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Upgrading my server box and virtualizing WHS under Server 2012


Sorta Oldguy
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My WHS2011 has been running well for a year now but I’m thinking of making some changes.

 

Hardware - Asus P8H67 EVO Motherboard, Core i3 and 8 GB RAM. Also a number of hard drives: WHS folder storage is a group of four 1.5TB drives using Intel software RAID 5 giving two 2TB Volumes. Write speed could be better, but it servers up video ok and is otherwise pretty smooth. WHS itself is pretty responsive over Remote Desktop.

 

The system drive is about 70 GB of a 150GB partition on an old Samsung 1TB not in the RAID. Don't know why the system partition is so big nor why I made it that big; is that normal?

 

And there's a Win7 VM running under VMware Player for recording shows with an HDHomeRun. It's located on a partition on one of the RAID volumes. It just dumps the shows to a WHS folder. While the VM does the job, it is rather sluggish. Maybe I shouldn't have put it on a RAID volume. I’ve assigned two Gigs of ram to it. Since it has nothing but Media Center running, don’t know that assigning more would help any.

 

Am thinking about upgrading both ram to 16G and maybe getting an SSD to improve responsiveness. Also, with the advent of Windows RT, was thinking of virtualizing WHS and two VM’s separately under Server 2012 with a view to doing what I’m doing now plus trying to make older desktop applications available to the Windows RT device(s) over Remote Desktop or some other mechanism. Probably biting off more than I can chew here as I don’t know that much about it, but it sounds like an interesting project and wasting time figuring it out is how I’ve learned what I know over the past 30 years of computers.

 

Anyways, I’m looking for opinions on:

 

How feasible is it to virtualize WHS and two VM’s under Server 2012 on this class hardware?

 

If I try this project, would the 16B ram be enough? How big of an SSD would I need?

 

I suppose I'd need a network card (or 2?) and a graphics card for the VM serving the applications. Correct or not?

 

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Thanks.

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Guest no-control

Its totally feasible with that hardware. Here are 2 reference article of builds that did just that Project: One Project: VirtualBox Virtual Home Lab

 

First let me break this into 2 parts. The basic VM server for running WHS(file serving), and the basic desktop VMs for HTPC recording or testing.

 

16GB is plenty. Only need a single NIC (onboard is fine). Suggest 1 HDD for host OS (2012), 1 fast HDD for VMs and VHDs Velociraptor/Caviar Black/cheetah/Any large SSD I would suggest a minimum of 250GB for 4 VMs.

 

Now to application serve to RT (if it works I mentioned I wanted to try this on BYOB episode 100) would require quite a bit more backend. including more CPU, RAM, Disk I/O, and GPU. Pretty much you would need to buiild a dedicated big boy VM Server. Xeon Quad core w/ HT, Intel IPMI server board, 32-128GB RAM, compatible GPUs, and most likely the network infrastructure to back it.

 

build the first one then decide if you really want to go all VM. If so wait until someone with more experience and money and nothing better to do than spend time and said money getting it to work. (like me ;)). then just copy a the working setup.

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HSS Elite:

 

Paul Thurrot's recent post about using an RT tablet on his New Zealand trip had intrigued me. He said it worked very well with desktop applications served over Wi Fi. Thanks for quickly disabusing me of the overambitions with respect to my overambitions.

 

Will have to go back to Episode 100 and read the articles. Haven't gotten to listen to 100 yet; had wondered why something like this had not been mentioned. Thanks again.

Edited by Sorta Oldguy
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Guest no-control

I'm sure you can just RDP into a desktop without issue. You stated application serve virtualized applications. There's a difference between what Paul was doing and what you were asking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work as a field service engineer & would like to have a tablet that i could rdp into my home server vm running win xp applications. I have been working on this project for about a week & learning WS 2012 has been difficult. I've been trying to get different features & roles to work together so I can determine what's best. Domain, DC, RemoteFX, RD broker, DNS, VDI & hyper-v. I've gotten a lot of it to work but found that I need 1. VM DC. 2. RDS & 3. VM winxp all running in one box on the same domain. Seems like you cannot have RDS & DC running on the same server. Trouble connecting multiple servers on the same domain. I would also like to make my hdhomerun recorded folder & media files available too.

-A window 8 RT tablet connected to my media streaming home server.

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I don't recall for sure whether it's technically impossible to remotely RDP into a DC, but I'm 99% sure MS does not recommend running RDS on a DC, due to security concerns. You can RDP into a DC from the local LAN.

 

I'm not sure why you're having trouble running multiple servers on a domain. Which server versions are you trying to do this with? I ask because Server 2012 Essentials has to be a DC and can be the only server on the domain (or is it the only DC on the domain? Dang, I hate getting old).

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I have WS 2012 standard with 2 VM: 1. WSE 2012 & 2. DC. I think my problem is with CA between the servers. My idea wasn't to RDP into the DC but rather another VM dedicated to running work related apps on winxp & another as a media streaming server. I guess I got carried away trying to get the RemoteFX & RD Broker working, this requires the parent server to be on the domain. Thats what got me trying to have 3 servers on one domain in one box. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/video/windows-server-2012-remote-desktop-services-with-remotefx-more-than-a-word.aspx

 

 

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