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I've seen several questions regarding administration of virtual machines (VMs) on Stackoverflow. While I'm sure they are off-topic there, I'm hard pressed to decide where they do belong: Super User or Server Fault?

VM technology is so common today that it's easy and simple for many people to set a VM up and run it. I don't feel it's an advanced networking technology anymore. So that would mean "Super User".

That said, it's not really "general computing" either.

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While I'm sure they are off-topic there

The first thing, which I cannot stress enough, are what is considered topical on StackOverflow:

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • practical, answerable problems that are unique to software development

Remember that development tools are perfectly on-topic on SO. If they question relates to, say, debugging in a VM, then it is on-topic on SO. We get far too many migrations from people who don't seem to know that.

The second thing is the general "don't migrate crap" policy - keep in mind that you don't have to migrate, and some questions are better off being closed straight away.


That said, if it is a question about the general usage of a VM, and is good enough to migrate, you may find yourself having to decide whether it belongs on SU or SF. In most cases, general usage would end up on SU.

SF also has a specific line on virtualisation:

  • Business/Enterprise grade virtualization

For what this means, you really should consult their meta, which of course has differing opinions. Generally, you're looking at either bare-metal hypervisors or deployment across many machines - running a single hosted hypervisor VM probably won't be received well.


Of course, there is no public migration path from SO to SF anymore.

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I guess it depends on the scale of the deployment.

  • Is the user asking about an issue with their single Windows 7 VM? Then it belongs on Super User.

  • Is the user asking about an issue with their multi-host vSphere setup? Probably better suited for Server Fault.

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    I've also been told on their chat that anything dealing with "free" VM solutions (specifically, VirtualBox), they will just laugh at and downvote. I wish I had the conversation saved – Canadian Luke Mar 6 '14 at 16:51
  • +1 Thanks for the simple checklist to follow. – Aaron Digulla Mar 7 '14 at 11:23

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