Part 1: Quad-Core Workstations for Desktop Virtualization Projects - Configuration

For our virtualization projects like JeOS Prototype / Virtual Appliances / VM Templates we need to have Desktop hardware with latest Hardware Accelerated Virtualization support, currently this mean AMD = AMD-V and Intel = VT-x platforms.

Today is avaiable next (SECOND) generation of Hardware Accelerated Virtualization support focused onto improve memory performance AMD = RVI (Rapid Virtualization Technology) with Phenom CPU platform and Intel EPT (Extended Page Table) with Core i7 CPU platform.

This entry is part of HW for Virtualization Workshop

This hardware was used to create OpenSolaris 200906 JeOS Prototype VM images in 10+ Virtualization formats - Download


Main Motivations

Main motivations was

  • Speed up creation of JeOS Prototype / Virtual Appliances / VM Templates by using latest powerful multi-threaded CPUs with hardware acceleration
  • Test Virtual Appliances on what "you can buy now/what developers will have on table " environment
  • We also plan to participate with this new HW on OpenSolaris 2009.06 and DEV versions Install Fest.

Today also released Windows 7 is driving interest in Desktop HW with Virtual Hardware assisted support

Windows 7: The Dawn of the Age of Client Virtualization

General Overview

Todays Virtualization Technologies Sprawl

Todays developers have wide choices of virtualization technologies, we will like have HW to support this ones:

  • SUN VirtualBox (Linux, Windows, OpenSolaris)
  • VMware Products including Player (Linux, Windows)
  • Xen based platforms in desktop Linux Distributions or OpenSolaris
  • KVM based platforms in desktop Linux Distributions
  • QEMU based platforms in desktop Linux Distributions
  • Microsoft Virtual PC (Windows)
  • Parallels Desktop (Windows, Linux)
Notes
  • Some of this Virtualization are multi-platform, some are tight to particular OS type, so we need a multi OS boot configuration
  • Bad news is then only one virtualization technology can exclusive use Hardware Assisted CPU extensions but good news is then all virtualization can be installed in one OS instance in most cases without interfering.

Project HW Requirements

HW PartRecommendedNotes
CPUAMD Phenom IIIdeally second generation of Phenom II with DDR3 memory support
CPUIntel Core i7Intel's first CPU desktop generation with EPT
CPU Cooler We will work under higher load, we need better CPU coolers
MBGood Brand Motherboard si most important part of Virtualization Workstation
For Virtualization, because it its has broken support we will be ....
For Storage to have S-ata with AHCI standard support for OS compatibility
For Guad-OS boot support WinXP,WinVista/Win7,OpenSolaris,Linux
Memory8GB RAM Or similar amount, on Intel 9GB due 3 channels
To fit more runinng VMs, Double Memory sizes on actual notebooks
VGALatest CHIPFor AMD = ATI, For Intel Nvidia, so we have HW diversity
Storage3 disksOne for OS,One for Data, One for Backup
Network1Gbit One 1Gbit Ethernet with common chip Intel or Realtek
COM1x COM portThis is good for automation and remote control
DVDDVD-RWGood dual layer s-ata Lnux compatible write
FLOPPYNONo floppy, it prevent air flow and we will need it only once, we will use
Power SupplyModular One This is must, otherwise we will have unstable system
CASEFULL SIZE Good cooling and quiet machine need space
Notes
  • Due to process fluctuations disk sizes was budget filler item
  • Machines will by also some time in offices so they need to be quiet !

Budget Constrains = Virtualization Workstation for $1000 each

We need use latest generation of HW, high end models will have very high prices, for $1000 can't eve processor, but if wee go a little upper entry level of this latest HW generation we can fit in $1000 (25 000CZK at time of ordering) per Workstation.

We try to query 5 main local providers for quote, but we found then custom build Workstations will cost us $200-$500 over budget, so we use standard configuration for Gaming Workstations to lover build cost and get close to $1000 budget price with some small performance tuning to finally match cost.

(For example we order slower memories for Intel Core i7 and just DDR2 mode of AMD Phenom II)

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