Saturday, December 19, 2009

A new adventure: Proxmox VE

This last week or so, I've undertaken a new tech adventure at home: Proxmox VE.

First, a little backstory:
  • My wife, Michelle, has a photography business.
  • She has a lot of photos, and generates a lot of data (currently over 600GB/year), all of it important. Every time she gets a new camera, that number increases.
  • She's outgrown her built-in RAID array on her workstation (the backing up, etc. is too time-intensive).
  • We bought a Dell PowerEdge 1900 II server for all of her future data storage, etc. (Dual Xeon 5310, 4GB RAM, 2x750GB disks, LTO3 tape drive).
    Tip: Make sure you look at the Dell Outlet if you're looking for a deal on a system including a tape drive. We got the complete system including the tape drive for slightly more than the cost of the tape drive.
  • I made the decision that we would use non-Microsoft products to handle her file storage, file sharing, etc. The cost of Microsoft was going to be more than we could handle.
So, I then made the decision to virtualize this system. I needed setup to be easy, and a slick, easy-to-use management interface. I came up with a list of 2 choices (for free):
  • VMWare ESXi (what I use @ work): Free, 'industry-standard', proven tech, but no backup abilities (without $), no volume management in Host OS, no Tape Drive use in Host OS.
  • Proxmox VE: Free, proven tech, with every management feature I could want. But I don't use it at work (the only downside).
    I did consider other OpenVZ or KVM-based solutions, but they didn't have the ease of management that Proxmox has.
Up next (later posts):
  1. Installing Proxmox on a Dell PE1900
  2. Setting up and managing storage on Proxmox
  3. Getting VM's access to the Host OS hardware (tape, etc.)