stack as opposed to KVM or Xen, and the storage system is built on top of the Longhorn block-storage framework.

Compared to Proxmox or XCP-ng, Harvester is not a lightweight hypervisor. The minimum specifications call for an eight-core processor, 32GB of memory, and 140GB of SSD or NVMe storage. What’s more, Harvester is specifically designed to be deployed in a clustered environment – meaning you’ll want to have at least three machines to get started.

Because Harvester is still relatively new — the 1.0 release only hit late last year — some users may find features lacking or outright missing from the web GUI.

Harvester is offered at no cost under an Apache 2.0 license. For users that want or need additional support, SUSE does offer a subscription support service, but doesn’t publicly disclose pricing.

5. Oracle VM VirtualBox

It’s hard to talk about free and open source virtualization without at least mentioning Oracle — previously Sun — VirtualBox.

For many, including myself, the cross-platform hypervisor was our first introduction to desktop virtualization, and it remains a viable alternative to closed-source desktop hypervisors like VMware Workstation and Fusion, Parallels, or Microsoft’s Hyper-V.

VirtualBox runs on just about any host operating system you can imagine, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and Solaris hosts, and supports an even broader range of guest operating systems.

The base package is available under GNU version 2 license. However not all functionality is open source – many features, like USB 2.0 and 3.0 support, require a separate plug-in available under a personal use and evaluation license from Oracle.

Customers who wish to deploy the VirtualBox expansion pack in a commercial environment can purchase an enterprise license from Oracle for $50 per user. But it should be noted that Oracle requires a minimum order of 100.

A word on support

Regardless of which hypervisor you opt for, getting a support contract from any of the aforementioned vendors may not be the end of the story.

Customers should take steps to validate that their chosen platform actually meets their needs – whether that’s support for a specific storage framework, cluster size, or some other obscure detail critical to your business operations.

Thankfully, because these these are all free and open source, it’s not all that difficult to spin up a proof concept on spare server, or even in your existing virtualization stack — just don’t forget to enable nested virtualization in the VM settings.

You should also ensure your IT staff or MSP partners are prepared to support your chosen platform. Many vendors offer training in addition to support contracts.

Finally, software compatibility isn’t guaranteed. And even if you can get your workloads running on a competing hypervisor, FOSS or otherwise, that doesn’t mean the software vendor will support that use case.

For example, if a customer has deployed SAP HANA on ESXi and they want to make the switch to another hypervisor, they may find that SAP is unwilling to provide support when its software is running on an unvalidated platform.

While FOSS hypervisors won’t replace ESXi for everyone, those willing to take a chance may be surprised to discover just how few compromises they have to make. ®

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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