Whole House Distro setup - XBMC based on VmWare ESXi 5
#1
Video 
I have been working on my system for awhile now constantly tweaking (to my wife's disdain!)

I am currently running a server with 4 VM's. One running Windows Server 2012 for media, two VM's with Win 7 and XBMC, and a vCMA for iPad control of all VM's.

Server is a Norco 4220 with 2 - 10 TB RAID 5 arrays for media and 2 - 2TB RAID 1's for storage (photo's, music and data). ESXi 5.0.2 is running on a Tyan S5510GM3NR with an Intel E3-1220 V2 CPU and 8GB of Ram. A Plextor M5Pro is my Datastore for the VM's. 2 IBM M5015s as RAID cards. Two Radeons as the video cards (one 6670 and one 6450)

My setup downstairs is a 105" Screen with a
Video Stream --> XBMC --> Onkyo 5507 Pre/Pro --> Lumagen XD Video Processor --> JVC DLA-X3 Projector --> Draper Onyx 105"
Audio Stream is 7.1 from XBMC --> Onkyo 5507 Pre/Pro --> B&K 125.7 & Parasound HALO A21 (It's actually setup for 9.1)

Speakers are 2 Custom Zaph Audio ZRT (FL & FR) , Center and Front High are SpeakerCraft Tantra 3's, SB and SS are SpeakerCraft Tantra 10.1's in ceiling and a JL Audio Fathom F110 provides the low-end .

Everything is controlled by RTI Remotes through an RTI XP-8, Theater is using a T3V and upstairs is using two T2V's.

Whole house distribution is over Cat5e using Key Digital 8x8 Matrix for both Audio and Video. To solve the HDMI distribution problem for now (until an Atlona HDBaseT 6x6 Matrix is a little more reasonable) I am using an HDMI Fury 3 for upstairs. The Theater has HDMI directly running to it.

Here is the rack!
Image
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#2
Forgive my ignorance, but:

1. Why do you need the VMs? Can windows not run a multiseat setup?

2. Does this distribution system send component or hdmi or something else? What resolution does it support (I thought component was limited to 720p/1080i)

That beast server rack would NOT fit under my stairs Sad
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#3
i was going to ask the same questions why have you setup multiple VM's

why do you need seperate windows versions in different vm's running off the same machine if you just ran say Windows server or even Windows 7 or Windows 8 as the server OS and had it doubled as a server and whatever else you want to run on it
you could have windows server and then install xbmc on it i would assume it should run fine i have a windows home server 2012 on my server i don't use it for xbmc as i have seperate HTPC's but i am sure if could run xbmc if i wanted

basically unless those other windows versions are used for something dedicated i dont see why you run seperate ones when one Windows OS installation would be able to handle multiple tasks
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#4
(2013-09-14, 01:00)naa3e5 Wrote: ...
Whole house distribution is over Cat5e using Key Digital 8x8 Matrix for both Audio and Video
...

Nod you're making me jealous there. There are other insane elements in your setup, but that particular piece got me in the feels.
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#5
(2013-09-16, 09:25)nickr Wrote: Forgive my ignorance, but:

1. Why do you need the VMs? Can windows not run a multiseat setup?

2. Does this distribution system send component or hdmi or something else? What resolution does it support (I thought component was limited to 720p/1080i)

That beast server rack would NOT fit under my stairs Sad

1.) A couple reasons, I have one serving HDMI Audio and another serving Analog/Optical, two people can watch movies in different rooms, I can watch Star Trek in the theater while my wife can watch TV shows in the living room.
And I am not sure how cleanly you could run a multiseat to different monitors, this setup other then the initial plan of the build (choosing the right HW) was pretty simple

2) I serve 1080P over component, 1080i restriction over component was a man made HDCP issue.

(2013-09-16, 10:05)protocol77 Wrote: i was going to ask the same questions why have you setup multiple VM's

why do you need seperate windows versions in different vm's running off the same machine if you just ran say Windows server or even Windows 7 or Windows 8 as the server OS and had it doubled as a server and whatever else you want to run on it
you could have windows server and then install xbmc on it i would assume it should run fine i have a windows home server 2012 on my server i don't use it for xbmc as i have seperate HTPC's but i am sure if could run xbmc if i wanted

basically unless those other windows versions are used for something dedicated i dont see why you run seperate ones when one Windows OS installation would be able to handle multiple tasks

I run separate VM's b/c one I have the spare licenses to do it, two if I need to reboot one of the HTPC's it doesnt cycle the Server and all the RAID drives. I can reboot each VM remotely through the iPad app
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#6
That's pretty cool. There was a multiseat linux setup described here recently that had 4 video cards linked to 4 TVs in different rooms. It wasn't done as VM's. I can see the point of VMs though, XBMC/Windows seems to need a reboot every now and then. No point in bringing down your server.
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#7
Yeah I don't think I have heard of windows being multiseat... and I know nothing about Linux, I am a command line idiot!
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#8
(2013-09-14, 01:00)naa3e5 Wrote: I have been working on my system for awhile now constantly tweaking (to my wife's disdain!)

I am currently running a server with 4 VM's. One running Windows Server 2012 for media, two VM's with Win 7 and XBMC, and a vCMA for iPad control of all VM's.

Once you put Windows in a VM you change the licensing for it, and need "Windows Virtual Desktop Access (Windows VDA)" licensing now for each device that will access the windows 7 machine. http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about...ation.aspx
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#9
(2013-09-17, 06:16)nickr Wrote: That's pretty cool. There was a multiseat linux setup described here recently that had 4 video cards linked to 4 TVs in different rooms. It wasn't done as VM's. I can see the point of VMs though, XBMC/Windows seems to need a reboot every now and then. No point in bringing down your server.



Do you have a link to this setup?
I was going to follow the lead of the OP with my current hardware to allow me to connect a bedroom TV to a 2nd HDMI card etc.. but hit a limitation - I only have an Intel i3-2120 CPU, which doesn't support VT-D Sad - I believe this is needed for ESXi to allocate the PCI slots to it's hosts (OP, please can you confirm this for me?)
I'd like to explore the possibility of trying it using linux before I rush out and buy a better CPU.

Also, a question for the OP - do you have any more pics of your setup? Build pics, or a shot from the back of the rack to show the cabling etc?... Not that it's important to the content of this thread, I just like being nosy Blush
And finally, what is the make/model of the disk enclosure you're using please?


Top work by the way.. I'm very impressed
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#10
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...=multiseat - unfortunately the last time I looked the link to the guy's blog which describes the actual details was down.
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#11
I've been researching VM's for a central gaming server but GPU passthrough is just not reliable enough or with good enough frame rates for my tastes using ESXI,HyperV with RemoteFX or Xenserver.

I found this during my research into an alternative. Multiseat Gaming http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/faq/id-167...howto.html

Same thing really except our connected XBMC displays would be in different rooms.

With regard to the gaming end of things. Given that multiple Steam account instances can be sandboxed so they don't detect each other on the same PC and given each seat can have its own IP address, I am hoping that with SteamOS I can turn each low powered XBMC player in each of my rooms into a Virtual full powered PC gaming device. Dual booting with Openelec or even better XBMC running as an app on SteamOS.
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#12
(2013-11-14, 15:45)calibos Wrote: I've been researching VM's for a central gaming server but GPU passthrough is just not reliable enough or with good enough frame rates for my tastes using ESXI,HyperV with RemoteFX or Xenserver.

I found this during my research into an alternative. Multiseat Gaming http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/faq/id-167...howto.html

Same thing really except our connected XBMC displays would be in different rooms.

With regard to the gaming end of things. Given that multiple Steam account instances can be sandboxed so they don't detect each other on the same PC and given each seat can have its own IP address, I am hoping that with SteamOS I can turn each low powered XBMC player in each of my rooms into a Virtual full powered PC gaming device. Dual booting with Openelec or even better XBMC running as an app on SteamOS.

Are you saying that this sort of setup won't be reliable for XBMC either? I don't intend on using it for gaming, but want 100% reliablity and picture quality for XBMC playback.
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#13
No, it should be fine for video. Its just for gaming where the gpu passthrough framerates aren't quite good enough for FPS's. Good enough for slower paced games though.
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#14
Yeah I believe you need VT-D. I will take some shot of the back of the rack soon for ya! The server housed is in a Norco 4220
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#15
Hi,

Did you get any shots of the back of the rack? (sorry, but I'm just nosey)
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