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WHS 2011, HTPC, and Virtualization Questions


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Well guys I finally got back around to updating this little project.  Sorry it took so long, just too many other irons in the fire.

 

Basically, I wound up using Win 8 Pro as the base OS with Hyper-V enabled.  Installed on a 1TB hybrid hard drive/SSD with a separate partition carved out just for VM storage.  WHS2011 is virtualized under Hyper-V.  Server storage disks are passed through native to WHS2011, using FlexRaid for a raid/pooling solution.  With the onboard dual NICs, one is dedicated to the host (Win8 Pro) and one to the WHS2011 VM. 

 

I know most here advise against this setup, but for my basic file/media serving and client backup needs it is working swimmingly so far.

 

Only other real change is that I decided not to make this my "2nd" HTPC as originally planned.  Rather, I'm using the Win8 host as a general purpose OS for other tasks to better utilize the horsepower of the hardware.  I'll build another more basic box later for HTPC use in this 2nd location (I already have a dedicated "main" HTPC).

 

I also haven't had the time yet to set up Plex on the WHS2011 VM.  I don't expect any major issues, but I'll try to come back and report on it when I get a chance to set it up and test the transcoding performance on it.

 

Overall, I'm pleased with the result.  Thanks to all who commented and helped me through the process!

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Well guys I finally got back around to updating this little project.  Sorry it took so long, just too many other irons in the fire.

 

Basically, I wound up using Win 8 Pro as the base OS with Hyper-V enabled.  Installed on a 1TB hybrid hard drive/SSD with a separate partition carved out just for VM storage.  WHS2011 is virtualized under Hyper-V.  Server storage disks are passed through native to WHS2011, using FlexRaid for a raid/pooling solution.  With the onboard dual NICs, one is dedicated to the host (Win8 Pro) and one to the WHS2011 VM. 

 

I know most here advise against this setup, but for my basic file/media serving and client backup needs it is working swimmingly so far.

 

Only other real change is that I decided not to make this my "2nd" HTPC as originally planned.  Rather, I'm using the Win8 host as a general purpose OS for other tasks to better utilize the horsepower of the hardware.  I'll build another more basic box later for HTPC use in this 2nd location (I already have a dedicated "main" HTPC).

 

I also haven't had the time yet to set up Plex on the WHS2011 VM.  I don't expect any major issues, but I'll try to come back and report on it when I get a chance to set it up and test the transcoding performance on it.

 

Overall, I'm pleased with the result.  Thanks to all who commented and helped me through the process!

 

Just to clarify, the setup you have is fine as long as you are passing the disks through so you can recover.  Win8 is not the best environment for the base OS but the bottom line is can you recover and I believe that you can.  Secondly, you are right there should be no issues running Plex as it runs great in a VM providing you allocate enough resources.  Remember that Plex does real time transcoding so give enough juice.  I am running my Plex server in a VM and I allocated 4 Virtual cores and 6 gigs or ram.  Good luck with and since you have gone this route, I would suggest Acronis backup.  You need to protect you OS drive so if you computer crashes you will be able to restore it and regain access to the 2011 setup for your other systems.  Kind of a catch 22.

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Just to clarify, the setup you have is fine as long as you are passing the disks through so you can recover.  Win8 is not the best environment for the base OS but the bottom line is can you recover and I believe that you can.  Secondly, you are right there should be no issues running Plex as it runs great in a VM providing you allocate enough resources.  Remember that Plex does real time transcoding so give enough juice.  I am running my Plex server in a VM and I allocated 4 Virtual cores and 6 gigs or ram.  Good luck with and since you have gone this route, I would suggest Acronis backup.  You need to protect you OS drive so if you computer crashes you will be able to restore it and regain access to the 2011 setup for your other systems.  Kind of a catch 22.

 

Yes, I'm passing the disks through.  Also, Flexraid leaves the file structure alone (it's snapshot RAID) so the bare drives can be read in another machine if something goes wrong.  I thought about the OS backup issue but hadn't decided on a solution yet, I'll take a closer look at Acronis.  I had heard some good and bad on the latest version, what's your opinion?

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Yes, I'm passing the disks through.  Also, Flexraid leaves the file structure alone (it's snapshot RAID) so the bare drives can be read in another machine if something goes wrong.  I thought about the OS backup issue but hadn't decided on a solution yet, I'll take a closer look at Acronis.  I had heard some good and bad on the latest version, what's your opinion?

 

You would still be faced with having to re-create the VM somewhere.  Certainly possible but adds complication.  Just wanted to point out that on that machine, you cant get to the backup unless you do extra things. Glad you got it working the way you want.

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You would still be faced with having to re-create the VM somewhere.  Certainly possible but adds complication.  Just wanted to point out that on that machine, you cant get to the backup unless you do extra things. Glad you got it working the way you want.

 

In the case of a base OS crash, I understand that I cannot get to the host OS client backup since WHS2011 is a VM inside said host OS.  However, regarding the WHS2011 VM, I already backup the VM itself to a separate drive.  If the base OS drive crashes, I should be able to re-install (or recover from backup) the base OS to the new drive, copy over the VM from backup and then point Hyper-V to the recovered VM/VHDX files correct?

Edited by ktide1
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Like I posted earlier, it's great to see the results of new experiments. Glad it's all working as you want. Please post back with your ongoing experiences even, or maybe especially, if there are problems. The info would be valuable to others who might want to try your setup. Basically, you're our one and only expert on this configuration :)

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The host OS backup conundrum referenced by pcdoc is the only "gotcha" so far, and I knew about that one going in.  I'll definitely try to keep everyone posted on any issues.

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