What's your most effective way to run virtual servers with virtualmin and backups?

I plan to upgrade my server to an 8 core 16 thread processor I know nothing huge but its double what I currently run. I am also adding 4x the ram bumping it up to 16GB and running a 2TB NVME. AMD with GPU built in it is fairly low powered all in all and seems to offer a pretty good bang for the buck.

Couple of questions for those who may have had more travel time in Linux than I have had.

What would be the best route to take software wise to run say 4 Virtual Machines from this server? Proxmox, VMware, Docker, Maybe Cloudmin?

What would be the best avenue to backup my current server image so I don’t lose any of my data using Debian 10 so it can run as one of these VM’s?

Currently my image has been backed up bare metal from an old server so I always get errors about the disk UID not matching every time I do updates as well as Grub errors it would be nice not to have to see this although it doesn’t seem to affect anything when making my image.

I am curious on the methods, OS, and software you guys are having luck with or even maybe struggling with I am willing to invest the time but I kind of want to get some feedback from more seasoned users so I can better choose the methods and software to use. I currently have one virtualmin license at the moment for 10 domains I believe but likely only a single server if memory serves me right so I may have to purchase more as needed. Eventually as time goes on I plan to go much bigger like EPYC territory but I just can’t quite justify the expense at the moment.

I’d like to have a rather easy method of backing up my servers incrementally thus I feel the VM type server just makes way more sense to me as time goes on I neglect bare metal backups due to their tedious nature (only doing them bare minimal once a month average). From what I’ve seen in the land of backups VM’s are king.

Would love to hear some thoughts and opinions even if contrarian.

what will be your usage? Its possible that one big monster linux machine will be OK if all you will have are a bunch of Virtualmin virtual servers AND you don’t need different O/S distros.

And its possible having several VMs could force you to consume multiple IP addresses; I am not 100 percent sure of this one though !!

If you neglect bare metal back ups now the last thing you need is another level (hypervisor) you are going to neglect and not back up.

stick to simple.

good advice.
Oh and document thoroughly what you have done in a couple of years time when something goes wrong (which inevitably it will) you or some other newb will not have a clue what is clear to you now.

I would always have backup physically separate from an operational system.
the same goes for data (generally kept separate on dedicated box)

While I understand the neglect and hypervisor etc… Its still a path I wish to take on I suppose I didn’t word my questions right to get answers I left them too open to opinion to get any real sustenance in the form of a real answer I am aware there will be more and new challenges at the end of the day. But there is a positive benefit to VM’s and that is ease of backup to a large degree some may dispute this while I am still under the understanding that bare metal will have to be done on occasion in my circumstance. Its more so from a configuration standpoint lets say I allow other users access to their website and they are new to it and have limited understanding it would be nice to give them a reversion to a period in time where they have not screwed things up without me having to restore the entire server lets say as an instance down the road. This way I can keep downtime to a minimum. As some customers requested such access so I also need to provide another level of separation which would make me a bit more comfortable if it was an all together different server but yet the same server lets say thus it doesn’t cost me a bunch of extra cost in utilities vs putting up more metal.

I do thank everyone for the valuable advice though it has the unintended consequence of not providing any clear answers to the routes being taken.

Maybe there is another concern on going VM that isn’t being shared in light of all of the current exploits on VM based servers?

Never used it but isn’t cloudmin what you are looking for ?

Opinions, thoughts, advice, sharing on what you use software wise, with what os and what vm and possibly why you choose that in a nutshell so I can have a bit of data to base my choices off of. That’s about it maybe its a bit much to ask but worth a shot in hopes I can arrive at my conclusion a bit sooner with a little less reading. And potentially more unbiased information.

Dont take this the wrong way but I’m not sure you know what problem your trying to fix.

You started saying you wanted the ability to back up, this turned into the ability to roll back in time if someone stuffs up etc.

You need to work out what it is you are trying to achieve and under what circumstance.

Do these extra people have access to their own virtual server or yours ? do you want to back up the data or the entire operating system ? do you want to copy just the configs or everything ? Just how do you propose to update the hypervisor when the time comes or you don’t care ?

If its just data and configs you can do that now from VM, You can also take daily data backups and restore them if you need to go back a day or so. If your trying to snap shot a full system then the hypervisor will be the better bet, but as I said adds another layer to the setup …If you think its to much work to restore a VM back up let me know how you go trying to restore a hypervisor failure …


I use VMware ESXi 7 as I have been using VMware for a long time.

While snapshots aren’t a backup they do allow for rollback in case of a problem with updates etc.

As all my VM guests are RHEL I rsynch critical directories each night both local and offsite. I may eventually get to doing full VM backups, but I can reconstruct a server fairly easily if I have to,

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@Randomz has the idea I’m not so much worried about my approach as the data of what others are doing and why when it comes to virtual machines thank you for sharing this is one voice in the hopes others too will share their setups.

@Shirehosting I can’t predict the future with certainty as to where I go from here I am simply in the data gathering stages I believe I’ve outlined enough to say that I want to venture into VM based its not to do with the too much work thing its about more efficient and effective ways of mananging things, power savings, providing a layer of insulation or isolation, it is about making progress and earning and sharing knowledge of things untested or unused to realize the potentials that exist first and foremost.

Question for you why waste time testing and coming to a bunch of conclusions I’d likely arrive at similar to the users using what they use when I can simply ask users what they are using and why what are the advantages and why are they using what they are using as opposed to other methods.

You see this really isn’t a matter of right or wrong its a matter of data to gleen insight a bit quicker than running tests I realize there will be a degree of opinion and potential for advertisement within these opinions as well but I’m willing to accept this as a possible and am fairly good at treading through those weeds.

To be honest there are a couple of things I would like to do better…

Backup and Restoration Automation is one of them this has little to do with the VM some may argue but I gave my reasoning for this like I said in the future I may use a single server to host multiple servers and give people access to a VM server if requested trusted parties I personally know but them not knowing much it would be nice to provide an easy rollback for them should I have to.

Management of time collection of time wasted on menial tasks through automation is not some new phenomena it is something we all do on the daily not only in the digital world but in the physical world as well. It is always something I’m striving towards.

My lack of knowledge and limited experience with VM’s needs to be rectified for my own personal quest for knowledge.

That is just 3 of the many things that I am trying to solve hopefully this clarifies my intent a bit better.

Yes I realize the backups will require a separate course of action most likely.

I guess I just want the data of what people are using and what are the advantages and disadvantages both for VM’s and Backing Up Their Servers to manage time much better without resultant loss of security surely my clonezilla bare metal back process is an antiquated solution although it works there are more proficient ways to backup data this much is evident in going through the process monthly I sit and think there is likely a better way and I have not taken the time to figure it all out quite yet because I’ve been subscribing to if it ain’t broke don’t fix it frame of mind when I really need to snap out of it and opt for a more robust automated variation of backup. As for VM’s like I stated I will use them no matter if they are good or bad for me to gain the experience I’ve toyed with proxmox a little. Didn’t have as much luck with docker and VMWare I believe I used years ago as well just to do testing and try it out a bit but so much seems to have changed with that.

I guess thats about as far as I can go as I said I cannot predict the future and I’m only really interested in the data.
What are you using and why basically for backups and VM’s for proficient and secure management of servers and time spent on doing so?

Ok, now this changes again. If I take it the server you want to virtualise is the one you listed above, give it a miss. You have a single drive that I’m guessing you also will be backing up to. This is asking for trouble one day it will all be gone.

I think you should look at it simply. Use virtualisation if your goal is to save on hardware/costs if this is not your goal don’t. Do not confuse back ups with snap shots.

We run one hypervisor with about 10 servers on it the rest are all bare metal. I don’t like adding an extra layer if I don’t need to and try not to have one point of failure.

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I guess I’m more interested in saving on Electricity Costs rather than hardware costs I would like to limit myself to one server running 24/7 but still kind of the same reason. I only want a single server running. So you use one hypervisor with 10 servers I only plan to run 4 servers same basic principal sorry for the confusion eventually I will run more servers as needed but I will maintain only a single running server and simply upgrade the hardware. At most I may implement one more server as a backup server at most I’d assume. However there is much work to be done for me to implement everything I’d like to do eventually as well as more networking equipment etc… As of right now I run pretty thrifty I’ve cut down massively on the useage of a separate video network with Keyboard and Mouse support. So I can go to any screen on my property and access my personal PC through that network this has been insanely useful. I use a USB switch so I can switch and control different devices via my keyboard and the final element is I hacked a video switch custom hardware hack required some relays some removal of components from the original switch as well as addition of wires to breakout from so I can use my alexa speaker to switch what I am seeing on the screen. So for instance if I want to see my video cameras I can simply say alexa show my security cameras and I can also change the input of my mouse over to the NVR using key press on keyboard. This way I can control anything from any Screen I have located on my property. So I have went through great lengths to save money on electricity and also as I stated save time managing everything. The management aspect is insanely refined from where it once was. Its pretty impressive and something that can’t be purchased. But gives you an idea that I don’t like to waste time or effort where its not required.

I haven’t refined my backup process as of yet I used to have a pretty refined backup process back in the days with my Windows PC so my data wouldn’t get lost using robocopy in windows I had wrote a pretty simple script to keep all of my important files backed up to another drive. But now I got an external raid setup for my personal PC and manually I backup things that are important although I should implement robocopy once again. Which to be honest I dunno if robocopy still exists as an option in windows I havent messed about with scripting for it since windows 7 I believe. 4 iterations ago so its possible that they got rid of robocopy since windows 7 IDK . But with linux I’ve never attempted to do any automated type of backup just bare metal to external via clonezilla I’m certain there are better ways of managing backups on a linux system than clonezilla. This is the only reason why I was curious what backup solutions were used but I will start a different thread to ask about what backup solutions people are using and yes a snapshot I understand that concept is different from a backup of the entire server it only backs up the configuration of the VM at a particular point in time surely something needed and wanted as a feature.