Set up your own lab environment with KVM, Qemu, and Libvirt

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Article from Issue 204/2017
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If you don't have room on your desk for a whole laboratory of servers, simply hitch up a virtual playground on your own workstation.

It is better to test any network configuration you will one day have to depend on. If you're lucky, the application you are testing runs as a standalone tool. In the real world, however, you might not be so lucky. For instance, you might need to test a website before you make it live on the Internet, or perhaps you want to experiment with a network backup system before implementing it on your local network.

In the old days, programmers, testers, and documentation specialists often sat with three or four different computers on their desk as they tested various networking scenarios. In today's world, you can model a whole network on one computer using virtualization. Before you gum up your whole network adding a new music server or remote monitoring system, test the configuration on your laptop and work out the kinks.

This article describes how to set up a test network on a Linux portable computer. In this case, the configuration consists of three virtual systems that collect performance metrics, save the information to a database, and provide an interface for visualizing the data. You could easily adapt the techniques described in this article for other applications: file server, media center, web server, or any other networked configuration you need to test.

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