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XenServer + UnRaid + WHS


whsdude
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After reading tons of info on virtualization, I think I'm going to try XenServer right out of the gate (thanks, geek-accountant) when the mobo and RAM arrive next week for my new build.

 

UnRaid has me curious as well. My question is this. Is it possible for me to build & config a box with the following:

 

1) XenServer, bare-metal VM platform

2) Unraid as a VM#1, which does the storage

3) WHS v1 as VM#2, which uses the storage set up in in VM#1

4) Win7 as VM#3 perhaps, also using storage in VM#1

 

I apologize if this is dumb question, but I've done very little with VMs and this is pretty much new ground for me. My instincts tell me this might be too tall of an order, but would be really cool if I could get it to work.

 

Rob

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On #3 when you say "uses the storage set up in in VM#1" are you just saying it can see the storage on VM1? If so, then it should. I have been planning the same type of set up.

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Well, I was going to be posting something soon as I have been trying something very similar. I have one Xenserver running pfSense and Untangle as my router and UTM. This server runs rock solid and I never have issues with it. I also have unRaid running as a seperate machine and have slowly been moving most of my files and storage over to this system. The thought was I would convert WHS v1 to run on my second Xenserver and use storage on my unRAID server via a NFS share.

 

However, I have had nothing but trouble and can not get the setup to run without problems (of course this could be due to my limited knowledge of unRAID and Xenserver, or just in general). What is happening is my Xenserver box (second box, not the one running the router) keeps crashing. What ever is going on is causeing the entire server to crash and not just individual VM's.

 

So my plan now, just decided 5 minutes ago while in the shower, is to move my unRAID server on my Norco 4020 like previously planned and have it manage most of my storage (unRAID has been running rock solid and I really like the way it handles storage). Then move my WHS v1 onto the box currently being used by unRAID. WHS will then be demoted to only handling PC backups and remote access and therefore will need much less storage. At first I am not going to run any raid setup on WHS until more is know about Vail and Aurora and I can make longer term decisions.

 

The second Xenserver box will go back to using local storage and hosting test machines as well as a couple other machines I would like to run 24/7.

 

I thought about doing it the way you mentioned, but wasn't sure how unRAID would like having virtual storage. I can't wait to hear how this comes along for you.

 

One more thing, I posted several times on the unRAID forums about the problems I was having and the only respose was something to the effect that what I was trying had not been done before. :o

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On #3 when you say "uses the storage set up in in VM#1" are you just saying it can see the storage on VM1? If so, then it should. I have been planning the same type of set up.

 

 

Yes. Essentially I want to if its possible to have all the non-UnRaid VMs enjoy all the goodness of UnRaid, while running in the same physical box. And if this is possible, are there any pitfalls for doing such a thing?

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Well, I was going to be posting something soon as I have been trying something very similar. I have one Xenserver running pfSense and Untangle as my router and UTM. This server runs rock solid and I never have issues with it. I also have unRaid running as a seperate machine and have slowly been moving most of my files and storage over to this system. The thought was I would convert WHS v1 to run on my second Xenserver and use storage on my unRAID server via a NFS share.

 

However, I have had nothing but trouble and can not get the setup to run without problems (of course this could be due to my limited knowledge of unRAID and Xenserver, or just in general). What is happening is my Xenserver box (second box, not the one running the router) keeps crashing. What ever is going on is causeing the entire server to crash and not just individual VM's.

 

So my plan now, just decided 5 minutes ago while in the shower, is to move my unRAID server on my Norco 4020 like previously planned and have it manage most of my storage (unRAID has been running rock solid and I really like the way it handles storage). Then move my WHS v1 onto the box currently being used by unRAID. WHS will then be demoted to only handling PC backups and remote access and therefore will need much less storage. At first I am not going to run any raid setup on WHS until more is know about Vail and Aurora and I can make longer term decisions.

 

The second Xenserver box will go back to using local storage and hosting test machines as well as a couple other machines I would like to run 24/7.

 

I thought about doing it the way you mentioned, but wasn't sure how unRAID would like having virtual storage. I can't wait to hear how this comes along for you.

 

One more thing, I posted several times on the unRAID forums about the problems I was having and the only respose was something to the effect that what I was trying had not been done before. :o

 

 

Geek-Accountant... Have you ever wondered if deep down, you're really an IT guy trapped in an accountant's body? :) You know more about IT than 90% of IT guys I know!! I'd love to hear a story where you actually fixed a problem at your company that your IT guys couldn't fix. It the SNL IT-guy skit turned on it's head.

 

I digress... I will probably give it a shot and see how it goes. It's January. It's cold.. There's not much else to do, than to try stuff out, right?

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Geek-Accountant... Have you ever wondered if deep down, you're really an IT guy trapped in an accountant's body? :) You know more about IT than 90% of IT guys I know!! I'd love to hear a story where you actually fixed a problem at your company that your IT guys couldn't fix. It the SNL IT-guy skit turned on it's head.

 

I digress... I will probably give it a shot and see how it goes. It's January. It's cold.. There's not much else to do, than to try stuff out, right?

 

 

Thanks whsdude. Ever since my Dad bought our first computer (Tandy 286), I have loved computers. But I have no training from the tech side and while I am OK with some things, I would image the average IT guy has a much better all around knowledge. However, I was the first at m company to run pfSense as a router and the first to create a virtual server or even virtualbox. Now they are looking into creating a virtual server at work.

 

As for accounting, I do love that as well and I am pretty good at it (not the Tax part so much, but the accounting part). Of course one of my favorite things about my accounting job is all the spreadsheets I get to create. I LOVE Excel!!

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A couple more things.

 

I finally got a couple more responses in the unRAID forums. Both of them seem to indicate that my approach had not been tried before, so I am not sure if this will work solid enough to be a good solution.

 

Second, I am now pretty sure I have a hardware issue with the Xenserver machine I have trying this with and it may not be a unRAID NFS issue. I reloaded the Xenserver software, changed out the PS and only started transferring one VM using local storage. The system still crashed. Now it did need to get the backed VM from unRAID using a NFS share, so that could still be the issue. Tomorrow, I plan to pick up a new motherboard and see if the issues continue.

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A couple more things.

 

I finally got a couple more responses in the unRAID forums. Both of them seem to indicate that my approach had not been tried before, so I am not sure if this will work solid enough to be a good solution.

 

Second, I am now pretty sure I have a hardware issue with the Xenserver machine I have trying this with and it may not be a unRAID NFS issue. I reloaded the Xenserver software, changed out the PS and only started transferring one VM using local storage. The system still crashed. Now it did need to get the backed VM from unRAID using a NFS share, so that could still be the issue. Tomorrow, I plan to pick up a new motherboard and see if the issues continue.

 

 

Geek-Accountant-- so would it be safe to say the typical use of Unraid is as a stand-alone, self contained, network-attached storage appliance? And if one has a gigabit network, the speeds should suffice for most of ones storage needs?

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I think that is the case. unRAID seems to be mainly a NAS with raid protection but without many of it's limits (ie, adding drives later and using drives of varying sizes). I actually started using unRAID a while back when my movie collection grew. While I wanted this data protected, using WHS's method of duplication seemed like such a waste of space and therefore, unRAID seemed like the perfect solution.

 

I need to solve the hardware issues I am having before pursuing my plan any further. The idea (unRAID as remote NFS storage for VM's) should work and while I could try it on my other stable Xenserver, that one is not for testing as it runs my router and UTM and nothing else. Hopefully I can make some progress today, although the wife wants me to get all the Christmas stuff put away today. :(

 

O, on the gigabit network question, unRAID does not appear to be as fast as WHS (which actually is pretty good), but I have been able to stream multiple movies from it at the same time without any issues. Of course reading is much faster than writing. If the writing part becomes to slow, you can always add a cache drive.

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I think that is the case. unRAID seems to be mainly a NAS with raid protection but without many of it's limits (ie, adding drives later and using drives of varying sizes). I actually started using unRAID a while back when my movie collection grew. While I wanted this data protected, using WHS's method of duplication seemed like such a waste of space and therefore, unRAID seemed like the perfect solution.

 

I need to solve the hardware issues I am having before pursuing my plan any further. The idea (unRAID as remote NFS storage for VM's) should work and while I could try it on my other stable Xenserver, that one is not for testing as it runs my router and UTM and nothing else. Hopefully I can make some progress today, although the wife wants me to get all the Christmas stuff put away today. :(

 

O, on the gigabit network question, unRAID does not appear to be as fast as WHS (which actually is pretty good), but I have been able to stream multiple movies from it at the same time without any issues. Of course reading is much faster than writing. If the writing part becomes to slow, you can always add a cache drive.

 

My write speeds do matter. I run the SageTV add-in which may record up to 2 concurrent HD tv shows, while streaming another. I wished I would have ordered my gear a week earlier, I could spend this weekend working on it all.

 

Speaking of your VM'd router, I do have a couple questions if you don't mind:

* what does that setup buy you over something like DD-WRT running on and old Linksys WRT54gl (which is what I have)?

* what's the memory footprint?

* how many NICs do I need on the physical box that runs it?

 

thanks.

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