Just purchased a Cloudmin license, what to do next ;-)

Hello, I have been following the various topics on VPS hosting and cloud computing for a while now and have played with various hosting panels (vePortal, FluidVM, Proxmox). We are a WHMCS customer and we recently upgraded to version 4.1 which has a Cloudmin module. So I decided to put aside all the beta-ish products and purchase a Cloudmin license with the confidence that the product will mature over time to fill any gaps that may be missing at the moment (not really know if there is or not).

So now I want to build out a new environment and have some hardware set aside for it and would like to get some assistance in how to proceed. I have six servers set aside for this all are dual 64bit Xeon servers with the following configurations:
1- 4GB RAM - 2 x 140GB RAID 1 - Slated for Cloudmin server
2- 4GB RAM - 4 x 1TB RAID 10 - Slated for iSCISI using Openfiler 2.3
3- 17GB RAM - 2x 140GB RAID 1 - Slated for cloud hosting
4- 17GB RAM - 2x 140GB RAID 1 - Slated for cloud hosting
5- 17GB RAM - 2x 140GB RAID 1 - Slated for cloud hosting
6- 17GB RAM - 2x 140GB RAID 1 - Slated for cloud hosting

I would like to install CentOS 5.3 64bit on all servers. I would like to know what to do next. I read in the forums about the Openvz/Xen kernel what would allow both type of virtual machines on the same host machine.

I guess I am really asking how these servers should be setup in order to use the best capabilities of Cloudmin and make sure things are setup correctly from the get go. I am willing to pay for consulting hours if that is necessary but hope that I can get a freaking awesome environment setup and then use that money to buy more Cloudmin licenses.

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

-Peter Amiri



What I'd recomend is installing CentOS 5.3 on all of them, and then the Xen / OpenVZ kernel that you can get from openvz.org. Also, you will need to install all the Xen and OpenVZ tools. The docs at http://wiki.openvz.org/Quick_installation are pretty good.

If you want to use iSCSI and cluster LVM or some other similar storage solution, you should set this up now so that all systems share the same LVM volume group.

Once this is done, pick one of the systems to be the Cloudmin master, and run the install script on it. Then add the other systems as "Physical Systems", and then add all the host systems on the "Xen Host Systems" page.

Has anyone used an iSCISI target as a central storage device for running cen and vz virtual hosts on? Is there functionality that is only available in this mode i.e. Migrations or backups? Disks are cheap, do the benifits outway the performance hit vs. Running local disks?

I know some users use cluster LVM to share storage between multiple host systems, I think combined with iSCSI. The advantage is that migration of Xen instances can be near instantaneous, as there is no need to move disk images. The dis-advantage is additional disk latency as compared to local disks.

All Cloudmin functions are supported in either mode though.

We use a HA iSCSI cluster for Xen hosting using Cloudmin.

On the iSCSI cluster we allocate Xen LV's in 100GB chunks and export them. On the Xen systems the iSCSI targets are imported and then turned into more LV's with Cloudmin. When we need more storage on a Xen system we cut off another 100GB and import it and then vgextend on the Xen system.

I initially wanted to have each machine have it's own LV exported from the iSCSI cluster but it was too much of a headache to setup and manage. All of our Xen machines are on 802.3ad bonded links that have 3GB/s of throughput so moving images around doesn't take that long.

As for the performance hit, buy good storage & network hardware then tune and you'll barely notice it. We get nearly RAW I/O over iSCSI.