Install a home virtualizzation server

I had the need to perform a few different tasks, such as monitoring solar panels, download torrents/emule,  run vpn servers, aggregate two different ADSL connections, share media files, backup data.

I decided to build my own mini-server to host all the services needed to meet my requirements.

I preferred to build a virtualizzation server, and than install multiple OSes. This choice partially derives from me having already 3 different OS installations on two old PCs. I migrated these on the new server as virtual machines.

Hardware:

I was looking for something quiet, quite powerfull but with low TDP, affordable. I run into ASRocks Q1900. A mini itx motherboard with an embedded intel J1900 quadcore processor. If your looking for real low tdp (9W), quiet (no fans whatsoever, only passive dissipation), low costs (60$ for motherboard+processor, 25$ for 8GB ram, 50$ for case+power unit, disk(s) if you don’t have any spare) this is your choice.

If you want something more, you can go for a AMD Athlon 5370 + ASRock AM1B-ITX, at the cost of 35W TDP, one fan noise, and a few bucks more.

If you want to save some money, you can recycle an old case + power supply, if you don’t mind fan noises and large cases. Or you can use something like this; no fans, no noise.

This assembly works great with xBMC, by the way. A powerfull and versatile way to build your own mediacenter.

 

Host OS: Lubuntu 16.04 LTS

As host operating system, i choosed Lubuntu. I like ubuntu, and this flavor is really light.

You will need the iso on cd (if you have an us cd reader) or USB stick. For the installation, i created a 24GB root partition, plus 6GB swap. If you have a spare 32GB SSD or USB stick (yes, you can install all this on a USB Stick, if at least with 8MB/s write speed), this is enough.

After the installation is done,  you should at once edit network settings to  a static ip address.

then install some utilities:

  1. install SSH server for remote “putty” logins
  2. remove light-locker (a bug prevent xvnc11 from working correctly)
  3. install x11vnc
  4. set the password for vnc
  5. start the vnc listener (now you con connect from tighvnc or similar on port 5900
  1. sudo apt-get install openssh-server
  2. sudo apt-get remove light-locker sudo apt-get install xscreensaver
  3. sudo apt-get install x11vnc
  4. x11vnc -storepasswd /etc/x11vnc.pass
  5. sudo /usr/bin/x11vnc -xkb -auth /var/run/lightdm/root/:0 -noxrecord -noxfixes -noxdamage -rfbauth /home/guidomarche/.vnc/passwd -forever -bg -rfbport 5900 -display :0

From now on you can do everything remotely.

I had problems with random freezes, when using a Seagate Barracuda HD. I realized that it has something to do with the power management. I added the parameter intel_idle.max_cstate=1 to the kernel parameters, and everythign  went fine since. Another way i fuond was using old kernels (3.16.7-29 was ok).

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