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Virtualize Vail in Windows 7


Glavian
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Just want to throw this question out there....a lot of people have been looking at virtualizing windows 7 inside of a Vail install just to get the Media Center functionality. WeGotServed even did a several part feature covering this very topic. With the iSCSI Support in VAIL has any one considered the following configuration...

 

Main System consisting of Windows 7 Professional

Virtualize WHSv2 (Vail) in Windows 7 (using VMWare, VirtualPC, VirtualBox, etc.)

Second Storage system running software like OpenFiler to make each disk available as an iSCSI device that could then be added into Vail as a regular drive and made apart of the storage pool.

 

What what I can figure, this should give the reliability of a Windows Home Server, and the functionality of Windows Media Center (Best of both worlds kinda thing!)

 

I'm considering testing out such a solution but I was wondering if anyone had tried this already and if so what the results were.

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I've always felt like such a setup undercuts the reliability of WHS. Between addins and other media software I might want to install on the Windows 7 host, the iSCSI software and whatever virtualization platform I use to run WHS, there's all kinds of things that can go wrong. I would love Media Center like functionality built-into WHS, but in the meantime, I'm happy having two systems.

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Guest no-control

Not exactly but I think running Hyper-V server on baremetal then run 2 VMs - 1 WHS 1 W7. is easier and with less overhead. I'm actually running WS08R2 with thew Hyper V role and have 2 VM's Vail and W7 for this very purpose.

 

TBH I didn't read the article yet

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I plan on doing some experimentation of a virtualized Vail build running from physical disks and also iSCSI storage targets. If you're curious, I can post the results once I'm done (might be a while though).

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I'm with nocontrol on this issue. If you can get a copy of VM Ware ESX Server, that is really the way to go with "virtually" no resources being eaten up by the host. I've not yet played with Hyper V but the concept of a small footprint host appeals to me.

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I'm with nocontrol on this issue. If you can get a copy of VM Ware ESX Server, that is really the way to go with "virtually" no resources being eaten up by the host. I've not yet played with Hyper V but the concept of a small footprint host appeals to me.

 

 

Yeah I can see how that would be a benefit, but what would the performance of Media Center be in a virtual environment? The other thing to consider is weather Tuners can work through the virtual layer (my experience is they don't) so that would have to factor into the approach that is taken.

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Media Center should not be an issue and I don't use a tuner as of yet (all my TV shows are downloads) but I would think a configurable switch would have not issue routing the tuner to the correct IP of the "HTPC". At this point it gets way beyond the "wife acceptance" factor as trouble shooting is non-existent and that could be the deal breaker.

 

Another option would be to have a smaller seldom used physical box connected to the tuner and sync back and forth to the database for the HTPC with Media Center.

 

Pass the tylenol.

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Guest no-control

You need to use Hyper-V not ESXi. Only (AFAIK) Hyper-V will allow you to pass through the drives directly to the VM and not have to create a .vhd volume. Otherwise your pretty much killing the point of using WHS. Unfortunately Hyper-V doesn't support PCI pass through so no tuner support. The SiliconDust HDHR solves this problem as it is network based. ESXi will pass the tuner through but again only supports virtual drives. You could try the VM using a iSCSI target but at this point wouldn't it be easier just to run 2 boxes?

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VMWare Server 1.x also supports pass-through drives. I've actually run a virtualized homeserver in this configuration before for a few months. I didn't really notice a difference between the pass-through disks and vhds, performance wise.

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