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Server with remote access VMs

So I've potentially bitten off more than I can chew.
 

I picked up an HP ProLiant server; the DL380G6. Dual Xeon X5670 processors with about 72 GB DDR3-1333. It's currently got 16 TB in HDDs, with no RAID configuration or real OS implementation.

 

The goal is a multi-purpose server/workstation, entirely dependent on the network. I'm thinking Unraid (which I've never worked with) from the top to manage partitions and the RAID config, either in RAID 5 or 10. Assuming I go RAID 10, that gives 8 TB of redundant storage, which should be fine for what I'm trying.

 

For partitions and breakdown, I want to assign two cores and 4 TB to Plex, which I'll use to back up the unholy amount of DVDs and Blu-rays we have, and stream them via the PlayStations scattered in the house.

 

I then want to assign four cores and 2 TB each to two VMs, supplemented with 6 GB RX550s (the best card I could find that supports virtualization and doesn't require any more power than the PCIe slot can provide). I'm also thinking a PCIe riser that allows for two more SATA connections, and I'll do OS for those VMs on a couple 256 GB SATA SSDs I have on hand.

 

This is where it gets tricky.

 

I want the VMs to be network-accessible, and to utilize a couple old (2012) AIO PCs as terminals/consoles/thin-clients to allow for two quick drop-in home offices as both my wife and myself go to remote work. I think VMWare offers a direct software solution for this, but the implementation is outside ANYTHING I have experience with.

 

So if anyone has links to useful community resources, or software suggestions, or anything else useful, I'm receptive to everything.

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I think virt-manager (QEMU/KVM) also has the option to connect to remote VMs.  I've not fooled with it much, but in virt-manager you can "Add connection" and connect to another server and manage, view or interact with the virtual machines on that system remotely using something like SSH.  So you could set up the VMs on the server, then use virt-manager on the remote machine to manage and operate the VM.

 

Like I said, I know it's a thing, I just haven't messed with it much myself either.  Last time I did anything professionally with virtualization was ESXI, but that was like, 2009 or something, and I no longer actually work in the tech field, so I haven't touched that particular product since.

 

image.png.05881054aaf64acb2371c1e4860204e5.png

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I just experimented using two of my machines and yes, it is absolutely possible to connect to and use remote VMs on another machine with virt-manager.

 

I know nothing about performance in such a scenario (as in, could you game on it?), but it does work.  Here's a screenshot of a VM that's running on my desktop being displayed through virt-manager on my laptop.

 

image.thumb.png.fcf61fa316648b65d6821f379cc4f413.png

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How much performance do you need from the vms? Getting good performance will likely be a big pain here.

 

Unraid really isn't made for the use you listed use as it has its way of doing raid thats isn't like traditional raid. Id probably go proxmox if you want a more tradition hypervisor.

 

VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft all have a pretty good VDI solution that would work here. Problem is none are free and the cost in often in the thousands for a basic setup. So your kinda forced to use proxmox, setup the vms manually, then connect to them using parsec or simmilar.

 

2 minutes ago, Gerowen said:

I just experimented using two of my machines and yes, it is absolutely possible to connect to and use remote VMs on another machine with virt-manager.

 

I know nothing about performance in such a scenario, but it does work.  Here's a screenshot of a VM that's running on my desktop being displayed through virt-manager on my laptop.

From my use the performance is pretty bad. Try watching a youtube video, I doubt it would playback smoothly. Also it doesn't use the gpu power of an attached gpu as its basically connected to the virtual gpu that the host created.

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31 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

How much performance do you need from the vms? Getting good performance will likely be a big pain here.

 

Unraid really isn't made for the use you listed use as it has its way of doing raid thats isn't like traditional raid. Id probably go proxmox if you want a more tradition hypervisor.

 

VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft all have a pretty good VDI solution that would work here. Problem is none are free and the cost in often in the thousands for a basic setup. So your kinda forced to use proxmox, setup the vms manually, then connect to them using parsec or simmilar.

 

From my use the performance is pretty bad. Try watching a youtube video, I doubt it would playback smoothly. Also it doesn't use the gpu power of an attached gpu as its basically connected to the virtual gpu that the host created.

Yeah you've got to have a second stand-alone GPU to forward to the VM if you want decent performance, install the drivers from Redhat for the virtual devices, etc. to get decent performance anyway, I was thinking more about whether that performance would carry over to a network connection over SSH.  I would say not.

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11 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

How much performance do you need from the vms? Getting good performance will likely be a big pain here.

 

Unraid really isn't made for the use you listed use as it has its way of doing raid thats isn't like traditional raid. Id probably go proxmox if you want a more tradition hypervisor.

 

VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft all have a pretty good VDI solution that would work here. Problem is none are free and the cost in often in the thousands for a basic setup. So your kinda forced to use proxmox, setup the vms manually, then connect to them using parsec or simmilar.

 

From my use the performance is pretty bad. Try watching a youtube video, I doubt it would playback smoothly. Also it doesn't use the gpu power of an attached gpu as its basically connected to the virtual gpu that the host created.

I'm not particularly looking for gaming performance. AAA titles are on the PS5, and I have retro consoles to cover retro games, so at most this would be used for Roller Coaster Tycoon and Minecraft Java (which isn't a concern. The server using integrated graphics on the X5670s and loaded into Windows 7 plays it at 50 fps without issue). 

 

The goal is mostly general productivity. Excel, Word, browsing, and video calls, with maybe an occasional bit of 3D modeling for a 3D printer down the line. Since I'm really only looking to carry USB and 1080/60 display signal to and from the server via the remote terminals, I don't think performance is going to be bottled by anything but the software stack. 

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