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Best components for virtualization

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  • Virtualization
  • Servers
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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June 22, 2010 6:17:06 PM

I want to build a pseudo-server for home use, on which I plan to host six (or so) servers virtually. Are CPU, the amount of RAM, and hard drive access speed the only real considerations when it comes to hardware? If not, what else should be of concern? I'm relatively new to the virtualization game, but I like the idea of replacing my older boxes with virtual ones. What about CPU type (AMD-V vs Intel VT-x)? I'll be running mostly BSD on these servers, but I may have need of a Windows Server installation at some point (if that matters). Suggestions are welcome.

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June 22, 2010 9:43:13 PM

It all depends on what your VMs will be used for. How much RAM is required for your VMs? AMD or Intel doesn't really matter as the bottleneck often is the hard disks. What visualization platform will you be using?
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June 22, 2010 10:43:14 PM

I have been looking into VirtualBox. Is that my only option for running on a FreeBSD host? I want to virtualize servers to handle basic functionality like email, ftp, file server, samba etc. As I said, I'm pretty new to this sort of thing, so I'm still learning what will work and what won't. I was assuming that a large supply of RAM was a must, however.
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June 22, 2010 11:18:58 PM

You should have a basic idea of how much memory is required by your VMs. My VMs require anywhere from 384MB to 2GB with the average being 1GB. To run 6 VMs under VMware Server, 8 GB is barely enough. I normally assign 3 VMs per physical hard disk and I have a separate Windows Server 2008 boot disk. VirtualBox probably requires less memory than VMware server.
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June 23, 2010 10:56:20 AM

I was assuming that an average of 1GB would be enough for most of the machines. I can always tweak that as necessary. So, it sounds like the CPU won't be a big factor, while the amount of RAM and the HD speed are key. Have you had better experience with any specific hardware?
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Best solution

June 23, 2010 12:21:54 PM

The best is a fast server with a bunch of 15K RPM SAS drives in a RAID5 or RAID10 configuration for speed and reliability. Since that's way too expensive for home use (at least for me), I would suggest a few Samsung F3 or WD Black hard disks. Only you knows how much I/O your VMs will require. If a VM is only used to store files, it might not access the hard disk that often. On the other hand, if you're running a database server that's quite busy, then you probably want to dedicate a hard disk (or a RAID0) to it. I did setup two VM servers (one for someone else) and both at based on a Q6600, 8GB of RAM and a few hard disks. The bottleneck seems to be the hard disks 99%of the time.
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June 23, 2010 12:42:42 PM

Great, thanks for all of the help!
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June 24, 2010 6:04:25 PM

Best answer selected by Broodmdh.
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June 24, 2010 6:07:22 PM

Broodmdh said:
Great, thanks for all of the help!

Please let us know your components selection and the level of performance that you get. That type of info can always be useful to other members.
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