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Seperation of Virtual Machines and Storage


thecircusb0y
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So I was introduced to ESX server and VMware Server during an internship last year, and it was completely eye opening to me. I had used VMware before on a client to test other client OS's, and mess around, but for server environments, it was one of those "Why didn't I think of that!?" moments.

Anyways, Schools out, college is over, and while I've been job hunting, I've also been able to settle down with my machines, and not worry about having to move all my equipment in the next 3 months.

I have a small box I built, an Antec Minuet Case, with an Athlon X2 64 3000+ cpu in it, and 4gb of DDR2 ram. This box had a primary purpose of being my router out at school, and running server's for games, LAMP, and bypass cisco clean access and other such network trash. the box is the size of a ps3, and I built it for $100 off ebay parts, and it works better then my former roommates box he bought from Alienware.

The OS at the moment is Ubuntu 8.04, and I have VMware Server running on it, and have a nice virtual machine of Windows Server 2008, and I'm having fun, till I thought about doing a SAN. So to my question.

<Virtual Host> <----> < SAN with Virtual Machines stored here.>

But how do you go about doing your storage of basic files? I can't possibly make a virtual machine take up 500gb's, or should I?

I have boxes at my disposal, and a few HD's, I'm not rich, but heres what i have to work with, without my desktop included.

3x500gb SATA II

2x750gb SATA I

1x1.5TB SATA II

about 4x40gb IDE drives

maybe 2x80GB IDE

Athlon x2 3000+ with 4gb of ram (space for 2 3.5'' drives)

Athlon XP 2400m OC'ed to 2.4ghz (This is my old server) with 1gb of ram, and Space for probably 9 3.5'' Drives)

What I was thinking was slap a 4gb thumb drive on the 64bit cpu box, for ubuntu alternate setup with vmware server, and keep a 500gb drive in it for virtual machine storage, and then slap the rest of the drives in old Athlon XP 2400 and install freenas, and use that for storage of archive data.

But hopefully can help me out in the thoughts here.

Thanks alot for your help.

EDIT:

I thought about it, and think that maybe I should just use Freenas, to store both regular files, AND the virtual machines, and just use directories for seperation.

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Disk IO sucks really badly on Virtual machines generally, which means something like a File server is a bad thing to virtualize. Also as you don't want to make it suck even more, I wouldn't run virtual machine images across a network. Really the host machine should have decent local storage in a RAID setup that provides protection, the file server should have the same, but then can keep snapshots of the virtual machines backed up.

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Disk IO sucks really badly on Virtual machines generally, which means something like a File server is a bad thing to virtualize. Also as you don't want to make it suck even more, I wouldn't run virtual machine images across a network. Really the host machine should have decent local storage in a RAID setup that provides protection, the file server should have the same, but then can keep snapshots of the virtual machines backed up.

So you think that the 500gb on the 64 bit box, with maybe a 4gb flash drive for the OS and VMware Server, and the 500GB for the virtual machine's would be good, and then just use something like Rsnapshot to backup VM's to a file server, such as the 32bit cpu machine.

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Sounds like you made a post to show off your stuff more then to ask a question.. after reading threw all your crap this is what the question is that i get

"how do you go about doing your storage of basic files? I can't possibly make a virtual machine take up 500gb's, or should I?"

VM's are a very, very useful tool now a days. It depends what your trying to do, or run. Yes servers are great with VMware or Virtual machine.

"I have boxes at my disposal, and a few HD's, I'm not rich, but heres what i have to work with, without my desktop included.

3x500gb SATA II

2x750gb SATA I

1x1.5TB SATA II

about 4x40gb IDE drives

maybe 2x80GB IDE."

You look like a nice target, thanks for posting all your specs and showing off. Nice Gig's!

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Sounds like you made a post to show off your stuff more then to ask a question.. after reading threw all your crap this is what the question is that i get

Envy gets you no where, I'm only looking for help in how to organize my hardware. I admit my writing is unorganized, cause I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts. I'm not trying to show off anything.

"how do you go about doing your storage of basic files? I can't possibly make a virtual machine take up 500gb's, or should I?"

VM's are a very, very useful tool now a days. It depends what your trying to do, or run. Yes servers are great with VMware or Virtual machine.

Right, but does it make sense to make a VM as big as 500 gb's just to hold Storage, or make a VM that manages storage off a physical storage server using something like free nas?

"I have boxes at my disposal, and a few HD's, I'm not rich, but heres what i have to work with, without my desktop included.

3x500gb SATA II

2x750gb SATA I

1x1.5TB SATA II

about 4x40gb IDE drives

maybe 2x80GB IDE."

You look like a nice target, thanks for posting all your specs and showing off. Nice Gig's!

By boxes, I mean I have 2 boxes I described, and parts I've salvaged out of machines that were recycled from college, and the HD information is there to help organize them into what box, and if I should use a software raid to mirror them or stripe them.

Once again, not trying to show off, I have two barebones machines, its not like I run quad SLI Geforce 285's with a 52'' Plasma screen.

But to put it in terms you'll understand,

You look like a nice suspect, thanks for posting all your statements and showing off.

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"Right, but does it make sense to make a VM as big as 500 gb's just to hold Storage, or make a VM that manages storage off a physical storage server using something like free nas?"

If you have a 1TB drive then sure make a 500GB VM. I would not process more stuff on the VM then on my PC. Like say 60% of all usage for my PC then 40% used for virtual machines. The other comments I guess was just not to post all your stuff because evil hackers look for that type of setup. I'm not skilled enough to do anything like that anyways. I do know about VM though. Alot of big business use it, and you should learn every aspect of it. VM is your buddy

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"Right, but does it make sense to make a VM as big as 500 gb's just to hold Storage, or make a VM that manages storage off a physical storage server using something like free nas?"

If you have a 1TB drive then sure make a 500GB VM. I would not process more stuff on the VM then on my PC. Like say 60% of all usage for my PC then 40% used for virtual machines. The other comments I guess was just not to post all your stuff because evil hackers look for that type of setup. I'm not skilled enough to do anything like that anyways. I do know about VM though. Alot of big business use it, and you should learn every aspect of it. VM is your buddy

Thanks for the concern.

I've worked with VM's, mainly ESX 3.0.2 with EMC CLARiion san's on an enterprise environment.

I don't really need VM's, but I like the idea of having VM host so I can run a Linux box, and a Windows Server box, backup snapshots. I like to run my own LAMP server, a DC, maybe some game servers when friends want to play, and the VM's are also good when I need a test server for when I'm coding. At some point I'd like to try a Mythbuntu box, or some sorta broadcast box, but this is why my thoughts are so unorganized, there is so much I want to do, and I think a VMware Server would help be a good foundation, but I want to build that properly in the first place.

Now I've looked at ESXi server and VMware server 2, and I think I'm going to stick to VMware Server 2 so I can keep with Debian linux, and add SSH support, plus I don't know how well ESXi will support my hardware.

Perhaps I should have an admin delete this thread, and I'll just go with my gut feeling on how to set this up.

Thank you, sincerely, for your input. This whole job hunt out of college is also on my mind while trying to get my boxes up and running, so just general stress.

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I've deployed quite a few branch-offices-in-a-box ESX and ESXi servers myself, and we are virtualizing file servers. The setup is a RAID1 with 2x146GB used to store the VM disks, and a larger RAID5 or RAID1 array which stores a large VMDK attached to the file server as a 2nd drive. When your dealing with Office files and user backups, the IOps is fine. We're using 15K SAS for DAS however, with 7.2K SATA for NAS or iSCSI you may run into issues with high load, but for a home lab setup I don't think you will have a problem though.

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Its all good man, alot of people are stressing in every field of the game.

IT i found has the least stress, it will be around for along time, and is not going away.

Not too many know there "maths"

You seem pretty knowlgeable, i would just stick to the rule of never having a VM have more power then your system. 60/40 rule i guess.

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