September 9, 2022

HOME LAB RENEWAL - PT 3

A long time ago, I came upon some 8TB WD USB3 drives. They serve a decent purpose in my ghetto fabulous compute server - they were the data drives for all the joy hanging out on my M.2 drives. Now it was time to bid adieu to my HyperV server. Before I could do that, I had a long night of moving VHDX files around. I did the good ol "Export" to make sure everything was consistent and exported my Windows/Linux VMs (all 6TBs of them) to both of these drives (two copies, just in case).

Next, it was time to install Proxmox. Being the complete nerd I was, I had already done this a few times in a VM lab before powering down the HyperV server so I had relative confidence it would work. But I also downloaded the entire admin guide and read it from front to back, cause that's how I roll. I'll be honest, it wasn't that great of a read. Eh, anyways, I needed to get Proxmox onto my USB key as my server boots from an internal USB3 drive.

But wait! (you say) - Proxmox isn't supposed to be installed on USB drive, it'll wear it out too fast cause lots of syslog. Fortunately for me, I have an IronKey:

If you're going to run an OS off a USB drive, it's worth it. Good stuff. Okay, bunched the ISO to USB and booted, now, let us play.

Just look at all that sweet RAM and CPU! Such happy. Now, I needed to do some serious configuring.

First, I had to swap out to the non-production repository to stay legit with licenses which always throws a warning, but, meh. Then patch of course (always patch). Next up was to configure network (easy GUI for it) and then some thinking. I had not yet built the TrueNAS boxen, so I had to fidget around with my storage to get things converted. Ah yes, conversion. In Datacenter, Storage, I set up one of my remaining M.2's as a "dirpool" to contain all the different types of content. Actually, I'm not really sure why it breaks things down like this, but I'm sure I'll learn. The idea here is to have my images and templates local on the compute box to create things fast as possible then get out of the way.

Next, I created a "thinpool" which was the other remaining M.2 as Disk Image and Container content. The theory (I think) is that stuff that goes in dirpool takes up block for block and thinpool is thinly provisioned. Weird, but okay. When I get my TrueNAS up and going, they will get added here as well, one pool will be an NVME pool (recall that the SuperMicro has 4 onboard NVME drives) and the other pool will be some sort of HDD pool of 20 delicious spinning 900 GB IBM 2.5 inch drives. Will need to figure that out later though.

Now, with some basic juice, I plugged in my USB drive (one of the two copies I have of all my VHDXs). A LOT of reading later and I came upon a glorious little utility baked right into the Proxmox server to convert my VHDXs to QCOW files (what a name!) while importing them:

qm importdisk <computerid> <pathtovhdx> <poolname>

This took quite a while, first, because the internet is full of crapware that will sell you on conversion software, and some software also wanted to convert to RAW, but QCOW is the way to go for both performance and future compat from what I'm told. Of course, before I could even run that command, I had to create a VM. So, let's step back and do that. Proxmox ships with two different "types" of VMs, q35 which is the good stuff, or legacy i440fx. Boils down to how new your VM is as well as the hardware you're running on. Go with q35.

One of my "prod" servers - mmmmmmmmm

Next was a REALLY tricky part. These VMs from HyperV were all UEFI and while that is totally supported on Proxmox, it took a while to get boot things going. I probably spent two days fighting with the damn UEFI boot menu before figuring out that I could just set the values here and they'd stay:

With the drives imported in what I think was the correct order, and UEFI finally configured - time to fire it up!

And it worked...on Linux VMs. I have a very VERY important Windows 11 VM that also came over, and, um...it was Bitlockered.

In my next post, I'll talk about that zoo, and then we'll get to the TrueNAS buildout!