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

  • To: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • From: "Fajar A. Nugraha" <list@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 22:00:54 +0700
  • Delivery-date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 08:05:22 -0700
  • List-id: Xen user discussion <xen-users.lists.xensource.com>

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 9:38 PM, Braindead <Braindead@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> 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 use VMWare workstation at work

Ah, that might explain it. Did you know that Vmware has vsphere
hypervisor (ESXi)? :D

>, I use virtualbox on Linux a bit.  I only mention VMWare to note that I'm 
>used to the concepts of VM's.  I prefer running *nix, Gentoo to be precise.
> My home server is running a ton of services (subversion, mail, http, backup, 
> router, ossec, nagios, dns, dhcp..etc) and for sanity's sake I'd like to 
> break that up into multiple servers.  I also need a few windows boxes 
> (various configs, versions).
> Goal is to consolidate things into one box, and have a complete backup box as 
> well.  Thus virtualization.  The XEN 'near bare metal' performance is what 
> I'm interested in, and definitely into optimizing every aspect I can which is 
> why I use a source distro.

We actually did some internal benchmark before deploying some servers
with virtualization (mainly for database). The benchmark was using fio
(mainly for randomrw) and sysbench. In short, performance-wise, RHEL5
+ kernel-xen in xen setup has almost the same performance with RHEL5
(native kernel) in ESXi. Since these servers will be managed by people
which are not-so-comfortable using command line tools, and we don't
need more than 4 core per virtual server, we ended up going with ESXi.

YMMV, so if you're interested in choices better run your own tests.

>> 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
>> RAM and SATA III.
> Many include system monitoring and alerting capabilities in the BIOS (or at 
> least used to, it's been a while since I've worked on server grade hardware).

ah, yes, I forgot about ILOs and such :)
>From my experience though, remote console and remote reboot are the
features mostly used (which, to some extent, can be replaced with KVM
over IP). Alerting capabilites, not so much.

>> 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".
> Isn't that what the 'hybrid' drives are?

Kinda. flashcache lets you mix any kind of SSD of any size with any
kind of HDD, so you have greater control.

> I'd think those would work outta the box, should look just like a regular 
> drive to the OS I'd think?

They should. If you've got one of them I recommend try it out.
flashcache benchmark [1] seems very good, so if the hybrid drives can
come close to that within a reasonable price tag they'd be a hit.



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