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esxi 5.0 pointers

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I want to take the plunge and migrate my Tower to an esxi setup.

 

Can someone point me to a thread somewhere I could use in a "howto" setup ? I have done some googling but have not been able to find a suitable one.

 

I guess I will have to add a drive that will be the bootdrive for this ? (kind of a base question, I can lay in an order for one then, would a 256gb ssd suffice ?). Any comments on my cpu (see sig), will it be powerfull enough to handle something like 4 vm's (linux) combined with 16gb ? I will not be running anything big, basically I want to spread my media server functionality over a few vm's to increase stability.

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Your specs are fine - have a read of Johnm's Atlas thread in the UCD forum for some good step-by-steps.

 

My only recommendation is you go for a vmdk boot image rather than a plop-based boot. (Will make sense after consuming his thread - set aside an afternoon (or two lol) to read it)

 

 

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Right !

 

I took the plunge and the Atlas thread is really helpfull. I moved a 120GB ssd out of my desktop (exchanged it with a 180gb, it was getting full anyway) and put it in my  unraid box.

 

Installed esxi as per the instructions in the atlas thread, I installed towards the SSD instead of towards a usb drive, as far as I understand I can use the ssd for datastor also.

 

What seems neat now is that I can choose between running esxi and unraid by changing the boot priority in the bios. And as soon as  have unraid working as a VM I will therefor be able to (by changing boot method) switch between bare metal unraid and usb.

 

This would however only be possible if I use hardware passthru and this is what you are advising me not to do, I will dive into the thread again to see whats best.

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Mmm... "host does not support passthru".... VT-D is enabled in the bios and I did leave the system off for a bit with power disconnected (read somewhere that that might be needed to effectuate vt-d)..

 

Anyone any idea ?

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Seriously ? That is a dissapointment :-(

 

The Intel I3-1230 V2 seems to be my best bet now, would you agree ?  Or is there a cheaper alternative.

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And its here !  Now to wait untill monday when the kids are out so I can get it in :-)

 

Beginning of next week also my next sata card should be arriving so I can move all array drives to them and give them passthru.

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And its in.... I will wait a few hours to see if temps remain stable.. Installation could have been a bit easier, my case makes it necessary to remove the complete motherboard in order to change the cpu.

 

Tomorrow my second MV8 card can be picked up at fedex (just missed them this morning, otherwise it would have been in allready). Then I will move all my drives to the expansion cards and continue on the esxi road. With the new processor I should be able to use vt-d passthru to assign the controllers dedicated to the vmware instance for unraid.

 

Plan is to first just set over the current situation, see if it remains stable and then setup a second vm to run couchpotato, sickbeard, sabnzbd and transmission. I will run only cache_dirs and -possibly- airvideo in the unraid vm to keep that as stock as possible.

 

I am also planning to setup a seperate VM specifically for pre-clearing drives, I will need to buy an inexpensive but working 2 port SATA adaptor for that so I can pass it to that VM. Can anyone recommend one that will work with esxi and unraid ?

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And its in.... I will wait a few hours to see if temps remain stable.. Installation could have been a bit easier, my case makes it necessary to remove the complete motherboard in order to change the cpu.

 

Tomorrow my second MV8 card can be picked up at fedex (just missed them this morning, otherwise it would have been in allready). Then I will move all my drives to the expansion cards and continue on the esxi road. With the new processor I should be able to use vt-d passthru to assign the controllers dedicated to the vmware instance for unraid.

 

Plan is to first just set over the current situation, see if it remains stable and then setup a second vm to run couchpotato, sickbeard, sabnzbd and transmission. I will run only cache_dirs and -possibly- airvideo in the unraid vm to keep that as stock as possible.

 

I am also planning to setup a seperate VM specifically for pre-clearing drives, I will need to buy an inexpensive but working 2 port SATA adaptor for that so I can pass it to that VM. Can anyone recommend one that will work with esxi and unraid ?

 

Separate VM specifically for pre clearing isnt a bad idea.... maybe i should do this lol

 

Anyway, I have two of these: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10407&cs_id=1040702&p_id=2530

 

I tested yesterday that I am able to pass through these cards to my unraid machine without any special hacks like MV8 needs.. but didn't try anything else.

Just tested to see if i could pass through them and i was able to..

 

------------------

 

Side note:

 

Do you think it's really good idea to have another vm to run sabnzbd and transmission?

 

I was thinking that couchpotato and sickbeard can probably be moved to another vm..

however, dont you think leaving sabnzbd and transmission in unraid is a good idea since you don't have to copy over what you are downloading through network and maybe better performance from downloading to the file server directly?

 

idk. just a thought lol this is why i havent moved them away from my unraid vm yet

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The advantage of having as many plugins not on unRAID is that it reduces the likelihood of stability issues within unRAID itself.

 

Yes it does take a bit longer to move the files around once they're complete, but knowing that any instability within the Sab/SickBeard/whatever software shouldn't be able to take my array down is comforting.

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The advantage of having as many plugins not on unRAID is that it reduces the likelihood of stability issues within unRAID itself.

 

Yes it does take a bit longer to move the files around once they're complete, but knowing that any instability within the Sab/SickBeard/whatever software shouldn't be able to take my array down is comforting.

 

That's a very good point.

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Do you think it's really good idea to have another vm to run sabnzbd and transmission?

 

I was thinking that couchpotato and sickbeard can probably be moved to another vm..

however, dont you think leaving sabnzbd and transmission in unraid is a good idea since you don't have to copy over what you are downloading through network and maybe better performance from downloading to the file server directly?

 

idk. just a thought lol this is why i havent moved them away from my unraid vm yet

 

As far as I understand (but remember, I have only done txt reasearch sofar) esxi provides you with a kind of virutal network adaptor that looks like a network adaptor to the VM but actually will keep the traffic within the machine, I cannot imagine that system beiing slower then NNTP downloads or Torrents so I do not expect something to be slower to be honoust... Writing in unraid is seriously slowed due to the parity system, I am expecting that to be a much larger (yet accepted) bottleneck).

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The advantage of having as many plugins not on unRAID is that it reduces the likelihood of stability issues within unRAID itself.

 

Yes it does take a bit longer to move the files around once they're complete, but knowing that any instability within the Sab/SickBeard/whatever software shouldn't be able to take my array down is comforting.

 

Exactly... To be perfectly honoust a year ago I did some torrents when I wanted to see something really good and I downloaded some series I could not see in the NL. Since I moved to Unraid I got introduced to SABnzbd, Couchpotato and Sickbeard, I also made the move to start using NNTP.

 

I am adding more and more functionality to this "media box", that has become a lot more then just storage. Now it has to be said: it works ! But I have come to realise that I am MIXING nice-to-have stuff with core functionality like available data.. Some new plugins actually caused issues with other plugins causing me to spend a weekend on installing stuff anew. I want to be away from that scenario and in any case, I do not want my storage to be unavailable because I am rebooting mu system 5 times a day to fix plugin issues..

 

From that point on I could see 3 scenarios:

 

1) Get another physical box and offload flanking applications (sab, couch, sick) to that box

2) Keep my current setup (it works!), do not add anything new and do not update stuff

3) Transform my box to esXI and go virtual (like 1, but with 1 box)

 

1) is not an option, I do not want the extra watts (I am a bit of an energysaver as a hobby)

2) is not an option, stuff in IT just is not "never changing"

3) dont know if it actually will work, but if it does it looks golden.

 

So I am going for 3) and if that doesn't work I will choose 2) as long as it will work.

 

3) sofar is looking promissing, I have been able to install esxi pretty easy, only could not use passthru due to my i3 2120T. So I made a deal with my folks, I am building them a new pc (was allready a project I needed to pick up), I will give them my 2120 and go to a Xenon myself. This has been done today.

 

I need to be able to passthru all my drives but not the esxi ones, this also fell into place with a new MV8 I ordered from Newegg a couple of weeks ago (before all of this started), initially I needed it to provide new sata ports for my 5in3. This new MV8 I will pickup tomorrow and install it somewhere this week. Then I should be able to create and unraid VM... With any luck it will work and I will live it in its current state (But vméd) for a week or so to see if it works. Then I will build a second ubuntu VM and start moving functionality from unraid to the new VM..

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As far as I understand (but remember, I have only done txt reasearch sofar) esxi provides you with a kind of virutal network adaptor that looks like a network adaptor to the VM but actually will keep the traffic within the machine, I cannot imagine that system beiing slower then NNTP downloads or Torrents so I do not expect something to be slower to be honoust... Writing in unraid is seriously slowed due to the parity system, I am expecting that to be a much larger (yet accepted) bottleneck).

 

I see.

I just switched over to esxi set up and wasn't sure what would be practical and what makes sense.

This is something to think about.

 

btw yes. you are right that it basically creates a virtual switch (vSwitch, they call it).

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Separate VM specifically for pre clearing isnt a bad idea.... maybe i should do this lol

 

Anyway, I have two of these: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10407&cs_id=1040702&p_id=2530

 

I tested yesterday that I am able to pass through these cards to my unraid machine without any special hacks like MV8 needs.. but didn't try anything else.

Just tested to see if i could pass through them and i was able to..

 

Thanks !  I hopshopgo'd one just now, I'll let you know how it works out !

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Just on the vswitch /plug in bit.

 

Data will be transfered on the vswitch. I but I'm certain only bottleneck will be the hard drive. As everything stays on the physical box.

 

 

I'm doing a similar setup with a utm firewall (untangle)that  looks good (they have a ovf /esxi version) They have a lite version which is free. I should/ expect to have it running over the weekend.

 

So all my servers / desktops will be on esxi. I have from a cheap laptop will rdp to virtual desktop. So in theory wife and children will have their own virtual pc!

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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And unraid writes are MUCH slower then harddisk speed so there will be no added bottleneck by using vswitch (vmexnet3 seems to be advised)

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I am considering moving to ESxi, have moderate Linux knowledge. I do not think the cpu and mobo support VT-d but they dp support vt-x. Is this an option for me to consider?

 

My current setup is quite unstable, guess some conflicts with plugins. My primary requirements are SAB, utorrent (or torrent with ability to label and move files to subdirectories accordingly), couch potato and Logitech slimserver.

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You really want VT-d to take full advantage of virtualised unRAID.  You can do it without it, but I am of the opinion that the RDM method sucks :P  (See Johnm's Atlas thread for an explanation of how that works.)

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Just did a quick check and started esxi, it no accepts passthru so the processor swap worked. In the meantime hopshopgo has sent me my second MV8 and the SAS cables I found out I needed yesterday were delivered today. All is ready to setup, now to find the time, might be monday next, probably not tomorrow as that is daddy-day.

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Could not resist, I just installed the second MV8 and have moved over one disk to see if it works.

 

I am pretty amazed by the way the two cards work, without any configuration they are aware of each other, its not like its two cards doing there own thing, start up sequence is integrated.

 

Unraid started without any issues. I need to open up the case a bit more to move over the other drives, I'll be able to do that tonight I think.

 

Also took the opportunity to exchange the fan ony my cooler for an even more quiet one based on PWM. Fan is running so low (and low cpu temps) that I think i can just disable it like I did with my 2120T.

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