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Server to run 15(?) Virtual PCs...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I was handed this project today.

I need to design a system to run approx. 15 Virtual PCs using that are running Windows XP. We already have all the monitors, keyboards and mice setup. We are currently using 15 PCs in shelves and obviously there is a heat problem that is causing crashes, hardware failures and just a lot of noise. I would like to have the 15ish systems running from either one or two servers.

Here are some things that I need to keep in mind:

The PCs are only for checking e-mail, facebook and etc.
All the keyboard and mice are PS2(can be changed to USB if needed)
All monitors are LCD with VGA, no digital.
All systems need to be running XP for the clients, the Root OS can be anything.
All client OSes need a general account that is locked down, waaaaay down.

That's about it. What do I need to build to make this happen? How do I input several keyboards/mice? How do I output several displays?

Virtual PCs are somewhat new to me. I've only done a few systems on my own PC using a single keyboard/mouse/video.

Any tips? Help? Thoughts?

Thanks!
    
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post #2 of 17
a single e5400 was running around 12 ish windows xp pc's in my high school

maybe a athlon x4 640 or something would fit the job real nice. I'd get 8gg of ram and 2 1tb hdd in raid. I'm no expert but it seems reasonable... right?

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCateg...e=KVM-Switches
Edited by nitd_kim - 2/8/11 at 3:01pm
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post #3 of 17
I've never heard of hooking multiple sets of inputs into the same PC and having each set work on a different virtual machine before, but maybe it's possible. You would have some issues getting 15 monitors hooked up to a single PC.

Usually in this case you'd have one or two powerful systems running the virtual machines (or a Windows Server with Terminal Services) and have some cheap PCs to use as front-ends.

One option would be to build some ultra-cheap low-power nettop-style PCs and no virtual machines. Use dual-core Atoms or wait for the AMD Fusion boards to hit the shelves, buy the cheapest SATA hard drive you can, throw in 2 GB RAM, and find a decent case. You can probably get each system to $300 or cheaper and they'll use little power and shouldn't produce much heat and still be good enough for web browsing.
post #4 of 17
crazy project is crazy

for just checking facebook get 15 cheapass netbooks ffs
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post #5 of 17
Well I am a noob as well and trying to do a similar thing but not to that extreme.

I am trying to run 4-5 VM's on a Single PC with Ubuntu Server and have been told many different things, however overall, everyone is saying I would be better served by a Hexcore something like a AMD Phenom II X6 Black Edition, at least 8 Gigs of Ram 12-16Gigs would be ideal, 2 x 1 TB Sata HDD's or a couple of SDD's.

Will keep an eye on your build as well as I haven't decided what I want to do.

Good luck.
post #6 of 17
I can Run 10 Vm's with Eve Online at lowest settings with a x6 1055t @ 3.5, and 8gb of ram, so you probably need something similar.
    
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post #7 of 17
You could try something like these:
http://www.wyse.com/products/hardwar...90LE/index.asp

They run about 450 each, only 7 watts each, then hook them up to a quad processor server running ESXi or something equivalent to host the virtual OS's. You could also look at this:

http://www.evga.com/products/prodlist.asp?switch=11

but I'm not sure if you could have multiple cards in on server. But really at this point you could use any cheap box as the thin client connecting to the server.

A quad processor server for example a Dell R810 with 4 E7520's and 32GB of ram, ESXi installed will run you about 10K. You'll still probably want to host your OS's on a NAS or an internal raid array that will cost extra. Of course this server is probably overkill, depending on usage you might be able to get away with 2 quadcores and much less ram which should run around ~3K without the raid/nas

I'm no expert but I would have thought it would be cheaper though just to use the boxes you have and increase the cooling if you're having heat problems. At the least you could move to little atom boxes as you're not doing anything intensive with them. Thin client systems are great in terms of manageability for the IT people, but they're not cheap particularly given that you already have 15 computers.

Do you have a budget in mind? Will all 15 be used simulataneously?
Edited by stren - 2/8/11 at 3:53pm
     
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post #8 of 17
We need you to answer the following ...

What EXACTLY are you trying to accomplish?
What is your setup currently? - 15 computers in one small room with monitors attached there? Or do people connect via RDP or VNC or something ... or are there really long vga and ps/2 cable run everywhere?

How are they going to connect to the virtual machines? ... RDP? VNC?

In all honesty, it might be worth looking into setting up a Microsoft terminal server and setting up a bunch of "dummy" computers that boot a basic Linux OS and use TSC to get into them.
    
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post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitd_kim View Post
a single e5400 was running around 12 ish windows xp pc's in my high school

maybe a athlon x4 640 or something would fit the job real nice. I'd get 8gg of ram and 2 1tb hdd in raid. I'm no expert but it seems reasonable... right?

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCateg...e=KVM-Switches


HA!


At my dad's work (Hormel Foods) they have a 4 quad i7 servers that runs 8 VM's a piece with like 72gbs of ram. It's running citrix and people from all over the United States connect to them...
post #10 of 17
do they have to be virtual pc's?
budget?
    
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