The wonder of Hyper-V

With Hyper-V, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of the cost savings of virtualization through Windows Server 2008 R2. Optimize your server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as separate virtual machines
running on a single physical machine, efficiently run multiple different operating systems in parallel, on a single server, and fully leverage the power of x64 computing.

We have rolled out Hyper-V in our office and now have no physical Windows Servers that provide services. The only bare-metal servers run Hyper-V.

Storage is dealt with by an HP DL380 server set up as a SAN so that the Hyper-V front-end servers connect via iSCSI to the SAN.

Front-end servers are now:

HP DL160 G5, 2 x 2.0GHz Xeon Quad-core CPUs with 32Gb RAM

HP DL160 G6, 2 x 3.04GHz Xeon Quad-core CPUs with 64Gb RAM

Storage, storage, storage

I’ve spent the past few months on a mission – to convert all of our 2800+ DVDs to H.264 (MP4) format…. And have finally encountered what can only be described as a major obstacle…. Storage..

So what’s out there – well it’s easy and cheap to get a 2Tb USB attached drive – the problem is that even if i were to fill all 6 spare USB ports on my pc with them, I would still be over 20Tb short on space by current calculations… And there is a bigger problem – they all use FAT32, which doesn’t support file sizes greater than 4Gb – and pretty much every film is higher than 4Gb when encoded at 5000 bitrate (to ensure the utmost quality possible when viewing action scenes on a large HD TV).

So I looked for network attached storage devices, of which there are few, and still fewer that are wifi (which is essential so it can connect directly to the Apple TV). I almost purchased a 2Tb Seagate, however it was at this point that I became eternally grateful to the amazon customer reviews, as they all unanimously made it clear that this was not a good purchase!

So it’s now between buffalo and netgear – which is like being asked whether you would like to be shot or stabbed – both have major pitfalls and huge cost implications.

The Netgear ReadyNAS, which looks great at £140 until you realise that there are no drives supplied. Worse still is the buffalo, which once you read the small print you realise that you HAVE to have software installed on every pc that accesses it, which considering I want to access it directly is a problem.

My final thought came as an afterthought – why not just load the current pc with hard disks, its a new 12-core Dell i7 – it must have space for some more hard disks…. But NO… dell have decided in their infinite wisdom to fill the only two drive bays with drives, leaving no other slots for SATA drives in the case without resorting to some 5.25″ caddys, and there is no way I am making my pc look that ugly.

Traditional Servers – too noisy and power hungry – No

The “cloud” – would be fine, except that it would take years to upload, and our broadband speeds are so rubbish, that i couldn’t stream the films whilst watching them (we can’t even stream HD YouTube, let alone a 4Gb movie (DVD converted) or 10Gb+ movie (Blu-Ray converted).

So what to do? Any suggestions gratefully received!