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I’m So Confused... Virtualization. Did I Buy A Lemon?


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Hello Everyone,

For starters, I’m new to the Hak5 forums, so if I do / post something dumb... I’m sorry. So, I’ll jump right into my question(s). I’ve recently purchased a server (I’ll list the spec in a minute) for use at home. I had the intention of simply replacing my NAS (Thecus N4100pro x4bay) for more storage space and richer features, but now I’m looking for it to do more than just this one simple task. After hours of deliberating and sifting through mounds of websites about virtualization and watching the Hak5 episodes about virtualization, I find myself more in doubt about whether or not this machine can pull it off? So I’m turning to the Hak5 community hoping to find some clarity, and peace of mind (hopefully).

To the spec’s!

• 3U x12 bay SGI Half Depth

• Arima HDAMA Dual AMD CPU

• 2x AMD Opteron 270’s (being replace by 2x 285’s in 1 month)

• 8GB ECC Ram

• 3ware 9550SX-12SI Raid card

• 8TB SATA’s to start with, more otw.

With this in mind, here is what I would like to employ...

Primary Role: Storage, File Server, Media Streaming (music/tv shows/movies internally)

Secondary Role: DVD/BD encoding (Archived streaming), Game server

Hobbyist Role: creating a virtual network – win 2k8/2k3/WHS* (AD, DNS, DHCP, Web, Email*), winxp, linux, Pen testing, not sure what else. *not necessarily all at the same time of course.

I’ve done research on VMware 4 and Proxmox, but still am unclear whether I can virtualize this they way I’d like to (or which will suit my needs better)? I’m considering adding another physical server down the road as a clustering option (I’m just having that feeling, somehow)? I’m fixed to the Primary Task, but the secondary and hobbyists are quite flexible should they not be achievable. What has me most concerned are the HW requirements for virtualization. Spouting, AMD-V required or need X component in order to function. Having this type of HW to do a singular role is just overkill; just Win 7 alone would be more than adequate. It’s not why I bought it; I’d like it to be more than just “Another PC”. So if anyone out there could help to lead me in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.

Hak5, keep up the excellent job!!



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Either way, you can go with VMware 4 or Proxmox but VMware is more suited for virtualizing enterprise servers. For a normal home virtualization, ProxMox would be just the right solution for you.

Now the only issue with your current hardware is the CPU, out of box it does not support virtualization, so you will need to upgrade your CPU to one that supports virtualization.


In terms of memory capacity, 8 gigs may be enough for now, but if you plan on running more than 3 VMs at once, consider upgrading it to 10gigs or 16 gigs. You will need to find out how much RAM your system supports.

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  • 4 weeks later...

In terms of memory capacity, 8 gigs may be enough for now, but if you plan on running more than 3 VMs at once, consider upgrading it to 10gigs or 16 gigs. You will need to find out how much RAM your system supports.

I'm currently running XenCenter at home (and also on 4 sites across the globe), my box at home is something I put together for $500. It's worth looking at and its also free. 10-16GB is a little over kill (IMO) for reference here's what I am running at home DC, Exchange, SQL-Express, MySQL, Web Server. Unless your servers are going to do something super intensive then they won't need much more than 512/1024 each. At random times I've had various Linux VM's running either as a NAS or supporting some form of PXE booting / imaging server (GHOST). But like Infiltrator said, go with 8GB for now and then expand if and when you encounter problems.

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