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Does this setup make sense?


brwd09
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I am not sure where I should put this question, so I will put it here. I hope that some of you can give me some answers and/or opinions. I did put this question on another string that I had statred in the V1 area, but did not get a lot of feedback there. I hope that I can get some advice over here.

 

Right now I have 3 5 total computers. One is a desktop (the one I am useing right now) that is a dual core AMD with virtualization built in and 6 gig of ram. I have another machine with an Intel Pentium D that does not have virtualization and 4 gig of ram. I have an Aspire One netbook and an old Pentium 300 (or so) desktop. Lastly, I have a V1 WHS on an Intel Celeron 2.0G with 2 gig of ram. The WHS right now has a 400 gig of HD space. I have a total of under 1TB or data to store on it, but I assume that will grow soon.

 

I was thinking that I would like to create a bare metal virtual server and virtualize my WHS. That will also let me play around with other server builds including Linux. However, XenServer will not install any Windows OS on an AMD sever unless it has virtualization built in. That means I need to make my main desktop machine the server, and the other AMD machine the desktop (hence the hard drive swap). Once I have that built I can install my WHS as a virtual machine (I will need to figure out how to deal with hard drives on the virtual machine).

 

After I move the data from my current WHS I was thinking that I would use that computer to build a storage server. I have 4 2TB SATA drives that I plan to put into a RAID5 array. I bought a Vantec SATA II 150 card to use as the RAID controller. I am debating using FreeNAS or OpenFiler for the storage server. YodaFet suggested OpenFiler to me at the meetup in WI last June. He showed me how to use iSCSI to connect the storage to my various machines. That sounded like what I want to be able to do, and thereby keep all of my data in one common location which I can back up off-site using Crashplan.

 

Lastly, I was thinking that I might try to make a router out of the old Pentium machine.

 

How does this sound? Does it make sense to do this? Or would I be better off making a simple stand alone WHS out of one of the machines, maybe the one that I already have, and not trying to virtualize it (especially since I have never done so before). Also, I do not have enough hardware to make a test machien (eventually that would be done on the virtual server), so I can not try to do it in test before I do it on my production machine.

 

And one last question, should I use the SATA card as the RAID controller or shoudl I use the software as the RAID controller? If I use the card, will I be able to do anythign with it via software, or do would I need to enter the controller during bootup each time I want to do anything with it? If I use the card, what will FreeNAS or OpenFiler see as hard drives:do they see the array as a single volume?

 

I hope this is not too long winded, and I appreciate all of your help. I look forward to your input on this project.

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I am not sure where I should put this question, so I will put it here. I hope that some of you can give me some answers and/or opinions. I did put this question on another string that I had statred in the V1 area, but did not get a lot of feedback there. I hope that I can get some advice over here.

 

Right now I have 3 5 total computers. One is a desktop (the one I am useing right now) that is a dual core AMD with virtualization built in and 6 gig of ram. I have another machine with an Intel Pentium D that does not have virtualization and 4 gig of ram. I have an Aspire One netbook and an old Pentium 300 (or so) desktop. Lastly, I have a V1 WHS on an Intel Celeron 2.0G with 2 gig of ram. The WHS right now has a 400 gig of HD space. I have a total of under 1TB or data to store on it, but I assume that will grow soon.

 

I was thinking that I would like to create a bare metal virtual server and virtualize my WHS. That will also let me play around with other server builds including Linux. However, XenServer will not install any Windows OS on an AMD sever unless it has virtualization built in. That means I need to make my main desktop machine the server, and the other AMD machine the desktop (hence the hard drive swap). Once I have that built I can install my WHS as a virtual machine (I will need to figure out how to deal with hard drives on the virtual machine).

 

After I move the data from my current WHS I was thinking that I would use that computer to build a storage server. I have 4 2TB SATA drives that I plan to put into a RAID5 array. I bought a Vantec SATA II 150 card to use as the RAID controller. I am debating using FreeNAS or OpenFiler for the storage server. YodaFet suggested OpenFiler to me at the meetup in WI last June. He showed me how to use iSCSI to connect the storage to my various machines. That sounded like what I want to be able to do, and thereby keep all of my data in one common location which I can back up off-site using Crashplan.

 

Lastly, I was thinking that I might try to make a router out of the old Pentium machine.

 

How does this sound? Does it make sense to do this? Or would I be better off making a simple stand alone WHS out of one of the machines, maybe the one that I already have, and not trying to virtualize it (especially since I have never done so before). Also, I do not have enough hardware to make a test machien (eventually that would be done on the virtual server), so I can not try to do it in test before I do it on my production machine.

 

And one last question, should I use the SATA card as the RAID controller or shoudl I use the software as the RAID controller? If I use the card, will I be able to do anythign with it via software, or do would I need to enter the controller during bootup each time I want to do anything with it? If I use the card, what will FreeNAS or OpenFiler see as hard drives:do they see the array as a single volume?

 

I hope this is not too long winded, and I appreciate all of your help. I look forward to your input on this project.

 

My two cents. There are bunch of stand alone server such as unraid and the ones you named but why use them if you are going to use WHS anyway. My suggestion is to use the machine you planned on using for a router and make a dedicated WHS 2011. Use the card that your purchased as a raid card and create your RAID 5 array with that. One thing though, is I think the card you bought has a "150" and maybe a Sata 1 not a Sata 2 and if that is the case you may not fully exploit the performance of the RAID. Using a Pentium D as router only benefits the power company. For a router, pick up a used atom system that will support a couple of NICs and you are good to go. Just some thoughts.

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Guest no-control

general rule of thumb when virtualizing is to keep the network on separate metal from the rest of the servers. Like Doc says nothing wrong with running a VM for networking just keep it on a separate a 2nd low power system. I would still run the network box as a Virtual environment though. It makes for easy changes and fixes. It also allows you to monkey with different networking software without destroying your current network. Just flip the switch!

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As NC said.....ideally a three drive setup. One for the main OS, one for virtual machines, and one for data. At least that's what I use.

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Virtual Platforms allow you to create virtual networks also. You could create Class C networks with Ip Ranges 192.168.1.1, 192.168.2.1, and so on for example. Out of the box, VMWare workstation creates 2 virtual networks. A NAT, Bridged, and host only. As long as you can add virtual network adapters (think of these as virtual routers), you can keep building networks.

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Yes, it you want to get very deep into this, you had better have some good organizational skills as these V'NIC's can get out of hand very quickly.

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Guest no-control

@no-control when you say network do you mean firewall/router (e.g. Untangle)? Thanks

 

that has me confused too.

 

Yes anything that provides means for data to move around would be part of the network. So routers, switches, firewalls are all on the networking side. While PFsense, unTangle, smoothwall, etc... are firwalls and routers, so is Windows Server; ISA, DNS, DHCP, RRAS are all networking roles included with server quite good ones actually. So I purposely didn't make reference to platform as you could have a box running windows server that handles all of your networking needs, or Linux distros, or purpose built ones like unTangle. :)

 

Traditionally you want the network separate from your servers so that if a server goes down it doesn't tank the whole network with it.

 

I'm with jmwills on this virtual NIC management can get out of hand really fast even with good documentation and visio diagrams. I prefer to limit 1 networks to a physical NIC (MAC) if the case has the space/slots.

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