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[Xen-users] Multiseat workstation with one VM per user

  • To: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • From: "Luis P. Mendes" <luislupe@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2014 12:38:55 +0000
  • Delivery-date: Wed, 31 Dec 2014 12:40:20 +0000
  • List-id: Xen user discussion <xen-users.lists.xen.org>

Hi list,

Right now, I have a weak Atom serving NFS as a file and backup server, as well as a couple of more services, httpd being one of them. It runs FreeBSD. And there are two laptops, almost always running 24/7, one with Slackware (dealing with lots of data, databases and programming, mainly), another using Ubuntu (for office, web browsing, youtube, vlc, etc...).

So, for my SOHO, I was thinking to buy a AMD FX-8320 processor and other hardware, as I need more disk space and want to have a faster workflow which is not achieved with the two laptops. I could substitute the small server and the two laptops with just one computer running 24/7. The alternative would be to buy a new laptop...

The setup I though would be like this:

- the AMD eight core workstation,

- 16GB of RAM

- base system (dom0) as lean as possible, just for Xen

- one Slackware VM and one Ubuntu VM with direct access to hardware via PV

- other VMs for occasional use, which can run in virtualized hardware.

- three fanless graphic cards, for example AMD Radeon 6450. One for base system (could be a cheaper one), and one dedicated (passthrough) to Slackware VM, and similar for the third one for the Ubuntu VM. Iâd be using HDMI as the output interface for the two VMs and VGA for the base system, in case of necessity.

I've read http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Xen_VGA_Passthrough and http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Xen_VGA_Passthrough_Tested_Adapters

but still would like your opinions, as itâs my first time with Xen and Iâm not fully aware of all the corners I could face.

Now, what Iâd like to know:

1. Is Slackware 14.1 or current with the xen package from http://slackbuilds.org/repository/14.1/system/xen/ as stable as Slackware without it? Iâve been using Slackware for ten years as a rock solid Linux. Would I gain anything in having another OS as dom0? Is NetBSD up to the task?

2. As a multiseat workstation, Iâd have to configure Xorg to use a keyboard, a mouse and a screen with a graphic device? As Iâd like to have native performance for each of the two VMs, how should I configure Xorg? How can each of us have the same keyboard, mouse, graphic card and monitor with native graphics speed attached to each VM all the time?

3. What PCIe slots do I need for the fanless graphic cards? 16X? 4X? Or 1x is sufficient not to be constrained and use full power of such fanless cards? I could use at least one for GPU programming in order to speed up data treatment in the future.

4. Iâd like to have dedicated disk partitions for each VM. I think there should be no problem about this, am I correct?

5. Can I dedicate CPU cores to each VM?

6. Iâve read that itâs more stable to passthrough usb devices individually, than usb host controllers. Is this still the case? As Iâd like each of the two of us to have two USB 3.0 ports in exclusivety.

7. (repetition)Â Is NetBSD with its lower power requirements up to this task?

In conclusion:

One workstation, with native disk and graphic card access to each of the two main VMs running as fast as it they were native.

What else would you advise me?

Thanks for your time,


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