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WHS2011 inside VM on Win7 Home Premium


davidbradway
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I just bought WHS2011 and a WD 2TB EARS drive. I want to add WHS2011 as a virtual OS to my also fairly new WIndows 7 Home Premium desktop computer. I want to use this computer as a media center to play music, ripped DVDs, maybe recorded TV eventually, etc. It has 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD. I currently run a WHSv1 box that has <1TB of stuff on it. I am planning to add the new 2TB drive to the desktop for serving files and storing client backups. When I decommission my v1 box, I will take its 1 and 2TB drives and create two RAID 1 mirrors in the new desktop.

 

So three questions:

1. Which VM software should I use (I am thinking something from VMWare)?

2. How should I organize my drives, OSes, and files (I am thinking of putting both OSes on the 1TB and all media files and backups on 2TB)?

3. How do I back up the VM Host OS desktop (I am thinking of using MS Backup and restore, instead of WHS2011. Otherwise how would you restore?)?

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Guest no-control

So 3 comments before I provide answers

  1. Honestly I wouldn't do this running hypervisor on your primary PC for a production install of WHS2011 isn't going to add any flexibility/usability. It defeats the purpose of a server entirely
  2. How do you plan on providing recovery should the drive go down. Again defeating the point of a server.
  3. Why would you do this?

 

OK so now some answers

  1. I would suggest virtualBox. if you're really going to do this.
  2. Always keep OS separate from the Data. so yes OS and VM on 1 drive, data and backup on the other.
  3. I don't know. You've completely negated the purpose of a server.

My suggestions

  1. Run a proper server(different machine) or use you W7 box as a client/server by using homegroup or sharing the folders/drives
  2. same as above OS on one data on the other
  3. back it all up to the server (if you go that route) otherwise get an external HDD and use a backup utility like acronis or macrium to image the win7 box

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So to explain some things:

I want WHS2011 to backup the two laptops in the house -- and at only $45, it seemed like a good value. But now I don't know if I should use WHS2011 at all -- I could just use two RAID1 mirrors for OS and data in W7. The W7 desktop is a AMD Phentom II and has RAIDXpert software. I still need to figure out backing up the laptops...

 

I want to start using the WMC features of my W7 desktop, and I don't know if want to have two boxes on all the time. Currently, my WHSv1 uses LightsOut and my W7 desktop is set to be woken up and hibernate. My v1 box is only 32-bit, so can't be used with WHS2011.

 

I was hoping to consolidate the two functions into one box, and thought you guys often used virtualization for hosting different machines. Forgive me for being a VM newbie, but is there a difference between running virtualBox as we discussed above and running Server2008R2 with VMs of W7 and WHS2011 (as I think some of the moderators here use)?

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At $45 WHS 2011 is a fantastic value.

 

If you should consider a seperate box for WHS 2011 (as NC suggested) -- for a basic low powered box that you can run 24/7 I'd suggest you consider the HP Microserver which can be had for $305 (I don't know how much longer) at http://homeserversho...-whs-2011-4499/ (understanding you'll have to upgrade the RAM for 2011 as well as install the disks you need)

 

I can't help you with your VM question -- I'm pretty green in that area and currently look upon VM as a testing environment not a production space.

 

Wishing you the best of luck -- keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Guest no-control

We have a number of VM primers that explain the basics in depth on the blog. I suggest checking them out. That being said there are 2 different Hypervisors Type I & II. Type II run like programs inside an OS like VirtualBox running on Windows 7. Type I runs under an OS (aka baremetal) So the Hypervisor creates an environment that guest systems can sit on. Then there's WS2K8R2 with Hyper-V It's a Type I that runs like a Type II on server 08R2.

 

Almost all of us who are using VMs for production are using either 08R2 or are using a type I like xenserver, or ESXi. If you truely want to run it all on one box your best bet is to virtualize everything. Both WHS2011 and W7 on top of a Type I or Hyper-V. This would provide the best flexibility and stability. Unfortunately it also has a steep learning curve. But once you figure it out its pretty satisfying. The other draw back is that depending on what your needs are for desktop computing you may eed to upgrade hardware anyway.

 

If its not something you're willing to invest some time in, I would just build a standalone box. If that's too expensive Macrium can create images for all the your PCs for the cost of an external storage drive.

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Also, the value of whs is that it creates images with history. So you can use an image from any backup to restore from. If you just used a mirror, and you had a file get deleted or go bad (not due to an HDD issue), it would/could do the same on the other drive and thus your mirror has done nothing for you. If you don't use whs, you would be better off using acronis or some other imaging software.

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Okay, so you've talked me out of setting up my production server in VirtualBox.

 

I recently saw Windows 8 will have both Hyper-V http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/07/bringing-hyper-v-to-windows-8.aspx

and Media Center http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/02/reflecting-on-our-first-conversations-part-2.aspx so I may wait and deal with this later.

 

Otherwise I may attempt the WS2K8R2 route if I can virtualize my desktop's W7 image.

 

Finally, I may consider getting the MicroServer box, but I don't know about the WAF of that option.

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