I'm considering replacing several existing Intel Mac Mini servers with a single Apple Mac Studio running each server as its own VM. Each VM would also be running macOS, with FileMaker and Apache services.
My question is, what's the best software to set up & run these VMs?
Parallels - seems to have the most robust support for VMs on Apple Silicon
VMWare Fusion - just came out with beta support for Apple Silicon
VMWare Fusion does not yet support macOS VMs on M1 silicon, so that's out of the running for me.
Parallels does support macOS VMs on M1, but the support is quite limited (for example, to adjust the VM settings, you have to edit a text configuration file, and there's no drag & drop file sharing...)
In my case, I need VM software to run Windows. Thus, until there are VMs capable of running Windows on Apple silicon, I have to stick with Mac/Intel. I've read that it's Microsoft's fault for not licensing whatever is needed, but the bottom line is it doesn't really matter if it doesn't run...
Last I checked (about a year ago) an Apple license restriction was that VMs, MacOS must run on Apple Hardware (hackintosh's violates the EULA). Also only 2 additional copies of MacOS may be virtualized, and only for 4 specific use cases; (a) software development; (b) testing during software development; (c) using macOS Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use.
IMHO, a more reliable scenario might be
using multiple M1 minis plus something like 360Works MirrorSync or Linear-Blue's SyncServerPro. Both provide warm failover, and no license issues, along with redundant hardware.
FWIIW, FileMaker seems to run considerably faster in docker than in a VM ( as does many things). Fabrice over at One-More-Thing offers FMS Linux hosting using Docker.
Running my dev server there now and adding a couple clients in the next couple weeks. Performance has been great but not done much load testing yet.
I've been using Proxmox for about 2 years. I have all OS virtualized.
The recent FMS for Ubuntu 20 is by far the best server platform for FileMaker. Significantly more responsive and stable. The ability to clone, backup and restore the VM offers a great level of flexibility and redundancy.
The moment that you try to run a third macOS guest, the Virtualization framework returns an error and fails to start it, with a VZErrorDomain Code of 6, interpreted as “The maximum supported number of active virtual machines has been reached.”
You used to be able to use a single FMP license on the same hardware, for MacOS and a VM of Windows. I'd dev on Mac and test of Windows on the same hardware. It worked out well, as the majority of deployments were on Windows, and the development tools are far better on MacOS for FM. Compounded with the brain-dead font rendering screen model on Windows, every UI element needed to be tested on Windows even when they looked perfect on MacOS.
A few revisions back (FM17?), the license would no longer work in the above scenario. I can't confirm this anymore, as I've moved to a partner development license, so 2 seats are no longer a restriction.