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ESXi 5.x - pre-built VMDK for unRAID

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As much as I liked using a VMDK to boot unRAID, you guys should look into PXE booting.  I am LOVING IT!!!  Whenever an new version is released, all I have to do is replace the bzroot and bzimage files in my unraid TFTP folder and restart (much like updating your flash dive).  Doesn't get any easier.  If something barfs...just put the old files back.

 

Granted...it is not nearly as fast as booting from a VMDK (especially on an SSD as I was) but it is also very acceptable.

 

John

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As much as I liked using a VMDK to boot unRAID, you guys should look into PXE booting.  I am LOVING IT!!!  Whenever an new version is released, all I have to do is replace the bzroot and bzimage files in my unraid TFTP folder and restart (much like updating your flash dive).  Doesn't get any easier.  If something barfs...just put the old files back.

 

Granted...it is not nearly as fast as booting from a VMDK (especially on an SSD as I was) but it is also very acceptable.

 

John

 

I like PXE boot too, it also requires a DHCP and TFTP server somewhere.

Sure would be great if we could get a statically compiled TFTP server on ESX... Hmmm sound like a fun project.

 

Although updating a .vmdk is trivial also.

 

While you are in unRAID, telnet in.

wget the newest unRAID .zip archive.

 

rename current bzroot to bzroot.versionnumber, rename current bzimage to bzimage.versionnumber.

or use .bak

i.e.

 

mv bzroot bzroot.bak

mv bzimage bzimage.bak

 

(I happen to use version numbers).

Update the syslinux.cfg to add an entry.

 

Then

unzip unraid.zip bzimage

unzip unraid.zip bzroot

 

reboot.

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We use PXE boot at work to boot a lot of our development ESXi hosts - it IS very cool, but I don't intend to implement it in my home lab.  It's only a 2 minute job to replace the bz files in the vmdk.

 

 

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We use PXE boot at work to boot a lot of our development ESXi hosts - it IS very cool, but I don't intend to implement it in my home lab.  It's only a 2 minute job to replace the bz files in the vmdk.

 

 

I used it on an old Kuro box. (remember those?) I put all of my boot floppy images and removed all the floppy drives from my network.  It's good for those times you need to boot a floppy image with a bios update.

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Sorry, I don't see any advantage at all to an ova/ovf vs the vmdk, other than new users having to do a little less the first time around.

 

No great advantage other than its the recommended way to do it and requires the user to know very little about ESX. Likely not many, if any,  here fall into that camp. It used to be nice when you could just click via the appliance centre though.

 

SUnless for some reason a vmdk becomes corrupt, there are no downsides to simply removing it from the VM and adding a new one.

 

Horses for coarses. I prefer to work with the OS after it exists.

 

Not sure why you would snapshot an unRAID VM.. all the important files still remain on the USB stick.

Snapshot between OS upgrades if you do it the OS rather than the vmdk way

 

Update: It occurred to me i never thanked you or congratulated you on your work. Nice work :)

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NAS, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one :)  I really can't see where you're coming from, but as you say, horses for courses.

 

ova's and ovf's are simply an alternative when deploying appliance-style applications, not best practice.  If unRAID could be fully self-contained within a virtual disk, then I'd definitely build and provide an appliance.. however as the majority of the content for unRAID needs to remain on a USB stick, I really struggle to see the point.

 

Not sure what you mean by working with the OS after it exists either?

 

I will comment on your last note though - you may or may not be aware that it is not best practice to maintain multiple snapshots of a VM.  Snapshotting is only really designed to take a current state prior to running upgrades etc. so you have a rollback point.  The more snapshots you have, the more you degrade your VM in terms of performance as the file system needs to parse multiple files (the original .vmdk and then each snapshot file.)  This issue can exacerbate itself the longer you maintain each snapshot - as unRAID is static in terms of the content (i.e. just the bzroot/bzimage) this wouldn't be quite so much of an issue as with an actual operating system, but still worth considering.

 

Of course if you have the right SAN setup with multiple LUNs and snapshot redirection, this becomes less of an issue ... however most people don't have this in a home environment.

 

See here for more information:  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1009402

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You are of coarse correct. I am just spoiled this now as I have a EMC VNX to play with

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haha you are indeed spoiled!  We use Equallogic kit at work, not quite the level of EMC but close.. wish I had a couple of units at home!

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johnodon>> can you elaborate more on how to setup PXE booting for unraid?

what do you use for PXE image server?

what is your VM config?

 

I have just got my self a quad-core Opteron server from TAMs.

and will be building out a new VM server using EXSi 5.1

was thinking of going XenServer route but can not find much info on how to do it, and I am not good with Linux to attempt such a feat on my own :-)

 

I am currently running  unRaid 5.0 beta13 and will be updating to 5.0 rc13 at the same time.

 

the idea is to end up with ESXi server running

1- pfsence VM to replace my router.  will use the router as wireless access point only.

 

1- unRaid VM with my current array moved to it as is

  the new server have  3 SAT2-MV8 Raid cards so one will be pass-through to unraid

  I am not planning to go beyond 3 drives for now (free license) , if all is working good I will eventially get a plus for 7 drives total to fill up the card.

 

1- Linux Mint (unless some one here can give me better recommendation) VM to run SubNzb+sick beard+coach potato + transmission

I know you can run this on unraid but since I will have the VM lab running might as well separate tasks. also this will allow me more opportunity to meddle with all this programs more freely without worry  of screwing up unraid setup.

 

1-possible VM for FOG server

1- PXE server (not now but some time in the future)

1- Windows (7) or (8) VM for admin tasks and testing as well as transcoding/converting the videos to MKV format as needed.

 

 

any suggestions will be appreciated...

 

 

P.S.  possible upgrades entail replacing the CPU with a pair of 6-core

and adding more RAM.

HDD  a side from those in unRaid, of course will be added as they become available. 

 

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johnodon>> can you elaborate more on how to setup PXE booting for unraid?

what do you use for PXE image server?

what is your VM config?

 

I have just got my self a quad-core Opteron server from TAMs.

and will be building out a new VM server using EXSi 5.1

was thinking of going XenServer route but can not find much info on how to do it, and I am not good with Linux to attempt such a feat on my own :-)

 

I am currently running  unRaid 5.0 beta13 and will be updating to 5.0 rc13 at the same time.

 

the idea is to end up with ESXi server running

1- pfsence VM to replace my router.  will use the router as wireless access point only.

 

1- unRaid VM with my current array moved to it as is

  the new server have  3 SAT2-MV8 Raid cards so one will be pass-through to unraid

  I am not planning to go beyond 3 drives for now (free license) , if all is working good I will eventially get a plus for 7 drives total to fill up the card.

 

1- Linux Mint (unless some one here can give me better recommendation) VM to run SubNzb+sick beard+coach potato + transmission

I know you can run this on unraid but since I will have the VM lab running might as well separate tasks. also this will allow me more opportunity to meddle with all this programs more freely without worry  of screwing up unraid setup.

 

1-possible VM for FOG server

1- PXE server (not now but some time in the future)

1- Windows (7) or (8) VM for admin tasks and testing as well as transcoding/converting the videos to MKV format as needed.

 

 

any suggestions will be appreciated...

 

 

P.S.  possible upgrades entail replacing the CPU with a pair of 6-core

and adding more RAM.

HDD  a side from those in unRaid, of course will be added as they become available.

 

I'll take this into a different thread to avoid highlacking.  Stay tuned...

 

John

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johnodon>> can you elaborate more on how to setup PXE booting for unraid?

what do you use for PXE image server?

what is your VM config?

 

I have just got my self a quad-core Opteron server from TAMs.

and will be building out a new VM server using EXSi 5.1

was thinking of going XenServer route but can not find much info on how to do it, and I am not good with Linux to attempt such a feat on my own :-)

 

I am currently running  unRaid 5.0 beta13 and will be updating to 5.0 rc13 at the same time.

 

the idea is to end up with ESXi server running

1- pfsence VM to replace my router.  will use the router as wireless access point only.

 

1- unRaid VM with my current array moved to it as is

  the new server have  3 SAT2-MV8 Raid cards so one will be pass-through to unraid

  I am not planning to go beyond 3 drives for now (free license) , if all is working good I will eventially get a plus for 7 drives total to fill up the card.

 

1- Linux Mint (unless some one here can give me better recommendation) VM to run SubNzb+sick beard+coach potato + transmission

I know you can run this on unraid but since I will have the VM lab running might as well separate tasks. also this will allow me more opportunity to meddle with all this programs more freely without worry  of screwing up unraid setup.

 

1-possible VM for FOG server

1- PXE server (not now but some time in the future)

1- Windows (7) or (8) VM for admin tasks and testing as well as transcoding/converting the videos to MKV format as needed.

 

 

any suggestions will be appreciated...

 

 

P.S.  possible upgrades entail replacing the CPU with a pair of 6-core

and adding more RAM.

HDD  a side from those in unRaid, of course will be added as they become available.

 

I'll take this into a different thread to avoid highlacking.  Stay tuned...

 

John

 

Can't wait to see your write up!

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1- Linux Mint (unless some one here can give me better recommendation) VM to run SubNzb+sick beard+coach potato + transmission

 

How would you transfers the files back to unRAID array after downloading from SubNzb on Linux Mint? I wonder what the speed like a well.

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Just mount unraid in that vm using nfs or (more likely, given the nfs issues at present) samba.

 

Speeds will depend but if you're going to a cache drive and have the nice 10G internal vmware networking setup correctly it should be more than adequate.

 

 

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Just mount unraid in that vm using nfs or (more likely, given the nfs issues at present) samba.

 

Speeds will depend but if you're going to a cache drive and have the nice 10G internal vmware networking setup correctly it should be more than adequate.

 

 

This is what I do. I use SMB for now because of said NFS issues. With the vmxnet3 10Gb virtual NIC you're going to get reads and writes as fast as your unraid disks can perform. Performing iperf speed tests between the two VMs show me getting 10.8 gigabits per second so we've got plenty of headroom before even the fastest SSD makes the network connection between the two VMs a speed bottleneck.

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johnodon>> can you elaborate more on how to setup PXE booting for unraid?

what do you use for PXE image server?

what is your VM config?

 

I have just got my self a quad-core Opteron server from TAMs.

and will be building out a new VM server using EXSi 5.1

was thinking of going XenServer route but can not find much info on how to do it, and I am not good with Linux to attempt such a feat on my own :-)

 

I am currently running  unRaid 5.0 beta13 and will be updating to 5.0 rc13 at the same time.

 

the idea is to end up with ESXi server running

1- pfsence VM to replace my router.  will use the router as wireless access point only.

 

1- unRaid VM with my current array moved to it as is

  the new server have  3 SAT2-MV8 Raid cards so one will be pass-through to unraid

  I am not planning to go beyond 3 drives for now (free license) , if all is working good I will eventially get a plus for 7 drives total to fill up the card.

 

1- Linux Mint (unless some one here can give me better recommendation) VM to run SubNzb+sick beard+coach potato + transmission

I know you can run this on unraid but since I will have the VM lab running might as well separate tasks. also this will allow me more opportunity to meddle with all this programs more freely without worry  of screwing up unraid setup.

 

1-possible VM for FOG server

1- PXE server (not now but some time in the future)

1- Windows (7) or (8) VM for admin tasks and testing as well as transcoding/converting the videos to MKV format as needed.

 

 

any suggestions will be appreciated...

 

 

P.S.  possible upgrades entail replacing the CPU with a pair of 6-core

and adding more RAM.

HDD  a side from those in unRaid, of course will be added as they become available.

 

I'll take this into a different thread to avoid highlacking.  Stay tuned...

 

John

 

Can't wait to see your write up!

 

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=27768.0

 

Again, not a true technical write-up on how to setup a PXE server but it should explain most of the required pieces.

 

John

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Just mount unraid in that vm using nfs or (more likely, given the nfs issues at present) samba.

 

Speeds will depend but if you're going to a cache drive and have the nice 10G internal vmware networking setup correctly it should be more than adequate.

 

can I ask a bit more on this? i'm assuming I need to change the vSwitch to be 10G also? I think I tried the vmnet3 but that was before I had installed zeron's? vmtools. Never thought of going back to try it..until your post.

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It's been a while since I set it up and I don't have it to hand to check - but I don't think you need touch the switch.

 

Just make sure the vmxnet driver is working ok in the hosts alongside vmtools. You should be able to use ethtool or similar to check the 'physical' link speed as the OS sees it. You obviously need to do this on all the machines you want to talk to each other at this rate.

 

Linux 3.0.31-unRAID.

root@unraid:~# ethtool eth0

Settings for eth0:

Supported ports: [ TP ]

Supported link modes:  1000baseT/Full

                        10000baseT/Full

Supports auto-negotiation: No

Advertised link modes:  Not reported

Advertised pause frame use: No

Advertised auto-negotiation: No

Speed: 10000Mb/s

Duplex: Full

Port: Twisted Pair

PHYAD: 0

Transceiver: internal

Auto-negotiation: off

MDI-X: Unknown

Supports Wake-on: uag

Wake-on: d

Link detected: yes

 

edited to add: I think the vmxnet driver might be in the kernel in newer rc releases, lessening the need for vmware tools. But you should really have the tools installed anyway for the other features it brings.

 

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It's been a while since I set it up and I don't have it to hand to check - but I don't think you need touch the switch.

 

Just make sure the vmxnet driver is working ok in the hosts alongside vmtools. You should be able to use ethtool or similar to check the 'physical' link speed as the OS sees it. You obviously need to do this on all the machines you want to talk to each other at this rate.

 

Linux 3.0.31-unRAID.

root@unraid:~# ethtool eth0

Settings for eth0:

Supported ports: [ TP ]

Supported link modes:  1000baseT/Full

                        10000baseT/Full

Supports auto-negotiation: No

Advertised link modes:  Not reported

Advertised pause frame use: No

Advertised auto-negotiation: No

Speed: 10000Mb/s

Duplex: Full

Port: Twisted Pair

PHYAD: 0

Transceiver: internal

Auto-negotiation: off

MDI-X: Unknown

Supports Wake-on: uag

Wake-on: d

Link detected: yes

 

edited to add: I think the vmxnet driver might be in the kernel in newer rc releases, lessening the need for vmware tools. But you should really have the tools installed anyway for the other features it brings.

 

thank you - i'm going to try this as soon as my child stops watching his show, I can shut things down.

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1- Linux Mint (unless some one here can give me better recommendation) VM to run SubNzb+sick beard+coach potato + transmission

 

How would you transfers the files back to unRAID array after downloading from SubNzb on Linux Mint? I wonder what the speed like a well.

 

 

well since all of it will be runing in ESXi VMs  they all be on internal vNetwork so I asume speed should not be an issue.

just link to a share on unraid VM and drop all there

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I see two files in the ZIP archive.

[*]unRAID-flat.vmdk

[*]unRAID.vmdk

This is my first update - want to make everything right  ::)

 

I do have only the 1GB unRAID.vmdk in my datastore but the file with the same file name in the ZIP archive is only 491 Bytes. The unRAID-flat.vmdk seems to be the right one. Should I rename and just upload this one file?

 

Thanks for the nice work.

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I see two files in the ZIP archive.

[*]unRAID-flat.vmdk

[*]unRAID.vmdk

This is my first update - want to make everything right  ::)

 

I do have only the 1GB unRAID.vmdk in my datastore but the file with the same file name in the ZIP archive is only 491 Bytes. The unRAID-flat.vmdk seems to be the right one. Should I rename and just upload this one file?

 

Thanks for the nice work.

 

you need both. When you browse in the datastore using the vSpehere client, it'll only show you one of the files.

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5.0rc14 is out now.

 

 

Updating the vmdk oneself is really not difficult.

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