Virtualised Home Server

Virtualised Home Server

Why Virtualise?

There are many reasons you might wish to virtualise your servers. The biggest being cost. Many servers hardware sits idle, only working when it needs to and rarely under strain. For this reason, consolidating many servers into one set of hardware can be very beneficial cost wise. This is the primary reason I want to do this as well.

What do I need virtualised servers for?

Mainly learning. I want to emulate a business environment with Windows Server 2011 SBS so I can get a better understanding of how Active Directory works amongst other features. The easiest way to do this is to set it up and do it for real. No amount of studying Microsoft technical manuals can prepare you for the real thing.

By virtualising the OS's I need I can do it all on one set of hardware. This both saves cost and energy of running several servers.

What hardware do you need to virtualise?

The CPU-z window for my desktop PC shows Intel VT-x

Any hardware generally will do, but you need the following key features to be present in your processor.

Without these technologies present in your processor, virtualisation won't work. You can find out if you have these technologies by looking up your processor online or by downloading CPU-z, a tool for viewing processor stats and information.

You will also need an amount of memory to cover both your host operating system and however much your guests will use. For example you might need 2GB to run your host OS and then 4GB for your first guest OS and another 4GB for your second guest OS. This will total 10GB of RAM required to run these machines. You cannot assign more memory to the guest machine than the host machine has on Hyper-V but you can on some other virtualisation suites. Note that using more memory than your host has can result in paging to the hard drive which is significantly slower.

Hardware I will be using

Here is the hardware I have chosen for my virtualisation:

  Current Future
CPU AMD Phenom II X2 550
(3.1GHz) (dual core)
AMD Phenom II X2 550
(3.1GHz) (unlocked to quad core)
6x SATA, 2x PCI-E, RAID, Gigabit
RAM 2GB DDR3 1333MHz
(1x 2GB)
16GB DDR3 1333MHz
(4x 4GB)
HDD 2x 80GB Maxtor
6x 2TB Samsung F4
PSU 250w
(No-Name Brand)
OS Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
(64bit, Hyper-V)

While this isn't exactly enterprise grade hardware, it will do the job for me.

More to follow!