[mythtv-users] Virtualisation .. can it do this? (HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L)

Adrian Saul sgtbundy at gmail.com
Tue Sep 25 12:18:25 UTC 2012

On 25/09/2012 9:10 PM, Damian wrote:
> One thing that constantly trips my up with Mythbuntu is 
> upgrading/updating it. I know a lot of you would say, if it's not 
> broke, don't fix it. But I like to have the latest stable version of 
> MythTV.
> So, my question is, could virtualisation help with this?
> When it's time for a big update, could I clone the working virtual 
> machine and keep it safe. Then update the 'copy' until I get that 
> working great. Then just delete the original version?

Perfect example of the benefits of virtualisation.   I do sort of an 
awkward method of this, but use virtualbox to build my new Mythbuntu 
install, have a script/notepad file full of things to change on it, then 
copy it onto a new NFS root for my backend to run from.  Lets me do all 
the mucking around in a virtual setup and see what I need to do mostly 
before I put it into "production". Similar to my setup, you could 
snapshot things before you do an upgrade or just take snapshots for 
recovery points etc.

> Is that one of the points of having multiple virtual machines on the 
> server? Or is there another good reason to have it that I'm missing?

Depending on the virtualisation software, you can move your VM images 
between physical machines during upgrades which saves you complete OS 
re-install.   You can also carve up test or play environments which you 
can throw away as well.  If you are running multiple OSes its a 
no-brainer as well to cut down on the number of boxes or use a single 
more powerful box for multiple tasks.

> If it is a good idea, how much harder am I making life for myself? 
> Baring in mind that I'm one of the dumb ones (meaning that I like a 
> GUI for everything! I can use the terminal minimally, but I'm always 
> scared of breaking something and have to cut and paste other peoples 
> instructions exactly).
Well, as a professional sys admin the bane of my life is the cop out 
excuse of software vendors "we don't support X virtualisation" - without 
actually explaining what part of the virtualisation model their 
incredible software is able to violate that no others can.  If you get 
it going you might run into that if you have issues i.e first responses 
being "works for me outside virtualisation, must be that".   But other 
than that treat it as a learning opportunity - there are a lot of 
benefits to virtualisation and increasingly the old gaps in performance 
are disappearing.

> And if it's still sounding like a good idea, which virtualisation 
> system should I used? I have used Virtualbox from within Ubuntu and 
> Windows, but have never even heard of some of the virtualisation 
> systems that people are installing onto these HP ProLiant 
> MicroServer's. It's a whole new world to me.
Virtualbox is great for play environments in a desktop environment, 
useless for "server" virtualisation.   You probably want to look at 
something like Xen, or maybe one of the free VMware products.  I have no 
experience of the Microsoft product but it might be something else you 
could look at, but I am not even sure if there is a free offering.



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