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W7 Media Centre / Essentials 2012R2 Virtualised build

Captain Reynolds

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Hi Folks,


Well, my faithful WHS2011 build is finally going to get an upgrade as I would like to start playing with 2012R2 as well. It runs 24/7, as does my Media Centre build, and I like the idea of combining the two and perhaps saving on running costs as well.


Current WHS2011 build: Corei3 540, Gigabyte GA-H55M-D2H, 8GB DDR3, OCZ Vertex 3 120GB (OS) Highpoint RR 2720 with 5xWD2TBEARS RAID5

Current Media Centre build: Corei3 2120, ASRock Z68MUSB3, 8GB DDR3, Corsair Force3 80GBSSD, WD2TBEARS, W764Bit


My plan is to buy new hardware and run Win7 Pro as the main OS and media centre, then VMWare player for a 2012R2 build.


Parts list so far:

2 x Crucial M550 500GB SSD (RAID1 for OS & VM's)

3 x 4TB WD RED (RAID 5 on existing Highpoint RR 2720)

Intel PCI Gigabit LAN Card

2 x HD Homerun 2CH Network TV Tuners


My shopping list so far is below:


Case Fractal Design Define R5 Mid Tower Case - Titanium

Mainboard: ASRock H97M-PRO4 Intel LGA 1150 Micro-ATX Motherboard

CPU: Intel Core i5 4590S Quad Core LGA 1150 3.0GHz CPU Processor

RAM: G.SKILL RipjawsX 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR3 1600MHz Desktop Memory F3-1600C9D-16GXM

PSU: Cooler Master Vanguard 650W 80+ Gold Modular Power Supply


The old server will be re-purposed as a NAS that I will power on only to run a full backup of all the main server data. The old HTPC will be donated to my parents! I currently use CrashPlan for combined external USB and online backup. Networked devices using the server: 2 x Laptops, 1 x Desktop, 1 x WD TV, 2 x Tablet, 2 x Mobile, 1 x XBOX360


Burning questions:


1. The i3 in the current build has been great. Do I need an i5 with only one VM or should I save money?

2. Are there any issues with running bare metal backups from the 2012R2 in a VM?

3. What is the best way to regularly backup the VMWare virtual server?  


I would appreciate any advice and / or opinions on the build parts, or the whole idea in general! Thanks in advance...

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The i3 will support one VM with no problems. The server doesn't know physical from virtual but don't go down the path of thinking you can use snapshots as backups.

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