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This question comes to mind because we are tinkering with the idea of going VM with some of our servers. KVM is a bit involved, VMWare acts like they want to be a free product, and Microsoft is just out of the question when it comes to virtualization. However, the machine is going to remote location with electrical issues long enough to surpass the capability of our UPS units.

In short, I want to be able to make phone call and tell somebody to push the power button back on and have services running again on the guest machine without have to talk somebody through logging on (which ivolves giving user name and pw to the machine) and starting the virtual machine. Is this possible?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes. VirtualBox comes with command line tools (especially VBManage), and has good support for headless operation.

I would say that VirtualBox is a reasonable choice if you're looking for basic features, reasonable ease of use and no licensing costs. If you want fancy failover, consider VMWare's more expensive editions.

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Thought I would post my research and what worked for me.

I ended up adding a small script in the /etc/init.d directory called custom added the line sudo VBoxHeadless --startvm <vm name>. Using Ubuntu's "Startup Applications" only works once you login.

An additional note, it was a bit of a trick getting the remote access server to work on VirtualBox. Turns out the extension pack needs to be installed if you want to get direct access and runs on the default port of 3389. I couln't get UltraVNC to connect, but Microsoft Remote Desktop would oddly enough.

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