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Folks,


I am assuming that no one uses VMware on their HTPC's since the drivers for VMware have to live in the hypervisor, which means that those drivers lag behind native OS drivers, which in turn means that they are always going to be late or never for VMware.


But, with Microsoft Hyper-V, the drivers live in the native OS. This "ought" to make it possible to have HTPC's as VM's IF their are no performance issues induced by Hyper-V itself. I can see this as being very beneficial if you want to try a change in configuraiton or a new driver. Simply clone your exising reference VM (the one that you know works), and then make the change in the new one.


Thoughts?


Thanks,


Bernd
 

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My personal strategy is to use iSCSI as the medium. I have a "base" HTPC conifguration that I can duplicate and share on the network as an iSCSI volume in a snap. Then I can play with the configuration and change things to my heart's content, and if things go wrong, just blow the volume, and create another one from the base.
Makes testing things a snap.


Now, booting from an iSCSI volume is of course very hardware dependent, and slower than a local hard drive, but it's workable. All of my HTPCs have atleast 4GB RAM and are set to "no swap file". With 4GB of RAM, there really is no need for a swap file especially for media playback. Once the HTPC boots up, there is of course no difference in performance from a local boot vs iSCSI boot.


That being said, this setup is still a work in progress and I'm still tweaking things.
 

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You miss understand how the VM works.


You don't get access to the native hardware at all.


The video driver is a unique VM video driver.


HTPC's and Gaming rigs need to be on the metal to get at their specialized hardware needs.



Hyper-V doesn't even have audio or USB.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was wondering if it would even work. If as you say, there is no USB or audio in a VM, then you are right, and this would not work at all.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernd /forum/post/14190668


I was wondering if it would even work. If as you say, there is no USB or audio in a VM, then you are right, and this would not work at all.

The whole idea of a virtual machine for the most part is that it performs services in the background that really need very minimal access for configuration and matienence.


I have several here at work doing things like DNS, source control, and testing enviroments.


In order to access these machines I need another live machine booted up, then I can log into them with either the virtual machine client (no USB, audio support) or remote desktop connection (USB and audio support).


The whole thing with a VM is that the hardware is completely virtualized so that a VM running on my PC can be moved to a server or loaded into any other computer running the same virtualization solution and it will expose exactly the same hardware (no loading up TV tuners, or hardware acclerated graphics here).


But either way if you are trying to get the output of a VM on your display you'll need a full OS on the computer hooked up to the display which makes the whole thing seem awefully redundant.
 

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I am doing it for my next HTPC build.


One important point however: yes, you can run MCE just fine if you use VMware workstation 6. No other virtualization tool will give you better local viewing experience.

That said, it does not compare to running MCE on the bare metal.


Now, this is what I plan to do:
  1. Get myself a few network tuners. Local PCI/e tuners are now outdated for digital signals (and even for SDTV).
  2. Virutalize Vista MCE and set it up with the network tuners.
  3. Get myself some extenders.


My only grip is that most current extenders suck.

I don't play games. So, I don't care much for an XBox360.

Plus, I want my extender to have normal PC capabilities.


If I cannot find a good extender, then I will get some laptops and pair them with the network tuners and call it a day.

Of course, all recordings will be done to a network storage.
 

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Intel VT-d technology will allow hypervisor's to "passthrough" a USB, PCI, PCIe device to the guest OS so that they can access the hardware natively. I'm currently using an Intel P5E-VM DO mobo with Xen 3.2.1 on linux to pass my PCI DVB card to my Windows XP guest OS. It works pretty well in Xen, but VT-d support in other virtualization packages seem to be immature compared to Xen. I didn't bother looking at MS Hypervisor as I don't have a need for Windows on Windows virtualization.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernd /forum/post/14190668


I was wondering if it would even work. If as you say, there is no USB or audio in a VM, then you are right, and this would not work at all.

Not true.

VMware and MS support USB and audio in some of their products.


I have even seen demos of people playing the latest video games under VMware workstation 6 with full 3D acceleration, sound, and joystick support.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernd /forum/post/14190393


Folks,


I am assuming that no one uses VMware on their HTPC's since the drivers for VMware have to live in the hypervisor, which means that those drivers lag behind native OS drivers, which in turn means that they are always going to be late or never for VMware.


But, with Microsoft Hyper-V, the drivers live in the native OS. This "ought" to make it possible to have HTPC's as VM's IF their are no performance issues induced by Hyper-V itself. I can see this as being very beneficial if you want to try a change in configuraiton or a new driver. Simply clone your exising reference VM (the one that you know works), and then make the change in the new one.


Thoughts?


Thanks,


Bernd

I have tinkered with VMs, and we use them at work so I have a little idea of what they are and how they can be used.


As far as I can tell they have 3 purposes:

1. Multiple OS's at the same time on the same machine

2. Multiple Virtual servers on a single machine that has enough power to run several servers

3. Software development.


I work as an audio engineer, and I use very specific programs to do my job. My computer must be stable for me to work effectively. I tried to add a VM for all my office, email, web browsing and experiments.


It turned out to be too much work to maintain multiple machines, even if they are just virtual.


all of my software is stable enough that all of my experimentation doesn't mess things up very often, And if it does I use a system restore program. We use Symantec Backup Exec. Every night it makes a shadow copy of my C drive. So if I hose the system, I can restore it in a matter of minutes.


There are also enough things that don't work well in a VM that it's not worth the trouble.


Therefor, I see no benefit in using VM on my HTPC.


There may come a day when PCs are so over powered that we will only need one in the house and all the rest can just be dickless workstations- including the HTPC.


~Jay
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay M /forum/post/14193799


There may come a day when PCs are so over powered that we will only need one in the house and all the rest can just be dickless workstations- including the HTPC.


~Jay

"dickless workstations" ?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay M /forum/post/14193799



There may come a day when PCs are so over powered that we will only need one in the house and all the rest can just be dickless workstations- including the HTPC.


~Jay

you mean like the old days of terminals?


So lets say a virtual PC can get direct access to the hardware. You still can only have 1 virtual PC access the hardware at a time. Cant virtualize physical hardware.


What I expected out of hyper-V was that it would run processes in a virtualized manner, so that if the process dies or gets corrupted it doesnt affect anything outside of its own little bubble and can be restored instantly in the case of a problem. But I dont think it works that way.


I use virtualpc08 for keeping a copy of XP in my vista machine. I can then downloads crap and mess around and not worry about anything, even if it gets infected by viruses.
 

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So, I guess I should tell you guys about my "little" project at home.



I've been buying new toys for the first half of the year as my funds will be diverted elsewhere for the rest of the year. I'd been planning a new PC since September or so, replacing my Shuttle SN25P (dual-core, ~2.2GHz).


(There's a decent chunk of my story here that you can read over at 2CPU forums.)


So, the new PC is alive and well with the following components.


NZXT Rogue "mATX" case (see what craigbru is doing with this case @ Sudhian and/or HardOCP)

SuperMicro X7DCA-L-O motherboard

2x Xeon L5420 (low-voltage 2.5GHz quad-core Xeons)

12GB RAM (grin)

Raptor main OS/personal files HD (may ultimately be the 150GB Raptor from my Shuttle)

2x 1TB WD GP (one in a removable chassis, serving as a backup to the other)

LG GGW-H20L HD-DVD+Blu-Ray

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 with Hyper-V

SiliconDust HDHomeRun


I haven't fully migrated to this PC, so I've been able to muck around with a few ideas. It is my intent to use the base OS as my day-to-day interface (i.e., office apps, e-mail, "stuff" I do with my PC). Of course, I'd like to have this thing running 24/7/365.


Currently, I've got Windows Home Server and Vista Ultimate x64 installed and running in Hyper-V. I've attached the "permanent" 1TB drive to the Home Server VM for all of my media, since WHS automatically includes a decent network share arrangement a web front-end that can be "extended" by WebGuide and other add-ons. I'll also run SharePoint from WHS, migrating the two SP sites I'm already hosting one another server. I can already access the WHS media shares from Server 2008. I have not yet gotten the Vista VM, which In only intend to use for Media Center, to access the media from WHS. Ironically, the Vista VM sees the media shares from that other Windows-based media server that I hope to replace with the WHS VM in this new build.


Since I'll access the media shares from the base Server 2008 itself, I'm not too concerned about the performance of Media Center in the VM. Given that my lone tuner is the networked-based HDHomeRun, I may not need the Vista VM to do more than placeshift or record video. If I want to play back something, I'd do it from Server 2008, and not necessarily from the Vista VM.


With six 120mm fans and the clunky size of the chassis, I won't be placing this box near my main HD display (Panasonic 42" 1080p). It's not loud, but it can be heard. If I get my build running the way I want, I should be able to repurpose that other server (an HP Slimline) to sit near the plasma and reach back for media.


Aside from a little painting, I expect to spend some quality time with my project over the holiday weekend.


-SUO
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vapore0n /forum/post/14212246


you mean like the old days of terminals?


So lets say a virtual PC can get direct access to the hardware. You still can only have 1 virtual PC access the hardware at a time. Cant virtualize physical hardware.

Actually, if Intel VT-d extensions take off you will be able to virtualize physical hardware that is made specifically for virtualization. The specification PCI-SIG - ATS describes the standard as to how PCI/PCIe device manufacturers need to make their devices virtualization capable.
 

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You could go a different route and use vm provisioning (xendesktop or vdi etc) to stream a base os to a thin client; some of them have decent hardware levels now. You can also get gpu servers to help speed up client rendering.


I only use vmware at home for running vms of xp for specialist tasks.
 

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@Kapone


Did you find a cheap way to boot ISCSI? The ISCSI HBAs that I've found are still rather expensive, I was hoping to find a cheap home solution.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vapore0n /forum/post/14212246


you mean like the old days of terminals?

What I had in mind was something more like what an Media Center extender does.


It would be a dirt cheap PC with video capable of all the current codecs, sound, and maybe an optical drive. Instead of using a hard drive it would boot off of the main server. Gigabit Ethernet should be fast enough, if not 10 GB Ethernet will be practical some day.


All of your tuners, and media storage would be on the server.


The benefit would be that bedrooms and living rooms can have a silent PC.


No one does this because of the cost. The server software is expensive, and the client is that much cheaper than a full blown PC.


But maybe someday the WHS could be the server, and a client could be built for a few hundred.


~Jay
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by havix /forum/post/14214796


@Kapone


Did you find a cheap way to boot ISCSI? The ISCSI HBAs that I've found are still rather expensive, I was hoping to find a cheap home solution.

Yeah, I couldn't find a free bootable iSCSI initiator for XP/Vista. Which is why I'm going the AoE route.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by havix /forum/post/14214796


@Kapone


Did you find a cheap way to boot ISCSI? The ISCSI HBAs that I've found are still rather expensive, I was hoping to find a cheap home solution.

Not yet. I have a fair sized collection of exotic equipment..
so, even though I can make it work, it's not for the faint of heart. Yes, that's one of the reasons, iSCSI booting is not more popular. btw, the "newer" (I'll find the actual chipset number later today) Intel PRO/1000 gigabit adapters, all have iSCSI boot support in them. You could potentially look on fleabay to see if you can grab a deal.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoked /forum/post/14214877


Yeah, I couldn't find a free bootable iSCSI initiator for XP/Vista. Which is why I'm going the AoE route.

No No...the boot support has to be on the motherboard/NIC. If that doesn't have it, by the time you get to Windows booting, it's too late.
 
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