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Old 09-05-2013, 10:54 PM   #1
randdeveloper
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host OS options for virtual server farm


I'm looking for guidance in choosing the host OS for a virtual server farm. I want a home server for media sharing, home automation, web serving and e-mail serving, and as a network proxy, plus I need a Windows virtual machine for Netflix. I want the proxy to provide anonymity and speed web surfing for the half dozen users connected to the network. A suggestion I found was to put each function into it's own virtual machine making it easier to administer each component.

What are my options for the host OS? What are your thoughts about OracleLinux VM, Proxmox, or Ubuntu with KVM (or Windows!)? I have been able to set up two Linux virtual machines using Virtualbox under Windows 8 and connecting them to a bridged network but I may need help connecting this virtual bridged network to the physical network through the host as well.

I suspect someone will ask about hardware: I haven't bought it yet but I've budgeted about $300 for a processor, i7 or Xeon E3, and plan to use a low end ASUS motherboard that has at least two gigabit NICs as I'm planning to use 16 gb of ECC DDR3.

To keep the scope of the question narrow for the forum I'm asking about the host operating system but I'll take any input regarding this configuration as I'm fairly new to Linux and to networking.
 
Old 09-06-2013, 01:47 AM   #2
unSpawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randdeveloper View Post
I want a home server for media sharing, home automation, web serving and e-mail serving, and as a network proxy, (..) A suggestion I found was to put each function into it's own virtual machine making it easier to administer each component.
Creating different virtual machines for different services makes it easier to tune their specs to whatever resources the application needs (caching proxy: RAM, IMAPS server: disk space, etc, etc) and makes it less of a single point of failure. Next to that, for data and network security, you should isolate data you do not want to expose (the media sharing, home automation part) from the rest of the services. That's just the tip of the Iceberg. Once you have formulated more specific plans for your network you could post them for comments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by randdeveloper View Post
I want the proxy to provide anonymity and speed web surfing for the half dozen users connected to the network.
Due to the nature of network communication you'll probably want a VPN or TOR for increased anonymity. Note using those doesn't "absolve" users from taking precautions and the latter isn't particularly suitable for high volume / high speed traffic anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by randdeveloper View Post
What are my options for the host OS? What are your thoughts about OracleLinux VM, Proxmox, or Ubuntu with KVM (..) I'm fairly new to Linux and to networking.
If you're fairly new to Linux then you should probably first play & practice especially considering what admin skills are required because like with all knowledge there aren't any shortcuts (and no: web-based control panels aren't necessarily a Good Thing). Do research, read the distributions documentation, play around a bit. Once you're comfortable with things expand your setup.

HTH
 
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:22 AM   #3
randdeveloper
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Thanks for your help unSpawn

Does anyone have any thoughts about adding Xen to Linux Mint versus headless Debian as my host OS?
 
Old 09-21-2013, 02:50 PM   #4
randdeveloper
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Question additional information and questions

I've done some additional planning. Here are the virtual machines I plan to run:
1. media server such as XMBC that is capable of translating a media file to appropriate content based on the requesting client.
2. home automation server with about a dozen controls.
3. web server and wordpress server
4. e-mail server
5. proxy server
6. Windows 7 machine to access Netflix
7. game server - not local gameplay
8. software development machine
9. possibly another VM for tor and/or bittorrent
I anticipate no more than about 3 dozen users logged on at any one time.

I realize that any server software could handle this. I just want to do it the best way. I was just reading about VMware ESXi and I've been looking at Oracle's virtual server operating system. How do these solutions compare to just using Ubuntu or Linux Mint with Xen? I'm not as concerned with ease of use as I am with speed and efficiency. Hak5 had an episode building a VMware server where they put the hypervisor on a flash drive that was plugged into the motherboard as the main drive and it was only 8 GB.
 
  


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