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[Xen-users] Looking for tips: building a workstation around Xen and GPU pass-through

  • To: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • From: "Mgr. Šimon Tóth" <toth@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 18:13:24 +0200
  • Delivery-date: Tue, 17 May 2011 09:14:42 -0700
  • List-id: Xen user discussion <xen-users.lists.xensource.com>

I'm building my new home machine right now and as usual this will be a
heavily overloaded workstation that will serve as development and
testing machine, file server and game console (plus I'm adding TV cards
and multimedia streaming for my home network).

Since these use cases work against each other (file server is
unavailable when the machine is used as game console), I'm heavily
considering the use of Xen to provide everything at once. Performance
shouldn't be an issue in general, but the game console use case
definitely requires direct access to a GPU.

Therefore I have several questions:

- is this feasible in general?
- is the GPU passthrough usable enough with non-server GPUs?
- when buying, what technologies should I look for on the motherboard
  (most likely choosing Gigabyte + Intel CPU again)
- is there some virtualization technology creeping on the horizon that
  is worth waiting for?
- how good is Xen at dividing resources?
  - the file-server and multimedia-streaming portion of the workstation
    has to work even if the game console part is eating 100% of its
    resources and vice-versa
- the system will run on top of 8 disks with software Raid6 and LVM,
  should I buy a dedicated disk for the game console portion of
  the system?
  - I have read about some problem with Xen and I/O performance

Any input will be greatly appreciated.

Mgr. Simon Toth

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