New ESXi with XBMC build "Zen"

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by MaximusSmurf, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. OP
    OP
    MaximusSmurf

    MaximusSmurf Member

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    Thanks. And yeah not really that expensive in the grand scheme of things. I didn't look into other NIC options. Will be setting up some VLAN tagging and using Pfsense for all internal routing. This can be done in/out the one NIC. I needed the PCI-E slot for video card, however if you didn't need that then you could grab a nice quad port Intel server NIC if you wanted to get hardcore about it.

    GPU passthrough requires your mobo and CPU to support VT-d. Can pretty much passthrough any PCI-E video card. Not directly mobo related. This is why I got this mobo as it supports VT-d and VT-x.

    The 120gb seems to be enough so far. Got all OS's on there (xbmc 8gb, pfsense 5gb, Win2012 app server 30gb and win2012 file server 30gb). Don't really want to be running OS's off mechanical drives. They are weapon fast running on the SSD.

    FYI noticed last night I can't use Raw device mapping for my 2tb data drives. The sata controller has to be support it which mine obviously doesn't. This means I have to move data off the drives, format and set them up as virtual disks then move the data back before they can be pushed out to a VM guest OS (file server).
     
  2. rkaid

    rkaid Member

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    Games changed i think. My impression of the new Xeons and mobo is that they idle like a trooper.

    Do it, a N36L is my current ESXi rig see LINK
    Had this setup on 5.0 for 6 months sipping 40w under 100% load (though its mostly ticking along at ~20%), almost silent. Never PSOD'd. IIS / Apache wiged out? No problems, all my other essential services continue. Messed up a couchpotato / ubuntu server config setup? No problems, revert snapshot. Wanna try that new service / application / RU pron site? No problems, non persistent disk, bam. I'm not going to touch on the plus's of security through segragated VLAN's, grainular firewall rules and being able to sandbox various setups. Physical NIC for vSphere Client access, other NIC's for production / DMZ's.

    The sell is this;
    1) ESXi @ home has accelerated my ability to build my IT skills like nothing else. I'm like a 12yo learning to program his parents VCR; i don't fear breaking things, so can work through the logic matrix of what works and what doesn't. Its like learning to juggle VS learning to fly a helicopter; which as a higher cost of failure?
    2) I support IT all day at work so saving time / having a bullet proof home setup is appreciated (as is lack of nagging housemate)
    3) Modern hardware means my N36L (and probably largeSmurfs Xeon) is costing less then $60/year in power.

    2 cents
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  3. trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

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    Interesting post, it's made me reconsider dedicated Server 08 on my N40L, to be honest. I'm a little more tempted to try ESXi now..

    And very interesting project the OP is doing. Some might call it overkill, but tbh I find running a Xeon on a mini ITX board pretty bloody mind blowing in its own right. :thumbup:

    And why not use VMs? Something goes boom with one of them and it takes seconds to fix.
     
  4. aza2001

    aza2001 Member

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    I did a similar thing with my media centre.


    Basically what I did was got a:

    P9X79 board
    CPU to fit (i7)
    32GIG of ram

    cheap graphics card

    Threw it all together with old psu and hdds I had

    Put win 7 with xbmc, threw vmware workstation 9, and then ontop esx i 5.1

    performance is awesome!

    I even have ISCSI working through to my microserver


    As all the decoding is done on the graphics card when playing content the cpu works quite well with ~ 15 VM's...

    Soon I hope to get another 32gig of ram in the machine :)
     
  5. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    Windows SBS... seen it in 100's of small companies, I know its not Linux but it single use appliance mentality is for selling lisences not common sense.
     
  6. rkaid

    rkaid Member

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    Very interesting, you've used Win7 on the bottom instead of Esxi, for better hardware support... That's a "paid for", license of workstation you are using though right?
     
  7. aza2001

    aza2001 Member

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    Yes everything is licensed appropriately as its all a tax deduction anyways since I work in the industry and using for my home lab :)
     
  8. rkaid

    rkaid Member

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    Great idea, if only I had a WS lic :) happy NY
     
  9. aza2001

    aza2001 Member

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    I think I got the VMware workstation licensing for ~$200-300... Used the trial first though.
     
  10. Fedr0

    Fedr0 Member

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    I find it interesting that everybody thinks so much of the licenses of the OSes and doesn't basically give a crap about movies and tv shows. :Pirate:
     
  11. aza2001

    aza2001 Member

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    I guess I'd be the rare case where I either stream from Hulu/ Netflix or have the content already on blue ray/ DVD

    But yes I would have to agree...
     
  12. silenthunter

    silenthunter Member

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    OT I know but everybody is a white knight on the forums so they don't cop crap from other white knights. I'd suspect the amount of people pirating software would be higher than the forum would have you believe.

    I think the project is a cool concept and I'm impressed you've got it working. Keen to try something similar as I've just played with esx in a VMware workstation environment on my laptop so far. You could be really silly and add a second physical host and use some HA functionality in vsphere. Would be fun to have a highly available xbmc instance if possible ;)

    Have you done anything with shared storage using OpenFiler or similar yet?
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  13. OP
    OP
    MaximusSmurf

    MaximusSmurf Member

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    I've had some issue with mine. Had it all setup running quite well, xbmc, file server, app server all working fine. Then the system hung, wouldn't come back up, gave esxi errors on boot. Decided to try and reinstall esxi, seemed easier then repairing. Now the exact same method of installation wasn't working. Would either hang loading off usb key or wouldn't find NIC and would halt install... very strange.

    Tried a variety of different esxi builds. 5.0, 5.0 update 1 and 5.1 with a few different drivers I'd found for my NIC around the interwebs... still no go.

    Attemped to updated bios from original 68 to the newest 104. This went through successfully however it hung whenever entering the bios menu. Went to slightly older 103, now it reboots when entering bios... odd. Went back to 68 and it mostly works, except for esxi installing. Ran through a variety of other bits and pieces over the next 1-2 weeks (was driving me pretty mental at this stage). Cleared CMOS's several times along the way.

    Decided board was faulty, took it back to PCCG. That was 2.5 weeks ago now. They had it for almost a week before being able to intermittently fault it. Now it's "awaiting distributor response" to try and get it replaced.

    With any luck I'll have it back next week and will be able to start setting up everything again.

    Got a HP Procurve switch off a mate for testing PFsense to make sure I can get it all setup the way I want before I go and buy one.

    I do like aza2001's idea of running Win7 with workstation + esxi over the top. Cool way to do it for hardware functionality.

    I've also though about moving to HP microserver a couple of time but I'm afraid I'll need more processing power with XBMC running on it. I imagine anything with FLAC audio (which some of my anime movies are) will destroy the little cpu in those things.
     
  14. rkaid

    rkaid Member

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    I put it down to one a super complex product thats taken a huge amount of time and IP to create. Its a tool used by millions for productivity or business.

    The other is a mash of pretty people who'v read and retained a script :)
     
  15. CaptainBlame

    CaptainBlame Member

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    I can do this with my setup without using virtualization. Not that you guys care but ill share my configuration anyway.

    At home I run a bare metal FreeBSD box with zfs and jails. Installed on the os is the graphical components only which is X11, fluxbox and xbmc. This lives on my zfs root pool.

    Then I run jailed services located on my storage zfs pool. I achieve isolation on a physical and software level doing it this way.

    So I can snapshot, template my jailed services. I can migrate my jails to a new host etc.
     
  16. Fedr0

    Fedr0 Member

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    Don't get me wrong, almost 15 teras worth of HD movies and tv shows in my media center are everything but legal. Except for the OS, games on Steam and the subscription to Rdio and FilmOn everything else is blatantly pirated loaned on my NAS.
    I was just pointing the fact that everybody was thinking only about the licenses of the host and guest machines.

    You just made my day, thank you sir! :D
     
  17. rkaid

    rkaid Member

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    Tbh if I knew how to do this / had the time to attack the steep learning curve, would love to do this. Its conceptually elegant (if as secure and time efficient as you indicate)....
    ...but I don't and funking with a base OS thats been around for over a decade and a VM setup saves me huge amounts of time at home.
     
  18. CaptainBlame

    CaptainBlame Member

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    My setup is more secure because it doesn't have virtual devices (and whatever other voodoo magic the virtual layer is doing) that can be exploited. Many people incorrectly believe virtualization adds security.

    Since the jails are not full os installs updating them is simple, most of the time taken is updating the underlying OS.

    The mistake most people make with their home servers is they don't document it. Then years down the track they forget what they have done and the system becomes a mystery.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  19. aza2001

    aza2001 Member

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    I'd hate to say it but I think your wrong in the statement above about how virtualization is "not secure"

    It's similar to saying your tires are less likely to slip in the wet than mine because they have chunky tread.

    Depending how you setup your OS's, passthrough methods etc, it would be near impossible to touch the underlying OS depending on the configuration and segmentation. I'm not saying its impossible but your system would have similar risks especially if you only use 1 nic...


    There was an article in the business/ enterprise part of the forum a few years back I remember with this exact topic so without going down the exact same path you should revamp the discussion there before we get off topic
     
  20. Dropbear

    Dropbear Member

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    pardon me for sticking my nose in where it's not wanted but i think this is ridiculous overkill, two Windows Servers??? Why split the file serving from the other tasks? it's not like you're using something like Solaris and ZFS which might warrant such a thing..

    who wants their HTPC running 24/7 anyway?

    perfect example of using a hammer to crack an egg.
     

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