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New to servers: Want to create a virtualization machine

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have the know-how to build a computer, but I'm still a bit naïve on the server side of home computing.

In a couple years I would like to build a home server with many purposes as you could imagine, but the one I am most stumped on is virtualization. I read the sticky in this forum and it only touched a little on virtualization. How can you use a computers resources through the internet? Is this how it works? What components are most important for this type of specific application? Is there a software that makes this easier? I would like to run the server on ubuntu with windows virtual machines (ideally), but this is still just a concept in my head. I think all homes are going to have servers in the future....but that's another topic.

dan
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post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dPaquin View Post

I have the know-how to build a computer, but I'm still a bit naïve on the server side of home computing.

In a couple years I would like to build a home server with many purposes as you could imagine, but the one I am most stumped on is virtualization. I read the sticky in this forum and it only touched a little on virtualization. How can you use a computers resources through the internet? Is this how it works? What components are most important for this type of specific application? Is there a software that makes this easier? I would like to run the server on ubuntu with windows virtual machines (ideally), but this is still just a concept in my head. I think all homes are going to have servers in the future....but that's another topic.

dan

In a couple years, you will have new technology all over the board (virtualization platforms, hardware, etc).

When you run a VM on top of a hypervisor, the hypervisor creates a virtual network and the VM has a virtual NIC that is attached to that virtual network. It works the same way as if everything was physical, in that you need an IP, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS.

If you were to build a Ubuntu based virtualization host in the next few months, I'd say go with KVM. Honestly though, if you are using only Windows VMs, it's silly to do this from a Linux based OS. Use Hyper-V, which is a feature of Windows Server, or use Xen or ESXi which are barebone hypervisors. You wouldn't want to do anything with the Ubuntu box anyway, other than letting it serve your VMs.

Again, if this is a few years in the future...really isn't any point in talk about specific hardware or hypervisors, as it will likely change by then.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Okay so it seems like running a windows sever OS would be my best way to go, thanks!

Will I get good performance running it virtualized? Does it lag / would i be able to do any gaming from a virtualized client? I'm sorry that im new to this scene

Thanks,
Dan
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post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dPaquin View Post

Okay so it seems like running a windows sever OS would be my best way to go, thanks!

Will I get good performance running it virtualized? Does it lag / would i be able to do any gaming from a virtualized client? I'm sorry that im new to this scene

Thanks,
Dan

Virtualization typically has performance on-par with physical. Would you want to game from a VM? No. Graphical intense applications can run from within a VM, using technologies such as Microsoft's RemoteFX and the equivalent from Citrix. These technologies are developed to work with things like digital imaging, video/image rendering, and CADD -- not games. If you want to game, the short answer is stick with doing that on a physical box, aka your computer. Build a server that runs a few VMs and leave that server running headless (no monitor, keyboard, mouse) in the corner.
post #5 of 7
Just as an FYI, Hyper-V server (standalone) is a free hypervisor and if you have windows 8/8.1, GUI manager comes with the OS. You'd have to do some minor changes on your desktop and server host but you'd be able to manage it from your desktop without any additional software. In fact, if you want to get some practice, you can install the Hyper-V feature on your windows 8 desktop and use it as a host. If you've got a good amount of memory you could run a few VMs right from your desktop.

Hyper-V, KVM, and ESXi are all free/open source. ESXi requires a registration with VMware and has hardware limitations as well. I think your host can only have 1 CPU and only 32GB of memory. Hyper-V Server has much higher limitations (320 logical processors, 4TB of RAM). KVM and Hyper-V also offer a lot of other enterprise level services such as Live Migrations which is cool to play around with.

If you're starting out with a small host, any of those three will work for you. If you plan on building a monster of a host (which, I mean, come on...you KNOW it will happen) I suggest going with Hyper-V or KVM.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAHOP240 View Post

Hyper-V, KVM, and ESXi are all free/open source. ESXi requires a registration with VMware and has hardware limitations as well. I think your host can only have 1 CPU and only 32GB of memory. Hyper-V Server has much higher limitations (320 logical processors, 4TB of RAM). KVM and Hyper-V also offer a lot of other enterprise level services such as Live Migrations which is cool to play around with.

With the release of 5.5 the max amount of RAM is 4TB and also 320 Logical CPU's for the free license.
post #7 of 7
I wanted to kind offer a more of newbie-to-newbie oriented response. Have to start small.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dPaquin View Post

I have the know-how to build a computer, but I'm still a bit naïve on the server side of home computing.

In a couple years I would like to build a home server with many purposes as you could imagine, but the one I am most stumped on is virtualization. I read the sticky in this forum and it only touched a little on virtualization.

I don't know if you're referring to the thread over on the operating systems sub-forum but that one I think has some pretty good information.
Quote:
How can you use a computers resources through the internet? Is this how it works?

A virtual machine is the same as a physical machine - same requirements/limitations/precautions required as a physical machine with an OS. There's some tricks that can be done since it's software based - virtual nics, virtual switches and so forth - but really it's about the same. You can use VM resources through internet like as a web server/ftp server or as a rented resource like that found via a VPS. There are various "cloud" resources available. I think you can even rent processor power from amazon.
Quote:
What components are most important for this type of specific application? Is there a software that makes this easier?

If you mean managed virtual machines remotely there are some consoles for that sort of thing. Just need a VPN or open or what-have-you for the security side. You might have to specify a little more what you need with that one.
Quote:
I would like to run the server on ubuntu with windows virtual machines (ideally), but this is still just a concept in my head. I think all homes are going to have servers in the future....but that's another topic.

dan

This last part is really what made me want to reply: I just went through this myself (see my article in my sig for my comic-misadventures with virtualbox/ubuntu server).

What I personally would recommend is starting with virtualbox and installing windows and other operating systems, just get used to how it works. I think by default virtual machines with virtualbox will have a "NAT" ip address, e.g. by default the internet will work but stuff like remote desktop and SSH won't (well there's a trick to get these to work but it won't work immediately/out of the box). You can also set a VM to have a real IP which it will get from your router -- an IP equally valid as that of your desktop/laptop/tablet/xbox/phone -- this makes it easier to manage directly.

Once you feel confident with it you could go the way I went: install virtualbox on a CLI-only linux server (doesn't matter which, I went with ubunutu server) and...in my case I actually re-created the virtual machine part in linux and transferred the virtual hard drives but there are other ways to do it. I like virtualbox because it's easy, it's familiar, it does windows VMs and if necessary I can use a different host OS. Also, there is a third-party web-front end that makes it even easier smile.gif

For more power you would want to move up to a real hyper-visor of course. Hyper-V, Xen, KVM, VMWare, something like that.For just one or two VMs, especially windows ones, I for one vote virtualbox thumb.gif
 
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