Dimtar

Who is running a 2 in 1 server?

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Hi all.

 

So there has been alot of videos and talk about having an unRaid box, running a VM and passing through the graphics card. It makes me wonder, who is actually using this day to day? As in they have a fully functioning desktop PC capable of running Windows with a keyboard/mouse/monitor and running unRaid underneath. Keen to hear all stories.

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@DZMM I read your thread a few days ago, I am still impressed. I was hoping to hear from others too.

 

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Yes, I have replaced my Windows workstation with a VM running on my unRaid server. Up and running for 6 months+. The server lives in my unfinished basement, and I was able to run an HDMI cable and USB extender up into my office. Works great and feels just like a bare metal install.

 

Only issue of note has been occasional slow loss of audio sync when watching video (YouTube). Others have seen this also. Pretty easily fixed by reloading the video, but annoying sometimes. Love the setup and wouldn't go back for this minor issue.

 

One seldomly mentioned advantage of running a Windows VM on the unRaid box is that suddenly all of the drives in your array are local to Windows. No network lag. Very nice to be able to quickly copy files! 

 

And backing up the Windows VM means copying one file. Quick and easy.

 

Another nicety is being able to upgrade the computer and not have to figure out how to get the Windows install updated for the new hardware. It's all virtualized, and except for maybe updating video drivers if you went for a new video card, the VM should work on the updated server.and hardly know anything had charged.

 

I am working on an upgrade and will soon have a backup server powerful enough to run the VM. So if the primary server ever has issues or is in the middle of an upgrade, I can bring up the VM on the backup server temporarily. Nice to have functional redundancy as well as data backup.

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I run an hp z400 with 2 desktops, each has it's own gpu. Once it was setup, seems to be solid.

 

I have an enterprise server setup as a video editor with 2 gpu's in it and 4 processors/80 threads. Only had 1 lockup over the past 6 months, but I imagine it was due to software and not virtualization.

 

Another server running a single desktop vm with gpu passthrough as well.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, SSD said:

Only issue of note has been occasional slow loss of audio sync when watching video (YouTube). Others have seen this also. Pretty easily fixed by reloading the video, but annoying sometimes. Love the setup and wouldn't go back for this minor issue.

 

It's kind of comforting that someone more knowledgeable than me has this problem - audio sync issues with Youtube (and strangely watching videos from my server via Windows Kodi client) are the only real problems I have.  Hopefully somebody has a cure.

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55 minutes ago, DZMM said:

It's kind of comforting that someone more knowledgeable than me has this problem - audio sync issues with Youtube (and strangely watching videos from my server via Windows Kodi client) are the only real problems I have.  Hopefully somebody has a cure.

 

I think it is hardware specific. I don't have any audio sync issues. try looking up the "demonic audio" issue and see if that fix helps with your sync. Also, you can have audio issues if you are not using isolated cores on a vm. Again, depending on hardware.

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1 hour ago, 1812 said:

 

I think it is hardware specific. I don't have any audio sync issues. try looking up the "demonic audio" issue and see if that fix helps with your sync. Also, you can have audio issues if you are not using isolated cores on a vm. Again, depending on hardware.

I've fixed MSI.  I might have a go at temporarily isolating cores to see if that solves the problem - I don't really want to do this permanently as I'm not keen on tying up cores.

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1 hour ago, 1812 said:

 

I think it is hardware specific. I don't have any audio sync issues. try looking up the "demonic audio" issue and see if that fix helps with your sync. Also, you can have audio issues if you are not using isolated cores on a vm. Again, depending on hardware.

 

Hmm. All of the demonic sound fixes (MSI interrupts) are in place. But I do have shared cores. I recently "unshared" one of the cores because Plex was bringing my VM to a crawl. I excluded one core (two logical) from Plex and that fixed my crawling VM. Come to think of it, I think recently audio sync has improved.

 

One of the things I like about the shared server concept is that cores are shared across unRaid (computing/verifying md5s is a computationally heavy task), Dockers (Plex transcoding is heavy) and Windows (overly demanding user ;)). If I couldn't share cores, I'd lose a lot. Guess I'd be willing to live with the audio sync issue vs lose that.

 

Just seeing @DZMM response. Sounds similar to mine.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SSD said:

One of the things I like about the shared server concept is that cores are shared across unRaid (computing/verifying md5s is a computationally heavy task), Dockers (Plex transcoding is heavy) and Windows (overly demanding user ;)). If I couldn't share cores, I'd lose a lot.

 

 

It's a weird thing. And again, I think it is heavily hardware dependent. I can stack 2 vm's on top of each other's cores on my proliant server and not have any audio issues, just performance loss when they are both working at something. 

 

My main array server has no cores isolated and runs plex and a few non gpu vm's on everything with no discernible issues. Was actually about to stack the vm's on my z400 and let them both use 7 of 8 cores, and making sure that each of their core 0 is not the same core.

 

But, on my medium sized server with 20 threads, I don't have to worry much about sharing cores since there are plenty to go around! (and yes, I have a couple computers lying around... too many at times...)

---

 

update: so I put both the OS X vm's on 7 of the 8 available cores (those 7 isolated from unraid,) one has its core 0 as cpu1, the other has its core 0 as cpu3, both using the isolated core 0 of unraid for emulator thread.

 

if vm1 is idle, then the second vm can stream youtube audio with only an occasional glitch sound. but it's always in sync. If vm1 is doing moderate workload, then vm2 has super glitchy audio. vm1 uses usb audio adapter, vm2 uses nvida hdmi sound.

 

This does not seem to affect movie files payed on the network.

 

I'm going to try leaving each vm's core0 as a non stacked/combined thread and see what happens and will report back.

neither vm is maxing out any combined threads.

 

---

update 2

 

no change in glitch sound.

 

 

 

Edited by 1812

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2 hours ago, SSD said:

One of the things I like about the shared server concept is that cores are shared across unRaid (computing/verifying md5s is a computationally heavy task), Dockers (Plex transcoding is heavy) and Windows (overly demanding user ;)). If I couldn't share cores, I'd lose a lot. Guess I'd be willing to live with the audio sync issue vs lose that.

 

I think I'm going to try and fix it coming the other way - isolate my dockers, rather than take cores away from multi-tasking:

 

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I've just disabled all my dockers and watched a 1080P youtube video without any problems.  I'm going to try and locate the docker culprit(s) and isolate their cores, so they don't crossover with the cores used by my VM, Buzz (others are used by my kids)

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@1812, looks like the unshared cores might actually fix the problem. Thanks! 

 

@DZMM, will be interesting to see what you come up with. My Plex docker is pretty quiet most of the time, but when it is busy it is very busy! Taking all my VM cores out wouldn't work for me.

 

But maybe if the Plex docker is quiet, and other Dockers are excluding VM cores, the audio sync issue will be a lot less common. I could live with that! 

 

If excluding cores from Dockers appears to stop the out of sync from happening, you might open a putty session in unRaid and run an md5sum on some big media files as you try to watch a YouTube video in the VM and see if that throws the audio out of sync.

 

I've also found the out of sync is worse if I skip around the video vs just watch start to finish. You could try and poke at it to see if out of sync is really fixed.

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It's a really weird thing that it only happens (for me) on youtube videos but not mkv files, mp4 or other files I playback when sharing cores. I'm very curious about it now.

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Ok, I've pinned all my dockers except for Plex and TVHeadend, and youtube has definitely improved.  I've just watched a few videos and I only got a very small lag on one after around 7 mins.  @SSD it's definitely worth doing for dockers that don't need realtime priority.

 

What I've done is pin dockers other than Plex and TVH to cores 2-7/16-21.  0-1/14-15 I've read is where unRAID prefers to work and where I'm doing my VM emulation.  8-13/22-27 is where my daily driver VM and pfsense firewall are, so I'm keeping dockers away from those cores. 

 

The dockers are sharing cores with the VMs that my kids use, but given that they are only allowed to use them 1 hour per day on school nights and 2 hrs/day at the weekend and they are only doing low-end stuff like minecraft and Roblox, I don't think they'll ever notice.

Edited by DZMM

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I have fixed the audio distortion issue on youtube for me when sharing cores (2 VMs using the same cores.)

 

Disable hardware acceleration in the web browser. Tested and verified on Chrome and Firefox. I have not been able to test in safari because I can't find the setting to disable it.

 

Please test if this works for you and report back.

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1 hour ago, 1812 said:

I have fixed the audio distortion issue on youtube for me when sharing cores (2 VMs using the same cores.)

 

Disable hardware acceleration in the web browser. Tested and verified on Chrome and Firefox. I have not been able to test in safari because I can't find the setting to disable it.

 

Please test if this works for you and report back.

Tried and worked flawlessly, but might be also do to docker isolation I did.  Will keep an eye on over the next couple of days and will report back

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I did this with my 3930K, GTX1070, and R9 290 for about a year. I'd pin four cores (2 cores and their HTs), 16GB of ram, keyboard, mouse, and a PCI address which resolved to a USB3 hub on the controller (so each VM had USB3 for gamepads/USB devices); audio passed through graphics cards to HDMI.  That left me with 32GB for host and 4 cores for Host/Docker. I also had a, "Pickle Rick" VM which was basically 32GB of ram allocated and 6 cores to my GTX1070, for when I gamed alone. 

 

I found it to be a fun technical exercise. For performance reasons,  host/docker, gpu_vm0, and gpu_vm1 all had their own cores pinned.

 

I haven't done it on my Threadripper yet, mainly because I was planning on giving old MB and the R9 to a friend, so I can get back my 1st-gen core2dou, and he can get an upgrade finally. lol  

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1 hour ago, Jcloud said:

I haven't done it on my Threadripper yet, mainly because I was planning on giving old MB and the R9 to a friend, so I can get back my 1st-gen core2dou, and he can get an upgrade finally. lol  

Just remember that there are multiple forums around the world with people who have failed to pass through the graphics card on Threadripper chips. It has worked on cards that has specific BIOS bugs, making the cards ignore power-down commands.

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28 minutes ago, pwm said:

Just remember that there are multiple forums around the world with people who have failed to pass through the graphics card on Threadripper chips. It has worked on cards that has specific BIOS bugs, making the cards ignore power-down commands.

 

Yup, yup. :) So far, I've been lucking out -- "Ugly patch" been working well. I also keep an eye out on my mobo support page for firmware updates - although ASUS documentation of these firmware updates on their site is nonexistent.   I also told my friend he couldn't get the upgrade until, "I thought my system would run without crashing." (he's not a computer-guy). 

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On 11/01/2018 at 10:07 PM, DZMM said:

Tried and worked flawlessly, but might be also do to docker isolation I did.  Will keep an eye on over the next couple of days and will report back

Back to laggy videos today :-(

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47 minutes ago, DZMM said:

Back to laggy videos today :-(

 

hmm.... mine is still fine...

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8 hours ago, 1812 said:

 

hmm.... mine is still fine...

ok, just upgraded my virtio drivers to the latest ones that were added in RC21b and are in 6.4.  They solved my webcam not getting passed through, so I thought lets see if youtube works better.  

 

Just watched the same video:

 and it worked almost perfectly - just out by a few ms by the end.  Let's hope this is permanent!!

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On 1/9/2018 at 5:42 AM, SSD said:

One seldomly mentioned advantage of running a Windows VM on the unRaid box is that suddenly all of the drives in your array are local to Windows. No network lag. Very nice to be able to quickly copy files! 

 

Cool!! How are you accomplishing this!? I don't have your exact setup, but I'm using splashtop to access the VM. But the only way it "sees" any of the shares is via the windows network. It does not see them as local.  Thanks.

 

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43 minutes ago, Joseph said:

Cool!! How are you accomplishing this!? I don't have your exact setup, but I'm using splashtop to access the VM. But the only way it "sees" any of the shares is via the windows network. It does not see them as local.  Thanks.

 

They are local on the network. Instead of the network traffic going through a couple ethernet cards and through a switch, it goes through a software switch set up by kvm at 10Gbps speed. Not quite local, but way faster than external over wires. This assumes you are using virtio network drivers.

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47 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

They are local on the network. Instead of the network traffic going through a couple ethernet cards and through a switch, it goes through a software switch set up by kvm at 10Gbps speed. Not quite local, but way faster than external over wires. This assumes you are using virtio network drivers.

 

10Gbps = 1250 MB/sec - more than fast enough for even the fastest drive.

 

But it does go through network drivers, and not direct SATA connection. But compared to the other end of an actual network connection, it is extremely fast!

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