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Help me chose a Hypervisor for my server

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Right now, I'm running WHS on my home server. The specs are:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240E
Motherboard: MSI 760GM-E51
Memory: 4GB
Storage: Lots

I want to intall a hypervisor so I can play around with different operating systems. Though, I can't chose which one? So which bare metal VM should I use? I know of Xen, ESXi, and Hyper-V, but I assume there are plenty more out there.

I'm mainly looking for ease of use. Though, I don't want to sacrifice important features.
Also, it has to be free.

I want to be able to run a couple of VMs comfortablly. Im thinking of running WHS, Win Server 2008R2, a linux server, and maybe another to play with. I am aware that my current specs are lacking, so I also am looking to upgrade my server.
I want at least 8GB of RAM, but I might as well get 16GB while I'm at it. As for the CPU, I kinda wanna go intel (Cuz im kinda a fanboy), but I might just stay with AMD. But when I change the CPU, how fast should it be? 4 Cores? Hyperthreading? 6 Core? And is a Xeon worth it? Whats the difference between server and consumer CPUs?

sorry for all the questions, Thanks.
post #2 of 26
If you still with AMD, forget the Hyperthreading...since AMD doesn't have that (by name at least). You motherboard is a socket AM3+ so you can get a FX-8120 (3.1Ghz 8 core) for around $160. Would be plenty of power, along with 16GB of RAM...and you can use the rest of your existing hardware.

I assume you want to stick with free, and I am going to recommend Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012. From a licensing perspective, it's a free OS, with licensing to run 4 VMs. However, there is nothing stopping you from running more (assuming you have the resources). With running Hyper-V Server 2012, you can (on your Windows 7 or 8 PC) set up the RSAT tools and use the Hyper-V Manager console from your PC to manage Hyper-V on the remote box, which is always nice. Hyper-V is so easy to set up and work with.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/hyper-v-server/default.aspx

Aside from that, I'm sure several others would recommend VMware vSphere Hypervisor, which is also free...however, it is limited in features compared to the Hyper-V Server 2012 I listed above (which is the full version of Hyper-V). Aside from these two virtualization platforms, I have no experience (or desire to use) with any other hypervisors.
post #3 of 26
@OP

Other options are Proxmox, Ubuntu Server w/KVM and CentOS w/KVM.
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post #4 of 26
I would upgrade the CPU and RAM firstly. 16GB of any RAM should be fine, and go with an FX-8 series CPU because of the core count.
Personally, I would setup Xen HVM under CentOS 6 for what you're going to do. Xen PV (paravirtualization) does not support Windows DomUs.
    
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post #5 of 26
I am currently setting up a XenServer 6.1 for a network at school. I recommend that it's free easy to set up and use. For hardware we are using a AMD server proc. I have found that you need minimum of 8gb of ram. I recommend 16gb. The server we built as 32gb of ecc. But the Computers we are building for Teaching VM is AMD FX-8150 with 16GB of ram. Currently waiting for the parts to come in.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by m1ndb3nd3r View Post

I am currently setting up a XenServer 6.1 for a network at school. I recommend that it's free easy to set up and use. For hardware we are using a AMD server proc. I have found that you need minimum of 8gb of ram. I recommend 16gb. The server we built as 32gb of ecc. But the Computers we are building for Teaching VM is AMD FX-8150 with 16GB of ram. Currently waiting for the parts to come in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tycoonbob View Post

If you still with AMD, forget the Hyperthreading...since AMD doesn't have that (by name at least). You motherboard is a socket AM3+ so you can get a FX-8120 (3.1Ghz 8 core) for around $160. Would be plenty of power, along with 16GB of RAM...and you can use the rest of your existing hardware.
I assume you want to stick with free, and I am going to recommend Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012. From a licensing perspective, it's a free OS, with licensing to run 4 VMs. However, there is nothing stopping you from running more (assuming you have the resources). With running Hyper-V Server 2012, you can (on your Windows 7 or 8 PC) set up the RSAT tools and use the Hyper-V Manager console from your PC to manage Hyper-V on the remote box, which is always nice. Hyper-V is so easy to set up and work with.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/hyper-v-server/default.aspx
Aside from that, I'm sure several others would recommend VMware vSphere Hypervisor, which is also free...however, it is limited in features compared to the Hyper-V Server 2012 I listed above (which is the full version of Hyper-V). Aside from these two virtualization platforms, I have no experience (or desire to use) with any other hypervisors.

After looking at intel processors, i've noticed that it would be a TON more expensive to go with AMD. Its not even worth it to go with Intel for the little bit of more performance.
As for the processor, how much different is the FX-8320 from the 8120. As far as I can tell, the 8320 is the newer architecture, and it is only a little more expensive. Is it worth the extra 20 bucks?
And since my motherboard has a 7xx chipset as opposed to the 9xx, how many features would I lose?

And can I get 2x8GB RAM chips instead of 4x4GB?
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
So, I've looked into hardware a bit more. I've finally decided on AMD.

CPU: AMD FX-8320
MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3
Memory: G.SKILL 32GB 4x8GB 1866

And then a Card Reader and an SD Card for booting ESXi

I already have a 400w Antec Neo Eco PSU, an Intel Pro/1000 PT Dual port NIC, A case, and Hard drives.

How does it look?

EDIT: And a cheap graphics card
post #8 of 26
Doesn't sound bad, what hard drives are you going to use?
    
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post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have 2x2TB Drives, 1x640GB, and 1x500GB Drive. Though, I don't yet know how I'm going to pool them. There are so many options, and I can't really tell the difference between them. Like, unRAID, and FLEXRaid, and RaidZ, and Greyhole, and ZFS. I just don't know.
post #10 of 26
You might have to go Xen or Hyper-V

ESXi is picky and might not run on your hardware

Check the HCL's.

FWIW, I run Xen because my hardware was incompatible with ESXi, but Xen is pretty good.
    
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