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Re: [Xen-users] New to Xen, looking for advice regarding system configuration

  • To: Xen User-List <xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • From: "Fajar A. Nugraha" <list@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 21:08:37 +0700
  • Delivery-date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 07:11:07 -0700
  • List-id: Xen user discussion <xen-users.lists.xensource.com>

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 7:59 PM, Braindead <Braindead@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> My main purpose would be to support my software development and consulting 
> work.  So I need to be able to run various OS's.  I don't develop games so no 
> need for any fancy graphics.  I'm used to the limitations of virtual machines 
> (use VMWare a lot for dev purposes) and I'm fairly sure Xen can do everything 
> I need.

You haven't said why you want to move away from vmware. If we know
what your priorities are, we might be able to give better advice. For
example, if you're used to vmware-style GUI, but want an open-source
license, XCP might be a better choice. But it you want something you
can tinker, or use bleeding-edge technology, then starting with a
distro that includes Xen would be a better choice.

> I expect to have 2-3 virtual machines running most of the time, possibly 2 
> working hard (for example restoring a gig+ database backup on one while 
> programming/doing other tasks on another).  I'll be purchasing 2 identical 
> machines one as a backup, so I don't need any extra 'robustness' that a 
> server motherboard/system would provide.  Which leads into the following 
> question.
> Would it make sense to spend extra bucks on a multi processor motherboard 
> rather than going with a single Core i7 or the like?  I think there are i/o 
> bandwidth benefits with multi processor boards,

Is there?

IIRC the main selling point of server-grade motherborad used to be the
ability to use ECC RAM. But now some motherboards for i7 support ECC

> however due to a lot of database grinding I tend to do I suspect that disk 
> i/o is a limiting factor in my case which I'll try to deal with somewhat by 
> RAID0 over 4-5 fast drives.  I don't need any redundancy as all variable data 
> (code and the like) is on remote servers and already fully backed up.

... which brings another point. If you know you're I/O-starved anyway,
why not use SSD? Pure SSD implementation can easily give 10-100x IOPS
of HDD. And since you say you'll have an identical machine as backup,
if you're worried about SSD lifetime, you can have HDD on the backup

Another option would be using SSD as cache, with something like
facebook's flashcache. This setup would reduce the possibility of data
loss (since SSD will only be cache), and have the additional benefit
of higher capacity (compared to pure SSD setup), but is also more
complex and (depending on how you look at it) "experimental".

> Do folks generally install X11 on Dom0 so they can get a gui VNC/remote 
> desktop into Windows DomU machines?  Or is there some other mechanism 
> available?

Generally speaking you don't need full-blown X desktop on dom0. It can
be headless with "minimum" software installed. VNC console of domU is
provided by QEMU, not by X desktop on dom0.


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