Getting Started - update regularly

Discussion in 'Virtualized Computing' started by MahoganySoapbox, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    Evening everyone. With the holidays here I decided to update my home server and transition some of the computing tasks in the house over to virtualization. I'm open to any advice you may offer and do have some questions. I don't have any training/knowledge beyond using Ubuntu Linux as a secondary OS for trying it out and gaming. My goal is to be open with my build log, successes, and failures.

    A while back I used a spare computer and some extra drives for Windows Home Server 2011. Then I transitioned to FreeNAS so that my wife, who uses only Apple Hardware, would be able to access and backup files. This led to concerns about the reliability of our data with old drives and a re-purposed desktop (those FreeNAS forums make it sound like a sneeze will corrupt your data). So I've been transitioning to workstation/server grade hardware with the goal of improving our storage, virtualizing a Steam Machine & possibly PLEX for the house, as well as a personal goal of a remotely accessing a VM while away.

    My family exchanged gifts early this year so I'm putting on some finishing touches in the coming weeks.
    Supermicro X9SCM-F
    Intel G2030
    2 x 4GB Samsung ECC DDR3 1333
    Rosewill RSV L4500 Chassis
    4 x 2TB HGST A7K2000 Ultrastar Drives
    Miscellaneous extra drives for scratch disks
    Dell PERC H310 flashed to 9211-8i IT p20

    I really liked the build quality of this, but mostly because it was sturdier than many towers I've worked in.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Room for 15 Drives and plenty of space
    [​IMG]

    Not the best routing but those 4-pin Molex cords were inconvenient
    [​IMG]

    Ready to close up, for now.
    [​IMG]

    Some things I learned today.
    • IPMI is fantastic!
    • G2030 will need to be replaced quickly
    • 8gb of RAM will not be enough
    • Flashing the H310 was easier than I expected, thanks TechMattr!
    • Breakout cables are directional, forward breakout cables on order
    • Unmanaged switches aren't that useful, need to find a managed one for teaming


    Now I have some questions.

    1. 16gb or 32gb of RAM
    2. UnRaid or ESXi
    3. E3-1220v2, E3-1240v2, or go crazy E3-1270v2
    4. PFsense for home networking?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  2. Shockey

    Shockey [H]ard|Gawd

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    1.32GB
    2. I like ESXI but that me
    3. depends on what you plan to run
    4. depends on what you want to do again. :p
     
  3. TType85

    TType85 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I agree with your list, except change #2 to the same answer as #3.

    I am currently running unraid 6 on a way over powered box but one thing I like over ESXi is the docker containers. I have plex, sonar, nzbget, guacamole, unifi controller and other stuff as dockers that don't need their own VM. The VM's on it are KVM and their management tools are pretty barebones. The other downside is if you take down the array, your VM's and Dockers go down too.

    ESXi has better management tools and handles PFSense much better too. You could do a All In One once you replace the CPU with one that does VT-d.

    Proxmox is also worth looking at for VM software.

    For the CPU, I would do at least a E3-1230v2, if your budget allows, go with the e3-1270v2. I have never seen anyone say their VM server was too fast ;)
     
  4. Azuroth

    Azuroth n00bie

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    Now I have some questions.

    1. 16gb or 32gb of RAM
    2. UnRaid or ESXi
    3. E3-1220v2, E3-1240v2, or go crazy E3-1270v2
    4. PFsense for home networking?


    1 - You really can never have to much RAM, but if your not planning on playing around with different things and just want a centralized home network. 16GB should be plenty for all your needs.

    2. ESXi is my personal favorite, mainly due to amount of exposure I have to it. Proxmox could be a viable solution for you (it is free). I must defer to others about unRaid 6 though.

    3, Depends on what you want to do.

    4. I'm currently running pfsense at home for my FW and really the only issue i've had is trying to get a DHCP from my ISP after an unexpected shutdown. Since it's a home network.... i'm not to big on redundancy.
     
  5. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    Well the forward breakout cables arrived the other day and now everything is up and running smoothly. Continuing to run FreeNAS while I accumulate parts and play around with VM's on my main PC try different configurations.

    [​IMG]
    Cable Matters delivered by Amazon. Really nice quality, imho

    Kinda frustrated that while I was at work earlier an eBay auction slipped by with a e3-1240v2 and right now all of the prices are too greedy. Similar feeling about some 16gb Ram sets but I'm watching for a nice set of 4x8gb sticks instead of differing pairs.

    I have no reason to believe (following internet research & not real expereince) that a riser card for PCIe x8 to the PCIe x16 of the GPU will cause graphics issues. Let me ask, as I'd like to use Steam OS on this box for streaming (I have an R9-280X sitting around) should I be concerned about this X9SCM-F?

    Before I go deeper into the build should I switch to an Asus P8Z77-WS?
     
  6. dilidolo

    dilidolo Limp Gawd

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    Asus WS series isn't bad but there are some compatibility issues with them, actually with any Asus boards.

    My Intel P3700 SSD doesn't work with any Asus boards, being it regular or WS boards. (Intel 750 works), or at best it only works in certain PCI-E slot. However, P3700 works with any of my Supermicro boards on any PCI-E slots, even a 5 yrs old one.

    Asus boards are also picky on RAM.
     
  7. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    Today I've spent some time moving cables around and installing an SSD I've used reliably in my main PC. I installed and tinkered with ESXi as well as I could through instructional videos but I'm afraid the price of using it is too much for me. My guess is that I'd need to enroll in some classes at the community college to get a nice student discount and some better experience with it.

    So I've installed Unraid and I'm trying that out for a few days to see what I can do. Then I'll try out Proxmox around the start of the New Year.

    To keep myself busy as things install and reboot and beep codes I bake as well. One loaf of bread, one free-form loaf, and one Honey Spice Cake. With the latter baking now and the former two finishing their rising.
     
  8. Rody

    Rody Limp Gawd

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    esxi has a free version that works great for most basic setups. https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi6

    I have played with a few other setups and for the things I do with my server as a basic all in one, esxi is much simpler. I am looking to build a proxmox/unraid server at some point for a multiple pcie pass-through gaming station.... but that is a different situation.
     
  9. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    Wow, it has been a while. I forgot about this thread after some frustrations but I should've asked for help back then instead.

    I did upgrade and improve things. I settled into Unraid after trying some environements and learning a bit.
    • I learned that I didn't pick it up as quickly as I first though
    • Trying to balance mistakes from learning with a stable environment became very important
    • When in doubt, add more
    So I'm now running an Asus P88-E4L with an E3-1275 & 32GB ECC. It affords the room to add a GPU to the PCI-E slot the Supermicro X9SCM-F lacked.
     
  10. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    I've run into trouble with setting up Steam OS using my old R9 280X, it always black screens or doesn't seem to run properly. Poor ol' Steam OS always showed so much promise.

    I picked up a Steam Link at the holidays and ever since I've been thinking of transferring my GPU and such to my box and running an always on Windows VM. Is it always better to clean install or is it just fine to copy my current configuration and save some time?

    Are there any driver hiccups or issues I should watch for during the setup?
     
  11. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    http://imgur.com/a/kSAG1

    I began the migration from my gaming rig to my server. I'm going to start by moving my 780Ti and then playing around with a few virtualized OS's regularly. I feel I'll run into more practical problems and work around them through trial and error.
     
  12. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    So I had difficulty getting the 780Ti to pass-through and swapped it back into my gaming PC and slipped the 280X back into the server. Still had difficulty and decided to start from scratch. Questions I had to ask myself and find an answer to this morning...

    1. What is the difference between SeaBIOS & OVMF
    2. What is the difference between i440fx & Q35
    Always something new to learn. Once I experiment with a few more installations & various settings I'll probably swap the 780Ti back in and try some more.
     
  13. MahoganySoapbox

    MahoganySoapbox Limp Gawd

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    You can never have enough cooling. The Shadow Rock LP replaces a Dynatron k666 & the F8 fans were added for some PWM exhaust
    [​IMG]