Ever since I started to develop an interest in IT I wanted to put the stuff I found on the internet into practice. Before I got a job this was established by buying a retired workstation and transforming it into a server.
Then I got my current job where I could “play” around with the technology all day, but I very much wanted my “own toys” instead of fiddling around with company property. The main reasons being:
- The coolness factor of running my own environment
- The extra information and lessons I learn by creating an maintaining an entire micro-environment
- A testing & demo environment for on-the-go in case something bad happens to my company’s one. It is also useful for creating more rich blog-articles
- Increasing my own productivity and ease-of-work at home
Since I’m working with enterprise-graded technologies now, my old server would not cut it. What I needed was:
- A domain
- Fast storage
- Up to date & fast hardware
So I swapped my old (antique?) AMD Opteron based sever with 2gb memory with:
- Intel Core I7-950 3.06GHZ (A quadcore with hyperthreading? Yes please!)
- X58 motherboard with 6 RAM-slots (very important, unless you want to pay 500$+ for four 8GB memory modules)
- 24GB of ram, divided in 4GB modules
- Four 7200RPM drives to be run in RAID10 (I got them relatively cheap regarding the Thailand-crisis)
- AMD 5450 graphics card (to experiment with RemoteFX, and because the motherboard didn’t have an onboard one)
- Sufficient power
So after a night of handy work I had the hardware setup, now I had to put the bits&bytes on it.
Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 was the prime candidate as it was free, and since it is an Core OS doesn’t require a lot of resources. Installing this OS was simple and within half an hour I got it buzzing in my network.
Using a remote Hyper-V mmc I created the Virtual Network, and that initiated the first lesson I had to learn: DON’T USE TASK OFFLOADING ON YOUR NIC
I was plagued by random timeouts and the whole connection was barely usable.
By adding a registry key and restarting the hypervisor, I cleared all problems. Notice: each VM requires this change as well, or the problem reoccurs.
Shortly afterwards I got my first VM running, a big achievement for me, but virtualization-only is so 2008
With System Center 2012 around the corner I decided to dedicate my system to exploit and experiment with only the release candidates.
Since I don’t specialize in the entire SC stack, and resources (although plenty) are limited I decided to setup the following tools:
- Operations Manager 2012
- Configuration Manager 2012
- Virtual Machine Manager 2012
- Orchestrator 2012
With some extra services like file&print, RDS and IIS for ease of use and access I had quite the environment planned out. Oh, and of course a DC was included as well.
I decided to consolidate 2 SC-products per server-VM to spare some resources. SCOM & SCVMM (without any additional roles like SQL and Websites) where happy running together on 3GB RAM. SCCM and SCORCH where even happier with 2GB!
The central SQL got 3GB RAM and this seems to hold for now. The DC (installed as core) has received 768MB and doesn’t complain. All other systems are running on 2GB and no immediate resource issues occur.
Did I mention how much I like dynamic memory?
With the envisioned environment in place I still have room to perform to expand the resources in case of problems, but more importantly labs and experiments which require dedicated VM’s. I really like how relatively low-resource System Center can be if you aren’t taxing it too much.
SCVMM 2012 really increases my productivity, it is nice to be at the receiving end of the “2012 goodness” for a time, instead of just deploying it and be on my merry way.
As for performance, I’m pretty impressed. Although I know the Raid10 will become the primary bottleneck, it isn’t a problem at the moment. The VM’s are buzzing nicely as long as I’m not performing intense IO operations, which I don’t do a lot.
As for things to do…
I need to find a disk to put some VHD backups on just in case the RAID10 dies. DPM seems like an overkill to me, so I’ll look around for a more simple tool.
And of course, I need to make some (video?) blogs to show off all the 2012 eye candy
See you soon on the next blog-article, but for now…
Merry Christmas and a happy Newyear!