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Virtual Server on a WHS RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,
    I am planning a new Configuration for my server (momentarily 2003 SBS R2).

    My current plan is, that I install WHS as Main OS with MS Virtual Server R2 installed. On top of this, I want estimately 2 virtual hosts (1x windows server, 1x linux) running. Is this configuration possible? WHS itself shall not be virtual because of the drive extender technology.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 7:21 PM

Answers

  • Looks like it's been a while since anyone posted in this thread, but I thought I'd note that I've got Virtual Server R2 running without any problems under WHS PP1. Provided you don't muck around with the drive-extender managed storage pool (ie. never touch drive D: on the WHS) you should be fine.

    I've put the Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) files for the virtualized operating systems on a non-WHS managed drive (ie. it is not part of the WHS storage pool; it is a drive which I installed and formatted as plain NTFS using Drive Manager). I didn't really like the idea of Drive Extender trying to manage massive VHD files, and I wanted to be certain I knew which drive would be hosting the VMs.

    I'm hosting an XP SP3 machine which I use for web-hosting. The XP account used for this has minimal permissions and read-only access to a share on the WHS. I created a seperate WHS account just to be used by the XP VM. Once I got this setup I have found it to be a totally set-and-forget solution, much better than directly hosting things on the WHS.

    I'd recommend setting Virtual Server to save the machine state when the host WHS machine powers down, and also adjusting the process timeout settings which WHS uses when it's shutting down (by default WHS won't give the Virtual Server process enough time to suspend the VM state). See MS KB: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888745
    Friday, January 9, 2009 2:03 AM

All replies

  • It can be done, however this is not a normal server beta. I understand that most of us here are the techie crowd, but this product is not meant for us, it is meant for those who do not have the high grasp of technology like we do and want a place to share music, movies, and pictures from the family photo album. Please try to limit what applications you install on your server because more than likely bug reports will be rejected when MS finds out that Virtual Server, WSUS, and Exchange are installed.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 7:56 PM
    Moderator
  • That is exactly the reason WHY I want to use Virtual server, so I can install all necessary applications into the virtual hosts, so the whs does only file sharing and hosting the virtual hosts. I think that should be no problem if there are enough ressources, or not? I hope so ^^
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 8:17 PM
  • You may have enough system resources, but it is more the fact that MS has said modifying the setup can break it, and the way that WHS manages storage. I have also heard from people that have had problems with IIS after installing other software that modifies the configuration and then you can't access any webpage that is stored on the WHS. My point is and always will be that this is a Home server and is not intended for huge complex configurations. If you want to use Virtual Server install it on your existing server and use another machine for WHS testing.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 8:25 PM
    Moderator
  • I understand that, but I do not want to have another physical server here, and due to the fact that I need the flexible way of storing data of whs AND the extended functionality of a normal windows server I think the virtual way would be the best path. Additionally, I think a virtual whs on a normal server would be more difficult than a normal server virtual on a physical whs.

    But apart from that, I know that this isn´t the optimal configuration for a whs.

    Sunday, March 4, 2007 8:41 PM
  • Well, I think you're barking up the wrong tree.  WHS is intended to be a stand-alone, black box, appliance - a data storage and backup solution for home computers.

    WHS is not a replacement for SBS nor is it a general purpose server OS (although it is derived from Windows Server 2003).  I'm not an expert on SBS, but I understand it includes Active Directory and implements a Windows Domain by default.  WHS does not support Active Directory.

    If you attempt to re-purpose WHS as a general purpose server platform, you'll have an unsupported and possibly unstable environment.  I suspect you'll be bumping into one problem after another as you try to get the product to do things its not intended to do.

    Installing WHS as a vitual machine (guest) is not supported either, but it does work.  The virtual machine could have multiple disks, the files for which could be on different physical disks.  For testing purposes, I've installed WHS in a Virtual Machine (guest) with three (virtual) disks and have connected three "home" computers - Vista RTM Ultimate, XP Pro SP2 and XP Home.  The last is actually another virtual machine on the same host.  This all installed and works "out of the box".  The host computer is Vista RTM 64 bit - 4 GB RAM, Intel Pentium D 840, three physical disks (one IDE, 2 SATA) with Virtual Server 2005 R2.

     

     

    Sunday, March 4, 2007 9:25 PM
  • But, as far as i know, the only change that an installed ms virtual server r2 would make would be a service in the background which only needs hard disk space. So, after vs is installed, the only administrative action that would be made were ON the virtual hosts, so after the installation there are no further changes to the whs. I think this should not lead to any stability problems or so. The only thing that could be a problem is the administration website that would be installed in iis.

    The Active Directory could then be controlled by a dc in a virtual host, so that the whs has its default config + virtual server without any 3rd party stuff.

    Sunday, March 4, 2007 9:52 PM
  •  Pharao2k wrote:

    But, as far as i know, the only change that an installed ms virtual server r2 would make would be a service in the background which only needs hard disk space. So, after vs is installed, the only administrative action that would be made were ON the virtual hosts, so after the installation there are no further changes to the whs. I think this should not lead to any stability problems or so. The only thing that could be a problem is the administration website that would be installed in iis.

    The Active Directory could then be controlled by a dc in a virtual host, so that the whs has its default config + virtual server without any 3rd party stuff.


    If I recall correctly, (I don't currently have an installation) MS Virtual Server wants access to the actual disks for various purposes, and can't operate through network shares (though the virtual machines can, of course, access network shares assuming there's a virtual NIC supplied). The standard configuration of WHS has a 10 GB system partition on the primary disk, then all other storage is in a single pool. Storage in the pool is managed by Drive Extender, and should only be accessed through the network shares that WHS exposes. If Virtual Server can be installed to run it's virtual machines off of network shares instead of drive letters, then yes, I think it should work, although likely with bad performance.

    The admin web site is pretty tiny, and shouldn't be a problem.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 10:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Is it not possible to add a hard disk without adding it to the whole hard disk extender solution? If this is possible, it would be possible to have a hard disk dedicated to the "virtual hard disks"
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 11:20 PM
  • It's possible to add another hard disk and configure it outside the Data partition.  but I doubt its supported.  WHS console lists the drive as "Not Initialized" even after it has been formatted and a drive letter assigned. And there's no way to filtering it out of the WHS console so you run the risk of wiping out all your data if you pick the wrong drive to initialize later on when you add another drive to your system.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 11:57 PM
  • Why not run WHS as a virtual machine on your 2003 server?  You can then mount the drives you plan to use as data stores directly into the virtual machine, avoiding the need for any virtual disk images hogging drive space.  Disk performance should be nearly native this way.  I know that Virtual PC 2007 and VMWare Server can do this, but I've never run Virtual Server 2005; I assume that it functions similarly to its workstation relative, though.

    If you must run WHS as the base OS, you could resize the system partition with a 3rd party tool to allow for more than 10GBs of space; or even more adventurous (and thus more likely to totally break things), move the D drive to a totally different machine and resize C to fill all the space.  Try either at your own risk.
    Monday, March 5, 2007 12:58 AM
  • As far as i know, Virtual Server can only transform a physical disk to a virtual one and not access it directly. The approach with a virtual whs should be possible, but i dont think that it would have the same safety of disk failure than a physical one, and this is the main reason why I want whs ^^
    Monday, March 5, 2007 5:27 PM
  • Virtual Server supports virtual harddisks on network shares, so it is possible to have a virtual 2003 server installed on top of WHS without interfering with the physical drives. Just add a new share in WHS and use this for your VHDs. It's working fine here...

    -Asbjørn

    Monday, March 5, 2007 9:43 PM
  • I to am interested in this.  I currently run Virtual Server with SBS2003 in a VM.  This is running on a standard copy of Windows server 2003 that has all my files shares and backups on it.  Even though I am very technical, I am wanting to spend less time managing shares and backups and thought that HS would be a great way to do this.

    I was originally planning on dumping the host OS, installing HS and then VPC Server on it and putting my SBS2003 machine on it.  I do not plan on trying to have HS access my domain or AD.

     

    I suppose it is not supported but I plan to give it a try.  I think VPCServer should not have much impact on the machine itself.  I could be wrong I suppose.

     

    Rob

    Thursday, May 24, 2007 10:41 PM
  • I suggest you run all 3 in VMs.

    a VM doesn't necc need a full host operating system to work.  There are a few (growing number) of virt server technologies that are a very small OS that's only function is to sit as a software layer between the physical hardware and the VM. 

    Running a VM on a full OS install works fine, but when that full OS needs patched, you have to restart ALL of the VMs with it.  If you don't have a full OS, any of the machines can be rebooted without affecting the other.

     

    Check out http://www.xensource.com/products/xen/ they have commercial versions, but since its open source, you should be able to run it freely, just without support... and you may have to run an older version.  (I have never tried this... I've just been reading a bit on this subject)

    Saturday, May 26, 2007 12:17 AM
  • Hi!

    I have Virtual Server R2 installed on my WHS. I didn't notice any problem with WHS configuration after installing Virtual Server. I have the virtual machine installed on the partition for shared files on WHS, and that seems to work fine. I have only one physical HDD, so I don't know what happens if the automatic duplication feature of WHS is turned on for that partition.

     

    Sine I installed Hamachi on my WHS, I haven't been able to access the WHS website from my livenode.com-address. As I installed Hamachi before Virtual Server, I don't know if Virtual Server could mess up things like Hamachi do, but I guess not, since Virtual Server runs on port 1024, which isn't in use for anything else as I know of. The Hamachi problem is because of a virtual network adapter, which makes the WHS fail to auto-configure the router - because it gets confused of which network adapter to use (i guess).

     

    BTW, running Hamachi as a service on WHS and any virtual server you might have, makes it possible to access any of the servers using Remote Desktop from the Internet. Nice feature! Smile

     

    My virtural machine is not a server though, so I don't know what happens if you try to run SBS as a virtual server on your home network. I just use it as an easy way to host and access the "Orcas" Beta 1 virtual machine from anywhere I might be.

    Saturday, May 26, 2007 9:32 AM
  • Hi,

     

    I try to do the same thing, install Virtual Server R2 on WHS, but it seems no matter that where I put the VHD, when I start the Virtual Machine, I always get the error "Another virtual machine or the Virtual Disk Manager might be using this disk right now", anyone has seen that?

     

    Thanks

    Charles

    Thursday, November 22, 2007 7:53 PM
  • Looks like it's been a while since anyone posted in this thread, but I thought I'd note that I've got Virtual Server R2 running without any problems under WHS PP1. Provided you don't muck around with the drive-extender managed storage pool (ie. never touch drive D: on the WHS) you should be fine.

    I've put the Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) files for the virtualized operating systems on a non-WHS managed drive (ie. it is not part of the WHS storage pool; it is a drive which I installed and formatted as plain NTFS using Drive Manager). I didn't really like the idea of Drive Extender trying to manage massive VHD files, and I wanted to be certain I knew which drive would be hosting the VMs.

    I'm hosting an XP SP3 machine which I use for web-hosting. The XP account used for this has minimal permissions and read-only access to a share on the WHS. I created a seperate WHS account just to be used by the XP VM. Once I got this setup I have found it to be a totally set-and-forget solution, much better than directly hosting things on the WHS.

    I'd recommend setting Virtual Server to save the machine state when the host WHS machine powers down, and also adjusting the process timeout settings which WHS uses when it's shutting down (by default WHS won't give the Virtual Server process enough time to suspend the VM state). See MS KB: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888745
    Friday, January 9, 2009 2:03 AM