Monthly Archives: November 2009
A lot of people want to build themself a server at home for testing or learning. There is a lot of choice out there to fit any need or budget but most of us are looking for a PC with enough power to run apps and virtualization. You could always buy youself a real server for 5000$+ or build a system but if you are like me, you want a box ready for use for a good price. So, I was looking for a new system to build a Windows 2008 R2 machine with Hyper-V and I came across a system by Dell that really gives you a lot for your money. So, I got this new Dell XPS 8000 with Intel i7-860(a Quad Cord with HT giving 8 logical processors) which support virtualization, Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O and 8GB of RAM for under 1000$. Forget about the i7-920, benchmarks show that you won’t get better performance and it’s not as fast. One key feature that I was looking for and that works well on the XPS 8000 is the RAID support. The first thing I did was to had 2 disks in RAID-0, having an other drive for the OS and some data.
As soon as I got the system, I installed Windows 2008 Server R2 and like Windows 7 the installation is very fast. All my devices were recognized and drivers had been installed. Than, I added the Hyper-V role and some features. From that point on I was ready to create and deploy new VM’s but there is an application that I wouldn’t work without, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. If you want to learn more about it, you can go on the official site or come and see some very good people present it to you at Microsoft Tech Days 2009 in Montreal or one of the other city near you.
After setting up everything, I now have 7 VM running on 8GB of RAM. Make sure you put your VM’s on a different physical disk and not on the same you use for the OS. You will get better I/O performance and since HDD are cheap, buy 2 drive to do some RAID. If you have another system with Hyper-V that’s where SCVMM will make your life easier. You can manage all your hosts and you can even manage VMware and convert them to Hyper-V VM’s.