What's the recommended 64-bit host? (2 Quad Xeons 16gb RAM)

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What's the recommended 64-bit host? (2 Quad Xeons 16gb RAM)

Postby Engineer Bill » 11. Dec 2007, 23:59

I have 2 CPUs which are quad core Xeons (Clovertown E5355) and 16gb RAM.

I would like to know what would be the recommend 64-bit HOST OS to be able to make the best use of the resources:

- specifically being able to use the full 16gb RAM without PAE getting in the way

- being able to use both quad core xeon processors (8 cores total).

I would like to set up Virtual Box to test VMs of:

- Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition (64 bit) with SQL Server 2005 Standard x64 and would like to give that process 8gb RAM

- test Ubuntu 7.10 Server

- test Fedora Core 8

- and a few others if possible.

I just want to lay down the correct HOST OS first so I won't be limited.

Thank you kindly for your advice in advance. (I heard that Ubuntu 7.10 as host might enable PAE automatically and I certainly wouldn't want that problem if that is true or limit any VMs to under 4gb RAM.)
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...

Postby nycjv321 » 15. Dec 2007, 04:01

OMG crazy system specs dude!

Well I wouldn't trust Vista :) (or XP mem lagage...) I would use some Linux distro that is has a kernel compiled with specific ability to use above 4gigs of ram. but yet again this could be a biased opinion...

are you sure you would use ubuntu as a server (or even test it as an option for a sever! lol!)???
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Re: What's the recommended 64-bit host? (2 Quad Xeons 16gb

Postby S.SubZero » 15. Dec 2007, 17:10

Engineer Bill wrote:I would like to set up Virtual Box to test VMs of:

- Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition (64 bit)


Virtualbox does not support 64-bit guests.
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Postby eiffel56 » 15. Dec 2007, 19:03

The only thing that limits you to 4GB RAM on your host is a 32bit operating system. Just install a 64bit one and everything should be okay. Since Windows doesn't scale, I recommend to use Linux. Ubuntu would be okay. Arch Linux or so is much faster, but requires some work to get a running system with X and everything.

By the way: Isn't 'Xeon' an own architecture? If yes, forget everything about VirtualBox. Its only for x86.
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Postby Engineer Bill » 16. Dec 2007, 05:53

Thanks for your replies!

nycjv321 wrote:OMG crazy system specs dude!


Yes, quite a system. I have never had the opportunity to test something like this. This is insane.

S.SubZero wrote:Virtualbox does not support 64-bit guests.


Oh. I didn't realize that. I was under the impression that 1.4 and beyond might support 64-bit.

With that in mind, I installed Ubuntu Server 7.1 (AMD64 build which supports AMD64 or EM64T architecture [e.g., Athlon64, Opteron, EM64T Xeon]) and it saw all 16gb RAM no problem and seemed very compatible with the system and saw all 8 cores (using top). I will download and try Arch Linux. I am not familiar with it. I have used Red Hat Linux since version 2 thru 9 and then Fedora Core thru 6.

Next I installed VMware Server (forgot the version but just downloaded it so it is latest) and then installed Windows 2003 Server R2 x64. VMware could only give it 3.6 gb. Ubuntu is still happy and will let me do more VMs. I installed Virtual box and this next week will try to do a Win2k3x64 server install under that and what happens. Then before I get any further, I will look for Arch Linux and start over.

When I start over, are their any other opinions of base linux operating system? I am not so much looking for speed as stability and providing a good base platform for the VMs. With 8 cores and lots of RAM and good bus speeds (fast CPUs too), I think there will be another speed for standard server functions. (Of course, who can ever get enough speed, right??!!?!? LOL)
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Postby eiffel56 » 16. Dec 2007, 12:38

Hi,

yep, Arch Linux would be a good choice. Its small, fast and easy to use.
But it's made for people who know how to use a linux system using a shell. I recommend to install Arch Linux in VirtualBox on your PC and try a bit using it. The Arch Linux Wiki helps a lot.

By the way, maybe you don't want to run any graphical stuff on your Xeon uber-machine. You could serve the VMs to other computers or so.

And, as far as I know, VirtualBox supports 64bit Hosts but only 32bit guests.
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Postby FrankVdb » 20. Dec 2007, 18:02

eiffel56 wrote:By the way: Isn't 'Xeon' an own architecture? If yes, forget everything about VirtualBox. Its only for x86.


I've always thought Xeon was x86...

Anyway, I cannot think of any application that can use eight cores and sixteen gigs of ram. Pharmaceutical research would be a good match. Protein folding requires powerful systems.

I'm so impressed I'm not even jealous.
Install Windows Vista in two minutes!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVbf9tOGwno
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Postby matt » 23. Jan 2008, 09:49

Xeon IS x86. The Clovertown processor you have is based on Intel Core architecture, with virtualization extensions (Vanderpool) and 64 bit extensions (EMT64).
You will be able to run a 64-bit OS host and run vbox on it.

As for the OS question, if you have time to tinker and you are willing to learn, Gentoo will be my choice: it will give you the most flexibility. I use it on my Core 2 Duo laptop (64bit) with Virtualbox and it works great. I only need to use 32 bit guests however. Also, it was the first GNU/Linux distro to support amd-based 64 bit (EMT64 is based on AMD64, Intel's IA64 is a totally different architecture), so its 64bit version is mature enough.
If you just don't have time and want it easy, pick some RedHat derivative such as Fedora Core or CentOS. They are also very stable.

Regarding Windows Server issue, I am not 100% sure but I think you need Enterprise Edition at least to be able to see more than 3.6GB.
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