Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going virtual

With the purchase of the Acer Revo, I believe it's time to virtualize the house server.  Running a single instance of Ubuntu on the current hardware is a bit underkill in that it has 4G of memory and 2+ TB of storage, most of which isn't employed.

It is painful to stop using MythTV but it frees up the display that I was using with it.  This blow is softened by my wife having acquired a DVR to act as a replacement.

Another reason is that the third class on virtualization (actually storage for virtualization) is about to start and I want a system at home so that I can keep up with the class.

Things to do first:
  • back up everything!
  • figure out what a 4.0 to 4.1 upgrade will break
  • install the new drives (upgrade to 4 TB)
  • break it gently to Sparks that I'm going through yet another system upgrade (he gets annoyed that I do this every two months or so), though it'll minimize future down-times as VMs can be built before others are taken offline
  • determine if 4.1 can be modified to include needed drivers (the 4.0 install did) (my NICs are older)
  • get FreeNAS installed

The tricky part is going to be efficiency.  While I could build a single server VM which runs everything, it makes backups difficult.  I think it'll be easier to manage if I can create a number of very small servers, dedicated to specific tasks (Icecast, Squid, etc.).

Ideally, they should be started and stopped on demand.   I need to do a bit more research on this. I think the problem is going to be that VMware has limited the command line functions to "read only" for the free versions of ESXi.  I'll keep you posted.