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Old 01-04-2013, 03:47 PM   #1
billotronic
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2013
Location: The Region, Indiana
Distribution: Xubuntu, unRAID, ICS, DSL, Archbang, Rasbian
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Help picking lightweight guest distro for vb on unraid for a non-rocket scientist


First, and this should go in the welcome thread also, I LOVE THIS FORUM!
I've been using *nix with passion for almost 3 years and I have learned an important lesson. Don't bother searing for answers on the web, just come straight here! So no more lurking and I hope I can contribute somehow to someone to payback all the frustration and pain these wonderful pages have provided me.

Enough with the feel good, on to the fun.

The Host:
AMD A6-3500 Triple Core CPU GPU
8gb DDR3 1866
tons of hd's yadda yadda
Host os: unraid 5.0-rc8a
vb: 4.2.4 managed through phpVB (which complicated things)

The Delima:
I'm trying REALLY hard to kick m$ to the curb and stop using my xp guest, but the problem I am running into is that the *nix os's I've tried running are either painfully slow or have no support for guest additions. Whereas my xp guest zips along at a terrifying speed. I've tried: Damn Small Linux, Debian Squeeze, Xubuntu, Slacko and Precise Puppy, and Archbang. They were either too slow in operation or to advance for my skill set.

Now, I am not a linux expert, hell, barely an amature, but I know cli and I know how to search for answers, but for the life of me I can not find anything that performs as well as my xp guest.

My requirements:
Window manager (as much as I would love to make the jump to a cli only os, I do not think I am ready.)
VBox Guest additions without having to build the kernel (eventually gave up on Slacko because of what a headache that turned out to be)
openVPN support

A side note: if one of you knowledgeable persons here think that maybe I am just messing something up, feel free to chime in. I am very exhausted with fighting with this (going on 3 months) It's so bad that my xubuntu guest takes 2-3 minutes to register a mouse click (over lan) which is an issue since debian derivatives is what I have the most experience with.

Please, to keep me from getting divorced over this, throw me some ideas!

Thanks!

-b
 
Old 01-05-2013, 11:10 AM   #2
273
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You say you have tried Debian squeeze, which desktop environment did you use with it? I ask because I'm a Debian user and use XFCE as a desktop environment and it's fine on this old EEEPC. That said if you've used Xubuntu it's not going to be that much different.

Last edited by 273; 01-05-2013 at 11:11 AM.
 
Old 01-05-2013, 11:23 AM   #3
tronayne
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So, if I understand correctly, you're running a Windows box with VirtualBox? You want to add a Linux distribution as a guest?

OK, how much RAM do you allocate to guests? You've got 8G in the box, which means you can allocate 4096 to guests (and they all should cook along just fine with 4G); only thing is, don't start two of them if you allocate 4096 to each because the host system will come to a screeching halt. One at time is just fine.

You could try allocating 4096 to your Ubuntu guest and see what happens.

As to a distribution, you may want to try Slackware. Install it in, say, a 20GB partition and, when you're asked during installation about a window manager, choose Xfce (fast, lightweight) rather than KDE (bloated); GNOME is not one of the choices (because GNOME is more bloated than KDE). Do a full install (install everything).

Assuming you installed the VirtualBox Extension Pack (you install that on the host, not on any quests), installing the Guest Additions is not a big deal -- you'll see the Guest Additions ISO in the list of mounted file systems (you see those in Linux with mount). There's no compiling involved.

Note that the first start of Slackware in into a console; i.e., X is not running and you'll need to start X (with the startx command). That should bring up Xfce and away you go -- create a non-root user or two and have fun.

Hope this helps some.
 
Old 01-05-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
billotronic
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Registered: Jan 2013
Location: The Region, Indiana
Distribution: Xubuntu, unRAID, ICS, DSL, Archbang, Rasbian
Posts: 10

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Thanks for the responses!

273- Honestly, I do not remember and it was the first os I tried. I LOVE xfce and currently have xubuntu on 3 other computers in my house... hence my frustration cause I always thought it was one of the faster of the buntu flavors. One of my first real usages of linux was on an old Toshiba laptop that would overheat with running vista... been in love ever since.

tronayne- Yes and no. Right now the only vm always on is the xubuntu which currently gets 2gb of ram and 2 of the CPU cores. I will double that and see if it helps any.

I have not used pure slax, but the times I have used variants in the past it seemed like a solid os, I will try that too if upping the ram does not solve said performance issues.

The problem I was running into was getting the proper headers to build the kernel to install the guest additions in puppy and dsl. I'm sure it can be done, but as long as this process has been going on, well, my patience is running thin. I've kept those vms installed though for future tinkering.

Thanks again, I will post results in a minute.


p.s. Could not help but notice the mark of the beast in my profile. FOR THE RECORD, I am at work and would never willingly use anything other than xp! w00t!

Last edited by billotronic; 01-05-2013 at 11:48 AM.
 
Old 01-05-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
273
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One thing that occurs is do you have the virtual disks for Windows and Linux stored on the same hard drive? I know when I moved my VB images to a faster disk the OSs speeded up.
From what I can see your CPU ought to be more than enough to run Xubuntu as a guest.
Another things that occurs: have you enabled the virtualisation functions in BIOS? It may also be worth checking out the system settings and seeing if any of those ought to be changed -- I'm afraid I've not looked into them much myself as I've not had much trouble with guest OSs (apart from Windows 98 but that's another story).

As for which OS you're posting from I to have Win7 on some of my posts when I've been posting from work. I wish there was somewhere that listed which OSs you'd logged in under then I'd try for a record.
 
Old 01-05-2013, 12:53 PM   #6
billotronic
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Yes, the vdi's are all on the same hd but the only problem is that given the nature of my server, I only have one SATA available for non-array drives which is a cache drive for unraid. I could in therory, remove the cache drive and reinstall vb and the webserver to the drive as a regular mount, BUT my understanding is that the cache drive in unraid should be able to pull full r/w speeds. I could be wrong about that though. [edit] Yes, it is full speed but that is still going to be a bottle neck of sorts when running multiple vm's from the one source. Still, trying at the moment to get one vm running as desired. One thing at a time

I will double check the bios, but I am almost certain I set those settings when I first installed vb on my server.

I will add both to my todo list.

Another curious tidbit. I went in to up the ram for my xubuntu guest and was capped at 3.5gb. Ok, I thought, its 32bit, lets try installing a 64bit. Same cap. Low and behold, I remembered that unraid itself is technically only 32bit. My understanding from the unraid forums that despite being 32bit, it can support up to 64gb of ram. Thats all fine and dandy, but if unraid is 32bit then vb is also. I wonder if vb is not using the full 8gb minus the unraid reserve for the guests? [edit2] Poop. Started xp and cubuntu with 3.5gb alloted and sure enough, vb is registering that more than 4gb of ram is being used on the host. So now I wonder what is making it cap vm's at 4gb?

The more I've thought about this this morning (thanks to some super strong Highlander Grog) I'm more leaning towards the host being the issue on performance and not the guests I am throwing at it. Might need to change this threads title.

Last edited by billotronic; 01-05-2013 at 01:00 PM.
 
Old 01-05-2013, 01:03 PM   #7
273
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Ah, now I've read more carefully and you've explained more I tend to agree with you that it's the host with the issues.
I actually found guests slow when running from my home partition which, at the time, was a RAID5 and moved them to a separate ESATA drive to increase performance and I did notice an improvement. Whether that was due to the software RAID or the fact the volume also contained my home I'm not sure.
 
Old 01-05-2013, 01:55 PM   #8
billotronic
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Registered: Jan 2013
Location: The Region, Indiana
Distribution: Xubuntu, unRAID, ICS, DSL, Archbang, Rasbian
Posts: 10

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Well in a minute here I am going to reboot the server to check the bios. Next step will be to see what kind of mess it would be to change vb and the vdi's home on unraid. Well keep you folks updated on the results.

Thanks again for the help!
 
Old 01-06-2013, 12:38 PM   #9
billotronic
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Registered: Jan 2013
Location: The Region, Indiana
Distribution: Xubuntu, unRAID, ICS, DSL, Archbang, Rasbian
Posts: 10

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
ok, BIOS checked out fine and I updated it while I was there. Gonna chaulk this up as a host issue cause the added 1.5gb of ram made a noticable difference. I guess I need to start picking apart vb and see if I have something messed up in its configuration.

Thanks!
 
  


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