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What do people use VMs for?

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I'm confused about the purpose of VMs.... on my linux box I use VMs to load other operating systems... but I am confused as to the point of this on my server. Literally everything I have wanted to install has had a docker thing for it so far and in my, admittedly minimal experience, they seem to use a lot less hdrive space and resources to run.


So I was wondering what people use VMs for in Unraid?

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Here's my everyday usage.

1. Hardware passthrough home theatre and entertainment. I have a vm that uses the projector and surround sound, another that is connected to a hdmi over cat5 splitter that feeds 4 tv's around the house. Both those vm's are linux mint cinnamon.

2. Persistent desktop. I have a several remote only vm's in various flavours for different purposes, a windows vm for stuff that isn't linux friendly, a bare debian with search tools and vpn only connections, an android for experimenting, a daily driver mint desktop, several others that I don't keep running, just fire up when needed.

3. pfSense router. For advanced users only, having a VM for your main router means you have as much horsepower as you need to keep a fully encrypted gigabit WAN connection running wide open. You still have to keep a backup router up to date when you have to take down your server, but for day to day, it's nice having a way overpowered router. 

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32 minutes ago, questionbot said:

My server is headless and sitting in he basement...

So is mine. The passed through video cards have HDMI to cat5 extenders linking to the endpoints.


The rest of the VM's are accessed through nomachine, vnc, or rdp.

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Interesting... my son said I could run a windows, run steam and then use the steam "game casting" to play on other machines in house... I could also install windows, 3dsMax and use it as a render node when idle....


I didn't think of remote desktops.... I spend a lot of time distro hopping. Void Linux is my newest interest.


Thanks man... I didn't really understand how a VM could be used...

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Many people use unraid on their main PC and may have multiple VM's to use. E.g. with the same hardware you can use OSX, different Windows versions, Linux etc. and hop between them quickly. with many core processors becoming common, plenty of headroom to run unraid and all the dockers in the back ground then game, work, etc on VM's which are then not cluttered by 100 apps.


My server is remote, I use parsec (a casting app) to steam games to a low powered laptop for the kids.

Another VM streams my games to the shed or wherever I am with some low powered hardware.... celeron J1900 in a NUC type device works fine as a client.

I also have a finances VM which I use for my banking  etc. and it never does anything else.

I also have a sacrifical VM or two which I'll use to open and scan files from torrents or trying to find files, drivers etc. from those sites that are deliberately obtuse. 

Then there are mutiple VM's for distros I've tested etc.


While all these could be on my local machine, having them on server means I can access them from any PC in the house or even remote in via VPN when I'm away from home. 


I agree that docker elimates a lot of VM's, but VM's are what made me upgrade from a more basic file server to something with more power.


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