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Windows 8 VMware or Hyper V and WHS 2011/Drive Pool

edited November 2012 in DrivePool
Ok, I can't wait any more so I decided to upgrade my WHS 2011 machine to a W8 box running WHS 2011 and drive pool via VMware or Hyper V or some other virtual machine option.

For hardware, I have a rocket raid 2314 4 port card, and two sans digital 8 drive bays, 8 gigs of ddr3, a quad core phenom black, 1tb drive, 1 hauppauge 950 ATSC tuner, 2 external HDPVRs and one colossus HDPVR.

Architecturally,` similar to my existing setup (except I have two computers that are always on), I want my machine to act as a host computer to my extenders and client PCs with dvblink's excellent networking tuner software for TV. I want my movies to serve up archived movies and tv content to my client PCs and extenders too.  In addition, I want WHS 2011 to host my drive pool with file duplication and sharing, facilitate backing up my client PCs and continue to monitor my client PCs health and update status.

However, before embarking on this project I have a few questions.

1. First is it possible?

2. Will both the VM and host PC require separate names and IP addresses?

3.  Will I be able to backup the Host PC using the VM version of WHS 2011?

4.  What kind of problems should I anticipate with this setup?

5.  Does anyone have an example that they wish to share?

These are the questions I have right now I am sure more may arise after I get feedback from the gurus here.

Comments

  • edited November 2012 Member
    I have used WHSv1 in a Hyper-V 2008 R2 environment and currently use WHS 2011 in an ESXi 5.0 environment.  I install the operating system on a virtual disk and then pass trough the drives for the pool.  You don't have to use pass through though.  You can add your disks to Hyper-V or VMWare, format it as a virtual disk and then add it to the VM.  You can also do a hardware RAID and use it as either a pass through or virtual disk for the VM.  Just note that you cannot take a snapshot of a VM with pass through disks.  In order to pass trough the physical disk, you have to do the following:
    In Hyper-V, you have to take the disk Offline in Disk Management at the OS level and then add a new hard drive to the VM, selecting the correct Physical Disk.
    In ESXi, you have to uncheck RdmFilter.HbaIsShared from the host Configuration >> Software >> Advanced Settings >> RDM Filter, then add a new drive to the VM and select the appropriate drive under Raw Device Mapping.
    "For hardware, I have a rocket raid 2314 4 port card, and two sans digital 8 drive bays, 8 gigs of ddr3, a quad core phenom black, 1tb drive, 1 hauppauge 950 ATSC tuner, 2 external HDPVRs and one colossus HDPVR."
    If you want to go with VMWare ESXi, make sure your hardware is on the Compatibility List
    "Architecturally,` similar to my existing setup (except I have two computers that are always on), I want my machine to act as a host computer to my extenders and client PCs with dvblink's excellent networking tuner software for TV. I want my movies to serve up archived movies and tv content to my client PCs and extenders too.  In addition, I want WHS 2011 to host my drive pool with file duplication and sharing, facilitate backing up my client PCs and continue to monitor my client PCs health and update status."
    If you add additional hardware to your ESXi server, you can pass through PCI Express cards to a VM, but it may not work as expected...just something to be aware of.

    "However, before embarking on this project I have a few questions."

    "1. First is it possible?"
    Yes, see above

    "2. Will both the VM and host PC require separate names and IP addresses?"
    Yes, you will have a management IP address for the host server and you create virtual networks for the Virtual Machines.  This can be on the same network as your host, or you can create an 802.1q trunk from a switch to the hosts to bridge multiple VLAN's to it.

    "3.  Will I be able to backup the Host PC using the VM version of WHS 2011?"
    You can back this up either normally from the operating system to a network location or backup storage disk, or you can back up the virtual machine files (does not include data on disks that have been passed through).  Note that to add a USB drive for VM backups in ESXi, you have to pass it through to a VM and then export it via NFS; ESXi does not support USB disks natively.

    "4.  What kind of problems should I anticipate with this setup?"
    Once this is set up, the only problem is that there are extra steps involved with adding and removing drives from the pool.  Identifying the drives is the hardest part.  In ESXi, you can change the names of a disk to indicate its physical location.  Also, the VM may not see a drive failure properly; this can be seen on the host though.

    "5.  Does anyone have an example that they wish to share?"
    See above

  • Awesome information thank you!
  • No worries!  Please also note that this assumes that DrivePool will wok on Windows 8, which I am not sure it does yet.
  • Does it has to work on Windows 8 in order for it to work on my VM version of WHS2011? I hope it is mutually exclusive.
  • edited December 2012 Member
    No, it does not have to work on Windows 8 for it to work on WHS 2011.  If you are talking Windows 8 for the virtualization platform, then you will be limited to software (Type 2) hypervisors only VirtualBox, Virtual PC, VMWare Workstation, etc).  VMWare ESXi is its own operating system (based on BusyBox Linux) and so is considered a bare metal (Type 1) Hypervisor.  Microsoft also had a free version of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 that is its own operating system (a core version of Windows Server 2008 R2), but I have not seen this for the new Hyper-V yet.  If there is no core version, then you would have to get a copy of Windows Server 2012 that has the Hyper-V component in order to use it.

    Of course, you are not limited to those two options for bare metal hypervisors.  There is also Xen, Citrix XenServer and KVM.  Xen and KVM are installed on top of a Linux distribution, so some do not consider them true bare metal hypervisors, although they do have require a modified kernel to run.
  • Thanks Otis.  I will go with W8 and Hyper V.  I will probably start tomorrow or Wednesday, I will let you know if I have any problems.
  • Otis if you out there, I have one more question.

    I already have a drive pool setup on my existing WHS 2011 standalone build.  So after I created my new WHS2011 as a VM, will I lose data from previously created pooled disk if I add the existing pool to the new pool on my WHS2011 VM setup?

    In simpler terms I want to just plug and play my existing pooled drives into my new VM pool without losing any data.
  • You won't lose any data as long as you are passing through the physical disk to the VM.  If you add it as Hyper-V storage, then you will lose all your data because the disk will be formatted.

    After passing the disks through, DrivePool should recognize the disks as pooled.
  • Thanks Otis. 

    How do I pass though the disks?  Although I have a rocket raid card, the disks are not configured in a Raid they are seen by the OS's logical disk manager as a MBR or GPT disk.  Is there a setting in Hyper V to facilitate pass through?

    A small procedure or reference to a URL will be helpful.  Thanks again for all of your help.

  • You should just have to pass the Rocket RAID card to the VM, the attached drives would then be seen natively to the new VM and then DrivePool will do it's magic and pick up the pool exactly how you left off.

    You can use this guide from Patrick over at ServeTheHome.com to figure out what you need to do: http://www.servethehome.com/hyperv-disk-passthrough-quick-guide/
  • Awesome!  Thanks a bunch!
  • edited December 2012 Member
    You may be able to do that, but per my first post, you can also go into disk management, set the disks to Offline, and then it will be available in the VM settings when you highlight the controller and select to add a Hard Disk.

    The only problem with passing through the controller is that all of the hard drives you attach to it are only available to that VM.
  • Otis I will use your approach of taking the disks off line and passing them through. It shouldnt be a problem because the drivepool will only be needed on the whs 2011 vm. How is the throughput performance of the passthrough disks? Will I notice read/write degredation?
  • I usually get about 96 MB/s when I am writing a large file to it across the network from my PC and about 100 MB/s copying a file to my PC across the network.  The PC is Windows 7.  I am using a VMWare ESXi Hypervisor.  My speeds were a bit slower when I was on Hyper-V using the same hardware, but that was WHSv1 which did not perform as well as WHS 2011 does (in my experience).
  • Sounds great.  I was getting that prior to updating to the latest drivepool beta.  Now I am seeing 25-45 MB/s on my none VM setup.  Any idea what could cause the write degradation that I am seeing?
  • I am not sure.  I am using version 1.2.4.7217 and have no performance issues.  You may want to take that up with Alex since you have the same hardware and drivers and such a large difference in performance.
  • Ok thanks again for your help.  Thanks to you, I had everything setup on the Hyper-v side (virtual side) of things and everything worked perfect.  However, I could not get dvblink working on Windows 8.  I tried all of the fixes to register the mceapp but to no avail.

    So I reverted back to W7 and all is well on the Host machine, i.e TV working but now I need to tackle adding a virtual machine and host whs 2011.

    I have a copy of vmare 8, besides ESXi or virtual PC are there any other virtual software i should consider?  I am looking for simplicity, ability to create a WHS 2011 Virtual Machine, and the possibility of converting an Hyper-V export.  Also, where do I check for hardware compatibility with vmware products?

  • I found this in regards to adding disks. 

    http://www.vmware.com/support/ws45/doc/disks_add_ws.html

    I still cannot find anything regarding vmware compatibility with highpoint rocketraid 2314.

     

  • Success!!  W8 + Hyper-V + WHS 2011 + Drivepool!
  • Just for posterity sakes I finally got my setup working.  Windows 8 + DvbLink 3.2 (sadly, I could not get version 4 working) + My Movies + Hyper-V + WHS 2011 Blue Iris + Drivepool = pure computing bliss.

    Windows is acting as a media server for my 3 Xboxes, proving live TV, recordings, music and video.  My Movie server on my WHS is providing beautiful meta data to client pcs and extenders.  Remote potato and mezzmo are streaming via W8.  WHS houses my pooled data and security camera footage via Blue Iris.  WHS 2011 backup and client health monitoring are working like a champ too.

    Here is a interesting tidbit, when my server was a stand alone box (phenom black quad core and 8gigs of ddr3 1333hz), with only WHS 2011 installed I could only copy data to and from at around 45-60 mb/s.  Now with it being virtualized in Hyper V  I keep peaking at 102 with sustained speeds of 80 mb/s.

  • Glad to see you got everything working the way you wanted!  For future reference, here is the link from my first post to VMWare Hardware Compatibility.
  • Thanks again Otis
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