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#1 2012-03-07 00:26:24

allen875
Member
From: Winchester, VA
Registered: 2011-09-02
Posts: 46
Website

Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

Hello All, I am upgrading my server this summer and since I am going to be re-installing everything I had the idea of separating the system using virtual machines.

Host System: (Media Center)
- MPD Music Daemon for Local Sharing Access.
- XBMC Media Server
- Plex Media Server (Option 1)
- SubSonic Streamer (Option 2)
- LXiMedia Server (Option 3)
- SSH Server
- Firewall
- Samba (Windows Networking)
- NFS (Linux Networking)
- Backup System
- Printer Server

Virtual Machine: (Web Server)
- NGINX or Apache Web Server (MySQL, PHP5, Python, Java)
- FTP Server (ProFTPd)
- Proxy Server (Squid)
- Cloud Services (OwnCloud?)
- Torrent Client (wTorrent)
- VPN Server

Are there any benefits to doing this? (Besides easy re-installation of the VM)

Should I separate the File Server Sections of the server as well?

Should I not even bother, because I would be limiting the resources of those VM's and Linux will put inactive processes to sleep anyway to open more memory for the ones that need it?

Better suggestions?

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#2 2012-03-07 05:52:42

bergersau
Member
Registered: 2012-01-19
Posts: 48

Re: Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

I do a similar thing on one of my boxes.
I installed VMware ESXi as the hypervisor. Then run Open Indiana  (Open Solaris) in one VM as a file server using ZFS  with pass through to the bare hard drives. This gives near native performance on disk IO.
Then I have a Linux install on another VM as my mail server and whatever other network services I care to throw on there.

I love ZFS on a storage box but am not really comfortable in OpenSolaris so I prefer to run most of my services in a linux VM.

Simple snapshotting of servers before updates or tinkering - Awesome!

The only fly in the ointment is the the VMware management console is Windows only.  So I need to run at least one windows install and use that to administer the VM's when required (very minimal).

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#3 2012-03-07 12:35:26

panosk
Member
From: Athens, Greece
Registered: 2008-10-29
Posts: 241

Re: Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

Unless I miss something, and given that I'm not a VM expert, why would you do that in a home server or even in a single machine, server or not? Is the convenience of the system partitioning worth the resources? And, is it actually a convenience since you will have to manage, update, and troubleshoot several systems instead of only one? Also, isn't there a chance that some services/components will have to be shared across machines? For instance, lets say you run LAMP in one VM, but you also want to use MySQL in other VMs. IMO, the configuration web you will have to setup is too much trouble.

Anyway, I run a home server and a production server myself and I never thought of sth like that, so I'd like to hear more views too.

Cheers

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#4 2012-03-07 23:34:05

allen875
Member
From: Winchester, VA
Registered: 2011-09-02
Posts: 46
Website

Re: Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

@panosk , that's exactly why I decided to post this I have been pondering about it for months and figured I would see if I could get any good reasons to either do it or not. So far it seems like a pointless endeavor but I am still considering it.

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#5 2012-03-08 16:30:19

Lone_Wolf
Member
From: Netherlands, Europe
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 4,311

Re: Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

Depending on the number of users / importance of availability load balancing could be a reason to separate funtions into VMs, so you can assign different resources to different functions.

Another reason could be to enhance security / minimize hack risks.
This would mainly be appropriate for function that are accessible from the internet. the vpn server, webserver and cloud server come to mind for this.

I suggest you make a diagram / table of the services you are running, along with details like user number & type, necessary resources , vulnerability, importance and such.


Booting with apg Openrc, NOT systemd.
Automounting : not needed, i prefer pmount
Aur helpers : makepkg + my own local repo === rarely need them

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#6 2012-06-13 00:08:23

steelbak
Member
Registered: 2011-02-27
Posts: 19
Website

Re: Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

I have done this sort of set up for years. I now run aptosid as my host system running ArchLinux servers in VirtualBox of all sorts. Some for various Wordpress, Drupal and OwnCloud, etc for me and some friends/ family and web clients. I even have an ArchLinux VirtualBox image as my router/ firewall.

The reason I do this: I want a nice, but disposable desktop (I like to distro hop) with servers that can be brought back online quickly upon a nuke and pave or to move them anywhere else. All I need to do for that is copy the VirtualBox images over and fire them up.

I have written some scripts which help me manage updating and managing a dozen or so various servers. The next big improvement I can see is to mirror the repos on my local network so I don't keep banging the public ones during these fairly frequent mass updates. I haven't really looked into that yet, but maybe I can do that as a public facing mirror?

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#7 2012-06-14 00:39:14

fukawi2
Forum Moderator
From: .vic.au
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 5,296
Website

Re: Home Server Broken Into Sections Using VM's

I currently do this with a CentOS/Xen hypervisor, about to rebuild the VM hardware and move to Citrix XenServer though.

allen875 wrote:

Are there any benefits to doing this? (Besides easy re-installation of the VM)

All the usual benefits of virtualization. Less electricity usage, less heat and noise output.

allen875 wrote:

Should I separate the File Server Sections of the server as well?

Until recently I did this, but I've just bought myself a Synology NAS and using that for files now; 1) a NAS is designed to file share and I don't want to reinvent the wheel on that, and 2) it will be providing iSCSI storage for the new hypervisor/XenServer. Consolidation ftw! big_smile

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