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Adventures with XenServer on the N40L Microserver

Since my last post (in amongst family and work and stuff) I've been playing with Xenserver and the N40L Microserver. Here's how it's gone down:

The initial install went quite well, except I had configured two mirrored RAID arrays - one with 2 x 1TB disks, the other with 2 x 2TB disks. Xenserver saw neither of them. So I removed both arrays, set the SATA controller back to AHCI and went from there.

After a quick re-install, I had an initial local storage of 1TB. Following this I added three more local storage devices and re-thought how I was going to do the installation of my VMs. Following the exceptional directions on creating an Ubuntu 12.04LTS server on Xenserver from I created a 12.04 Ubuntu virtual server - all went very well. In accordance with my plan, I also created a Windows Home Server 2011 using the Windows 2008R2 template.

The WHS2011 server was so slow to install, setup and run. I had assigned it 2 CPU's, 4GB of RAM and it took at least three hours longer than the Ubuntu server to install and get going. I must note that the template from was superb and perhaps that has spoilt me a bit :-)

I also set up a FreeNAS - installed to one of the 1TB drives with 2 x 2TB virtual disks presented to it. The FreeNAS server installed quite fast and everything looked good. I set up NFS and CIFS shares and thought it was all going well. Unfortunately, as soon as I started to copy data across to the FreeNAS it's CPU usage hit 100% (as did the host's CPU). This was clearly a failure and wasn't going to work.

Undeterred, I thought about Dragonfly BSD and the excellent HAMMER file system - let's give that a crack I thought. The initial boot of the disk failed.... So FreeNAS and Dragonfly aren't going to play the game - new plan! More about this tomorrow :-)


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