Project : Citrix XenServer @ home

22nd Dec 2009 : I needed  a XenServer at home to work on some project for my company (Activlan), I didn’t want a real server because it would be too noisy in my apartment 🙂 So I was looking for a silent computer and I made my choice with the elements bellow :

  • Case : Lian Li PC-V351B
  • Power Supply : Silverstone Nightjar ST45NF – 450W
  • MotherBoard : Asus Maximus II Gene
  • Cpu : Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q9550
  • Ram : G.Skill Extreme Series MQ 4x4096Mo PC6400 Dual Channel CAS6
  • Video : PNY Quadro NVS 295 PCI-E 16x (for another workstation #XD4)
  • Hard Drive : Seagate Barracuda ES.2 S-ATA – 1000 Go – 32 Mo (x2)

I though it would work fine, just some question were remaining : The network adapter on the Asus motherboard might not be compatible with XenServer and I did choose two hard drive to build a RAID 1 but I though XenServer wouldn’t be able to recognize the sata RAID controller.

I was right on the Sata Raid controller, it was too mainstream chip raid controller so I never got it working. The network card was fine I just got some issue with XenServer 5.6 and the checksum calculation, I had to disable the TCP Offload on the hypervisor (eq : not the vms). Hard drives, the Seagate are not a good product at all, I got 5 break down in less than 2 years, I will never buy enterprise class Seagate again. Then in june 2011, the motherboard died…

10th Jun 2011 : The motherboard is dead… Maybe it has been the source of all the recent system crashes I had… So I got to move on and chose a new motherboard. I chose Intel DQ67OW, with a new CPU an Intel Core i7 2600 which contain the virtualization instructions I missed with the previous CPU (VT-d).

  • Case : Lian Li PC-V351B
  • Power Supply : Silverstone Nightjar ST45NF – 450W
  • MotherBoard : Intel DQ67OW
  • Cpu : Intel® Core™ i7 2600
  • Memory : Kingstone 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC Reg CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2) DR x4 w/TS Intel
  • Video : PNY Quadro NVS 295 PCI-E 16x (for another workstation #XD4)
  • Hard Drive : Seagate Barracuda ES.2 S-ATA – 1000 Go – 32 Mo (x2) for vms
  • Hard Drive : Seagate Barracuda® XT SATA Revision 3.0 – 2 To – 64 Mo for vms
  • Hard Drive : Patriot SSD Warp v.2 32Gb for XenServer OS

I just hope the ram will still work the the new motherboard… This new MB support 32Gb of memory, I’ll buy some more later this year to upgrade because this is the bottleneck in my home lab.

15th Jun 2011 : I received the new motherboard and the CPU, of course the memory doesn’t fit, G.Skill 16Gb modules I have are DDRII and this new motherboard support only DDR3… Next step is to find at least 16Gb memory DDR3…

6th July 2011 : I found the memory 16Gb DD3 Kingstone 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC Reg CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2) DR x4 w/TS Intel and I’ll buy another 16Gb later this year to be up with 32Gb. I got a good deal on a SSD drive for XenServer OS, Patriot SSD Warp v.2 32Gb to boost the hypervizor performances, the I used a new 2Tb hard drive to get rid of the Seagate Enterprise Serie one (Seagate Barracuda® XT SATA Revision 3.0 – 2 To – 64 Mo)

With all that I think my XenServer @ Home will be up and running with XenServer 6 Beta 2 “Boston” next week 🙂

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