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Daniel Nashed


Quick look into SUSE Harvester

Daniel Nashed  30 March 2024 10:57:34

Now that admins are looking for alternate solutions, I took a quick look at SUSE Harvester.
A new Kubernetes based platform which leverages Linux native kernel virtualization (KVM) to run VMs in a cluster.

Harvester is "Cloud-Native Hyperconverged Infrastructure" available for free.
"Designed to help operators consolidate and simplify their virtual machine workloads alongside Kubernetes clusters, Harvester is the next generation of open-source hyperconverged infrastructure solution designed for modern cloud-native environments."

For details see

Multiple admins pointed me to this solution in my blog and Discord. So I had a quick look.
The installation is a piece of cake -- if you have sufficient resources.

Minimum system requirements

The minimum requirements are 32 GB RAM, 8 CPU cores and 250 GB disk -- and they really mean it!
I set it up on my Proxmox host with 4 CPU cores and 20 GB RAM.

RAM wasn't an issue, but already in idle without any VMs running my CPUs are 40% busy!
Most RAM was still used for file system cache. So there wasn't a high use by Harvester.
But the Kubernetes back end needed quite some CPU resources.

This isn't new to me. Other platforms like Redhat OpenShift have similar behavior.
The management of the environment for flexibility, scaling and high availability in a cluster, has it's costs.
And this wasn't even a cluster with multiple hosts..

Setting it up and managing VMs

Installation was fully automatic and after a while and some 100% CPU load of my 4 CPU cores, I had my SUSE Havester server.
The interface really reminds we on the Rancher server -- which isn't a coincident nor surprise.

I just installed a mini VM using Alpine Linux as you can see below.

The whole experiment took me just an hour end to end. So getting it up and using it is quite simple.


SUSE Harvester really looks like a solid product, which might be a good option for the enterprise business.
But it's not a platform I want to run at home in my environment.

Other platforms like Proxmox are much more resource efficient and provide a lot more VM capabilities.
I don't see that this can replace ESXi installations at home.

My new favorite platform at home is and stays Proxmox.

Harverster VM's console

Image:Quick look into SUSE Harvester

Harvester Web  interface

The web interface pretty much looks like the Rancher interface.

Image:Quick look into SUSE Harvester

Havester CPU load on my Proxmox server

You can see that I got round 40% of CPU load on my 4 CPU cores even in idle.

There was nothing else running on the Proxmox host at the same time.
And you can see when I stopped the Harvester VM, the CPU dropped.

Image:Quick look into SUSE Harvester

Havester VM Top

A quick look into top on the Harvester host shows what keeps it busy.

Image:Quick look into SUSE Harvester

Alpine VM Top

Top in the Alpine Linux VM shows almost zero load.
So the VM isn't keeping the machine busy at all.

Image:Quick look into SUSE Harvester


1John Detterline  02.04.2024 12:09:26  Quick look into SUSE Harvester

I have been working with Harvester recently in order to get more comfortable with MEAN stack deployment operations as my current contract is migrating Domino applications to OpenShift. I don't think their intent with Harvester was to create a "low end" hypervisor to compete with ESXi or Proxmox, just to make something they could use without needing an external HV. The system requirements are hefty, but I'm thinking their goal was to have something that can handle heavy workloads right out of the box, not people like us playing with home labs. I think Harvester would probably outshine Proxmox in cases where you're focused on containerized applications. The integration with Rancher and being able to have rancher spin up new HA clusters from one page without needing Ansible is pretty cool. I would recommend Proxmox over Harvester for homelab stuff, but if you're looking at possibly integrating MEAN stack apps with DominoAPI in a production environment in the long run, I'd suggest going with Harvester.



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