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Thread: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    hi all,
    i'm looking for getting some new hardware for running KVM in my lab, to learn/master it, along with different networking/storage combos reflecting near to real-world usage.
    my main concern right now, is the hardware to get, & before someone jumps up with:
    just throw a 2x X5650 Xeons along with 32GB RAM & 5x 300GB SAS in RAID5... & you would would be fine!
    seriously, for the mean time, i would prefer to spend the money wisely getting a *good* testing box for warming up, & by the time i need more power, the same amount of money should let me get better hardware..

    i would like to ask those of you running KVM: (no VB/VMWare/XEN)
    what hardware do you have? [ CPU(s) / RAM / Storage config ] & what's the number of simultaneous running VM's?

    PS, i'm sure that this will help other people heading for the same direction

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    115
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    One of my current hosts has the following :

    2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5520 @ 2.27GHz
    12 GB RAM
    MegaRAID 8708ELP
    6x500GB SATAII

    Running a raid6 and a raid1.

    virsh list :

    2 bluewing running
    3 yellowwing running
    5 purplewing running
    6 whitewing running
    7 dev running
    8 redwing running


    2 of those machines are given 4G ram each and the rest vary between 512Mb and 2G. If it wasn't the memory leak in lucid kvm ( fixed in proposed ) i'd be holding at around 5-8G RAM usage. It can take a few more VM's - like 2 or 3, before going nuts i guess. The machines are running a web hosting + a zimbra server + a dedicated databse server ( postgresql ) and it's actually quite stable.

    About raid5 - it's cool and all , but i had too many cases where 2 disks go down at the same time. Most important thing ? Make sure your kvm images are using RAW format and are preallocated or it will lag hard if you do large writes from the network.

    I'd really recommend getting 5520+ Xeon/s . They will get you most for your money. If it's just for testing, Core2Duo 8800 or so would be fine. Just make sure it has VT/d .
    Last edited by sh1ny; July 5th, 2010 at 06:08 AM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    hi & thank you for your post
    you have a nice rig, is it a custom build or branded?

    since i'll be learning/testing, i doubt it, at least for now, that'll be needing SMP power. anyway, here is what i have in mind:

    option 1 a DELL R210:
    X3430
    2x 4GB
    2x 1TB SATAII

    option 2 a DELL R310:
    X3430
    2x 4GB
    4x 500GB SATAII

    option 3 custom built:
    Core i7 860
    Intel DQ57TM
    2x 4GB DDR3
    6x 500GB SATAII

    price is almost the same, (i'm not in the US!) the 860 is faster than the x3430, the R210 has only 2x internal HDD's, the R310 has 4x hotswap, both the DELLs support 32BG RAM (x3430 vs 860)...

    for a start, i think that 8GB will be enough, & worst case i'll be adding another 8GB, which will be good for the 3 options above.
    i'm aiming for system capable of running 4 VMs simultaneously:
    > Linux Server
    > Win2k3 or Win2K8
    > WinXP or Win7
    > Linux client

    all in a virtual network.. what do you say?


    thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    115
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    I'm using Supermicro as they come cheaper than Dell/HP and offer the same quality and perfomance for lower price. I'd suggest sticking to xeons instead of i7. Also google for "tsc unstable clocksource" and see if anyone mentions your cpu of choice as having an unstable clock source. The fix for this is in 2.6.35 or 34 ( not very sure ), but the lucid kernel/kvm will have problems on such cpu's if your vm's are under a lot of load. I know i'm having troubles with this on a 5405 Xeon, so do a little research before you buy stuff.

  5. #5
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    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    OMG!!
    i think that i'm in the wrong place! the "ubuntu-linux-forums" is overloaded with VirtualBox stuff, but no KVM users?! this is shocking!

    anyway, thank you for your input sh1ny, i think that i'll be going with option 3 for the moment, & when a more powerful system is needed, i'll go the Xeon (Opteron) route

    nael

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    149

    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    I use kvm in my home network so no requirement for 24/7 99.99% reliability. I use VMs to provide some separation of services and for the learning experience. None are heavily loaded. I use:

    AMD Athlon LE-1640 @ 2.6 GHz single core
    4 GB RAM
    1 x 500 GB Sata HD (plus 1 x backup HD)
    Ubuntu 10.04 Server Edition

    I run 3 VMs:
    Web / Jabber server
    Mail / IMAP server
    Rsyslog server / music server / apt-cacher server

    I also run some services on the physical server for my home lan only. This set up runs well and hardly breaks into a sweat.

    Keith
    Last edited by keithweddell; July 7th, 2010 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Typos

  7. #7
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    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    i thought i should update, here is what i 've ordered:

    CPU: Intel Xeon X3400
    MoBo: Intel S3420GPLC
    RAM: 12GB - 6x 2GB Kingston DDR3 1333MHz REG ECC KVR1333D3D8R9S/2GI

    i'm still researching, HDD's (& maybe a RAID controller, not sure) but 1st i'll try & test the kernel built-in software RAID. i'm looking at:

    option 1:
    x4 WD 500GB RE4 WD5003ABYX

    option 2:
    x6 WD 640GB Black WD6401AALS


    will keep you posted,
    nael

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    Go ahead with software raid. If it's a learning experience, you better get started with it.

    Again from my experience LSI SAS raids are very good ( don't be mislead, they support both SAS and SATA hdd's ). I'm using LSI MegaSAS 9260 - as well as the one i wrote about above - both are somewhat same price here, but the performance of this one is double. ( http://www.lsi.com/storage_home/prod...-8i/index.html ).

    For hdd's - Western Digital WD 1TB 7200RPM 32MB 24X7 SATA 3 3.5 - WD1002FBYS-02A6B0 ( Enterprise HDD) : http://www.systemsassurance.com/sysS...002FBYS-02A6B0

    For more ( and good ) info on hwraids read http://hwraid.le-vert.net . It also has some debian/ubuntu packages of the proprietary utils for many hwraids which are usually only built in rpm formats for RH/Centos.

  9. #9
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    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    thanks for the input sh1ny

    as for the software raid, well i'm not an expert, but i think that i've already learned it the Gentoo way but sure, we do learn everyday..
    the controller you've mentioned is already on my list, but i'll still working on the prices.

    the HDD's, well, my experience with WD's Black is exceptional, very fast (tested 6x in both RAID5 & RAID10 -- kernel software) & i do have x4 RE3 250GB ones running great 3 years now with no problem.. but the thing is with capacity, that i already have a NAS for storage, & since this is a lab rig, local +1TB for the VM's is overkill.. that's why i didn't mention 1TB's ones.. but i'll look into it

    Oh, & thank you for the link regarding the RAID controllers, great info.


    PS, i think that i'll be using Gentoo for the host..

    nael

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: KVM users, please post your hardware config & VMs

    Quote Originally Posted by naelq View Post

    PS, i think that i'll be using Gentoo for the host..

    nael
    That's what freedom is about, but i just can't stop wondering why ? I mean, i started using linux back 2001 or so with slack and RH at the time. I tried freebsd and stuff and it always amazed me why people would choose an OS where you'd have to compile stuff on your own, rather than something that comes packaged and tested ( well at least tested more than i'd be able to do myself ). Sure i do have an arch boot and i fancy rebuilding gnome from time to time, but that's just on my home box where i can rm -rf / and not care about it. For anything that more than a toy and that i have intents of getting serious about i like to rely on others to do the hard work for me...simply because one man can't do it all.

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