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Old March 28, 2009, 05:15 PM
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Default Virtualization Test Server Build - Musings & Observations

I've set out to build a dedicated server to host Virtual Environments (Machines & Appliances). I got inspired to do this for a few reasons. One of which is I like to test many different OS's and having limited amount of dedicated PC's around to do this (There are only so many the significant other can take) meant either dual booting or some other "Kludge" when testing two or more setups at the same time. I will be hopefully using the ITX format for my build but may also go with a mAtx buld.

ProxMox VE to the rescue (Proxmox Server Solutions - Mail Gateway) .

Proxmox Virtual Environment is an easy to use Open Source virtualization platform for running Virtual Appliances and Virtual Machines. It runs on 64bit only cpu's on Debian base os, stripped down, and uses a web based approach to managing the server & any amout of installed virtual machines & appliances. For a very informative set of video tutorials go here Category:Video Tutorials - Proxmox VE .

Proxmox uses two virtualization platforms, OpenVZ & KVM. I won't go into all the similarities & differences between the two but suffice it to say Linux guests generally use OpenVZ while Windows based guests use KVM.

The sticky point is that KVM requires the cpu & board used to support Intel's Vt-x and AMD-V (Supposedly independent of AMD motherboard used as long as it's AM2 or later). Since I plan on using this platform to test out different Linux & Windows based server solutions & os releases I have that KVM limitation to get around.

This is pretty easy on the AMD side since all X2 or higher processors on the AM2 or higher platform ship with AMD-V enabled. Not so on the Intel side where you'll have to get an older E6xxx series or a current E8xxx or Q9xxx series to have the Intel Vt-x extensions included. This means that where I live I'd have to spend over $165 just on the cpu to build a hopefully low cost. Intel have seen fit to either remove or disable the VT-x extensions on such really capable & cheap processors such as the E5200 & E7xxx series.

I'm shooting for an ITX for factor build, kind of a proof of concept that lots of power can come in a real small package. Here is my parts list so far.

Zotax GF8200 ITX Motherboard
AMD BE-2400 CPU
4gig Gskill PC2-8000 Ram
1TB Samsung F1 SATA2 Hard Drive (May add another)
Apex MI-008 ITX Case

At first look it seems that my parts list may be good for an HTPC not necessarily a server but AMD ITX motherboards are hard & expensive to come by. The Zotac is reasonably priced.

I'm looking for a small, efficient, quiet & cool running setup.

I had an Intel Atom 330 setup but running virtual machines on the thing was asking too much.

Any comments, observations or reasonable well though out critiques will be much appreciated.
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Old March 28, 2009, 05:56 PM
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I think you'd be better off with a mATX build.

Then you could get a 790G based motherboard and perhaps a Phenom II. Packs more punch and comes with more expandability, like tossing in extra NIC's so each VM has it's own connection, depending what your doing on each VM that is.

Also with mATX, you'd have a far better chance at running a cool/quiet system. In those ITX cases, the heat that builds up is just crazy and normally they either have tiny noisy fans, or none at all. And the reviews on that APEX case aren't all that good...
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Old March 28, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrom17 View Post
I think you'd be better off with a mATX build.

Then you could get a 790G based motherboard and perhaps a Phenom II. Packs more punch and comes with more expandability, like tossing in extra NIC's so each VM has it's own connection, depending what your doing on each VM that is.

Also with mATX, you'd have a far better chance at running a cool/quiet system. In those ITX cases, the heat that builds up is just crazy and normally they either have tiny noisy fans, or none at all. And the reviews on that APEX case aren't all that good...

I was thinking along those lines. I was thinking of maybe going cheap quad with a Phenom 9650 (Cheap now) since with the server, cpu horsepower (Clockspeed) isn't necessarily the all important thing given what this server will be doing, running concurrent 2003 server, centOS & maybe SME server VM's which may benefit more from the additional cores.

Now you've got me thinking...........
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GOD Is Good
________________________________________

Intel i7-2600K @ 4.8Ghz
Asus Sabertooth Z77
16GB G.Skill Ripjaws Z (1866MhZ CAS9)
NZXT Kraken X60 CPU Cooler
2x Sandisk Extreme 240GB SSD (RAID 0)
Seagate 7200.12 500gig HD
Galaxy GTX660Ti 3GB
LG DVDR
NZXT Phantom 630 Case
Antec TruPower New 750W Power Supply

Last edited by kingnubian; March 28, 2009 at 06:37 PM.
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