Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.
Buying anything on Amazon? Please use the Geekzone Amazon aff link.




2118 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 370

Subscriber

Topic # 100861 19-Apr-2012 21:37 Send private message

Background: In my home LAN I have pfsense, freenas, asterisk and a HTPC all on their own box. The first 3 are on really old junk yard PCs and the HTPC is a pretty much brand new i3 machine with a flash graphics card and all that jazz.

Question: I can't help but think I can run my entire setup a hell of lot more efficiently if everything was centralised on a main server. I don't know the first thing about virtualising stuff so thought I would ask here.
I have had a quick look around and found the MSI P67A-GD65. It has heaps of SATA ports, enough PCI slots and best of all it's cheap!! With that I was thinking a ~3GHz Core i5, fill up the RAM with 4gb sticks and then chuck in all my PCI cards.
This is where I started wondering... is an i5 going to have enough grunt to run 3 lightweight OS's plus XBMC to be the HTPC? Would it be better to just run pfsense, freenas and asterisk on the central server and keep the HTPC as it is? And if I just run the 3 lightweights could I get away with a lighter (cheaper) processor?
The other I guess I should ask is if I put the graphics card in can I make it only available to the XBMC part of the machine?.... I think I know that you probably can but again, total noob here.
Oh and I was going to use vSphere Hypervisor for virtualising because it's free lol.

Create new topic
2107 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 126

Trusted

  Reply # 612230 20-Apr-2012 07:30 Send private message

I've kept my HTPC as a separate box as it's got tuners etc, so you tend to need the hardware space.  Although I could run it as a server (with something else as a client) and use it for a virtual server, but hey.

Then I have another box (home server in my sig) that runs vmware server 2.1 and it runs W7, windows 2003 x 2 copies and a linux machine.  They can tend to bog each other down if ones is doing something intensive, but generally they work really well.

My primary desktop is that w7 instance and i have a work laptop that i rdp into the server or and of the vms.

Means for the price of 1 (well 2 machines) I can have 6 running, and I have a couple of other VM instances on the server but not running all the time.






Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

UnblockUS - Unblock your freedom



2118 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 370

Subscriber

  Reply # 612247 20-Apr-2012 08:31 Send private message

What sort of hardware is that server running? processor and ram is what im worried about mainly.

2107 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 126

Trusted

  Reply # 612249 20-Apr-2012 08:33 Send private message

chevrolux: What sort of hardware is that server running? processor and ram is what im worried about mainly.


An AM2 AMD 5000 Dual Core CPU and 8Gb or ram.

If I was replacing it I'd go to an FM1 fx6100 or maybe an intel.  And up the ram.  but I've had the cpu/mobo/ram for about 2 years now.




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

UnblockUS - Unblock your freedom

979 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 352


  Reply # 612261 20-Apr-2012 08:54 Send private message

In short:

If it needs custom PCI Hardware (tuner, analog phone card) or direct attached gear don't bother. While there is USB passthrough and the like you are setting yourself up for pain. Anything that requires 3D/Cuda/Hardware acceleration (e.g. HTPC) will not do well in a VM. Again, technically possible but ugly.

As stated keep your HTPC separate. Don't know what hardware your asterisk box uses but might be a no-go too.

If it's a standard PC/Server with some networking - go for it.

i5 will be fine for a few PCs and as much RAM as you can put in it cheaply. Remember to enable Virtualization extensions in the BIOS.

If you are doing firewalling then you will need to have dedicated NICs for your firewall interfaces. 

When setting up your networking you can bridge (basically attach a virtual NIC to a physical one) do NAT (like your router does) or do Host-Only (only communicate with the host).

Bridging is the easiest and simplest to understand, but if you firewalling it will play havoc with comms to the host itself, hence having dedicated NICs for your firewall interfaces.

At the software side your options for Virtualisation on top of Windows are:

VMWare Server (free)
VirtualBox (free)

Both are pretty similar. I have used both and they are both good. Prefer VirtualBox as VMWare Server has a horrible Tomcat Web Server for admin while VirtualBox has a nice app.





7325 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 566

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 612285 20-Apr-2012 09:45 Send private message

The i5 is a pretty fast processor, it'd be hard to max it out without doing image processing or video functions. Three OS's doing regular stuff at the same time should be no issue.

I've heard it said many times that RAM is the main limiting factor for VMs. Go with 16GB if you can swing it. RAM's cheap.




Amazon & TOGAF certified solution architect
Professional photographer

gjm

678 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 73


  Reply # 612310 20-Apr-2012 10:50 Send private message

the main problem I have with my VM environment is disk speed. If you can afford the space I would recommend getting an SSD. RAM is the next most important to me however my box is maxed out at 16 gig so cant do much about that. Processor is last and is seldom busy doing much. If I had the coin I would get a seperate iSCSI NAS and run my VM's off that




[Amstrad CPC 6128: 128k Memory: 3 inch floppy drive: Colour Screen]



2118 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 370

Subscriber

  Reply # 612355 20-Apr-2012 12:44 Send private message

Awesome. This is sort of what I was expecting to hear.

The HTPC can stay how it is - mum & dad will have to buy their own lol. The only special thing in mine is the graphics card. MySky does a good enough job of recording TV for me lol.

I was going to use the two NIC's I have in the pfsense box in the new server so I can have it like I do now with a WAN & LAN. And then use the NIC on the motherboard to provide LAN to the other virtual machines. Is that the simplest way?

I don't have any special hardware in the Asterisk box so it should be good to go. It only has a maximum of 6 IP phones connected at any one time. Normally has only 3.

Definately will go for 16GB. Only 30 bucks for a 4gb stick so might as well.

And if people like the i5 then I will go for that as it is quite cheap and the only difference between that and the i7 is multithreading in the i7 the way I figure. Is that right?

Oh and for HDD's. I was planning on a cheap 60GB-ish SSD and divide it up for the OS's.

7325 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 566

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 612356 20-Apr-2012 12:53 Send private message

The only time the i7 pulls significantly ahead of the i5 is for really well written multithreaded software like media encoding. For regular office and day to day stuff it makes only a small difference.

Even with Adobe Bridge processing RAW files to Jpeg when I turn hyperthreading off it makes little difference. In Lightroom if you do parallel exports it can use more cores.

Short answer: get the i5.




Amazon & TOGAF certified solution architect
Professional photographer

Create new topic




Twitter »
Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





Trending now »

Hot discussions in our forums right now:

Do I have the right to return this?
Created by corksta, last reply by sdavisnz on 20-Dec-2014 22:18 (40 replies)
Pages... 2 3


Police Camera Van Disguise
Created by Reanalyse, last reply by TLD on 20-Dec-2014 23:50 (61 replies)
Pages... 3 4 5


Has Spark (Telecom) locked their iphone 6 ?
Created by anewguy2014, last reply by michaelmurfy on 17-Dec-2014 14:32 (25 replies)
Pages... 2


In defence of cats
Created by Rikkitic, last reply by DarthKermit on 17-Dec-2014 15:40 (68 replies)
Pages... 3 4 5


Slaughter of Innocents
Created by networkn, last reply by networkn on 19-Dec-2014 17:46 (64 replies)
Pages... 3 4 5


Can someone explain Chromecast to me
Created by Rikkitic, last reply by robjg63 on 20-Dec-2014 22:43 (19 replies)
Pages... 2


Spray Foam Insulation
Created by AACTech, last reply by timbosan on 19-Dec-2014 16:58 (36 replies)
Pages... 2 3


Why I’m a paid subscriber to geekzone
Created by sdavisnz, last reply by sdavisnz on 20-Dec-2014 23:05 (35 replies)
Pages... 2 3



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.

Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.