Author Topic: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)  (Read 3219 times)

Pnuts

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I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« on: February 25, 2009, 10:08:33 pm »
Wow! I must say, earlier this week a remote coworker of mine introduced me to Linux MCE and I am blown away. I have been reading the wiki and watching the youtube\google videos and feel i have a complete project ahead of me now. I've been pretty much a windows only guy with only basic linux knowledge from work and have been meaning to dig a little deeper, so this is a beter reason then not.

I have a rather complex setup at home and not everything will be able to be dhcp as the wiki suggest, but i think I will be ok. here is a basic outline of my network (excuse the MS Paint) http://i44.tinypic.com/3539gtg.jpg

I renovated the house a few months ago and when i did so, ran cat6 in the walls with cable so each room has a wall jack with cat6 and cable. Currently, All wired devices have a static address including the 2 switches(managed). All Wireless devices are using dhcp (except the Wii which is static). There is a 2k3 server that occasionally hosts ftp and game server files in addition to a sequal server and IIS for playing around with website changes before i upload them to an external server.

I have an Dell optiplex 755 (E6550 - Dual Core @ 2.33 with 4gb RAM and 2x250gb drives in raid1) that I am planning to use as the Core machine. The current XP-MCE is also a Optiplex 755 (same configuration but with a nvidia 8600) which will become a MD along with another small form factor optiplex 755 (ill need to buy a video card for this one) to connect all of the equpment in the Office\Media room.

When everything is said and done, the switches and printer will remain static, most likely the win2k3 server as well. I might make a few other things static, but we will see as i get more familiar with linux.

I do have 1 question I just ran into during the installation. I am using the 64bit 0710 dvd disk. In BIOS I have 2 hard drives configured in RAID1, however, right at the start of the isntallation I am getting prompted to choose which HD to install to. With the onboard RAID controller being configured correctly, shouldnt the installation only see 1 drive?

Edit: found my answer: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FakeRaidHowto Ill just stick a pci raid controller in the machine tonight, go figure...

-Pnuts
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 10:39:02 pm by Pnuts »

krys

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 10:41:33 pm »
Welcome! Glad to have you.
Not sure about your raid question, but you might read up on 64 vs 32 install. Last I heard there were still some issues with the 64 that you wont see with 32 and I have also heard that you won't realize any performance gain by using 64.
Just a heads up, it would be much easier to switch now as opposed to down the road when you have a more complete system.

Disclaimer: I have never used the 64 install personally I am just relaying info that I have read over the last 6 months.

-Krys

Pnuts

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 10:48:59 pm »
Thanks for the heads up.

I know with Windows, your limited to abotu 3gb of ram on 32bit systems, is that not true with linux (ill be googling this in a minute, but remember im not very well versed in linux OS's which is why i do not know).

If the machine is only used as a Core system, would being limited to 3gb cost me anything down the road (assuming above is true)

and thanks for the welcome

Edit: found the 3gb ram limitation holds true, so my questions become:

Do i need more then 3gb of RAM for a Core system? (what is performance like for people that use it with 3gb or less)
Do issues still exist on the 64bit platform?

Ill have to wait until tonight to load the raid controller anyways so ill keep looking for the answers to the 2 questions unless anyone wants to jump in.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 11:13:53 pm by Pnuts »

Dale_K

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 11:21:24 pm »
YAY!!  Another Windows guy!!!  Welcome, you'll love LMCE and if you're a 'techie' guy (and I think you are), you'll just have a blast learning it.

I also researched the 32/64 bit addressable RAM thing when first getting into LMCE.  Here's what I discovered.  First, out of the box the 32bit Kubuntu does only support the 3.3GB or whatever it is.  64 bit will address up to 64GB I believe.  BUT, I also have been told by guys that know more than me to stick with the 32 bit install for stability.  So, I ended up buying a core from Fiire and it only has 2GB of RAM in it.  I'm running 4 media directors and it runs flawlessly so I think it's probably not necessary to go beyond the 4GB limit.

Now, your installation looks like it might be more complex than mine so I'd get input from the more experienced guys regarding RAM requirements but I think you'd be fine with 2GB in your core running the 32bit OS.

Somebody correct me if any of this is wrong.


colinjones

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 11:45:27 pm »
A few comments from me:

Yes, use 32bit - the type of processing load that LMCE typically suffers does not lend itself to 64 CPUs ie you really will not get any noticable performance improvement from 64 bit, but you will possibly experience some of the downside instability issues. Its a no-brainer.

You are not using Windows now - simply don't even worry about RAM. A simple core can get away with 512M if you are that way inclined. I would recommend 1-2GB. 1GB is sufficient even for reasonably complex setups, I would challenge anyone to prove they have a setup so large they actually need 3GB!

On the 3GB question, this is a common misunderstanding. Windows can handle a mapped address space of 2GB for a process (unless you use the /3GB switch). It is similar for Linux (both 32bit). But note, this is per process. When a process is context switched in, it can own this entire address space. All other processes' pages are not mapped. So there is nothing stopping you having more than 3GB physical RAM, its just one individual process cannot use more than 3GB in its virtual working set. There isn't any process on this system that comes anywhere close to that! As long as you have enough physical RAM so that the total working requirements of all processes are reasonably satisfied to minimise (hard) paging, you are fine.

I have seen nothing in your posts that explains why you cannot use DHCP for everything. Again, this is a no-brainer - on the one side, LMCE depends heavily on its modified DHCP to provide pnp and device re-detection services (among many other functions), and on the other side there is no disadvantage to using LMCE's DHCP.....

Remember (this is true for most DHCP, but particularly for LMCE's) - once an IP address lease has been handed out by LMCE's DHCP server, that device will stay on that address indefinitely. Another common misconception is that DHCP IP addresses (in this configuration) change ... even infrequently... They do not! Even if you were completely to rebuild your LMCE core - it would still hand out the same IP address to your Windows_PC_1. If you were then completely to rebuild your Windows_PC_1, it would STILL get the exact same address!!! The only circumstances where it will loose the same address are 1) if you were to leave Windows_PC_1 off for a long time (>1week) and another, new device comes onto the network after that time and by bad luck gets that address; or 2) if you were to rebuild both your core and Windows_PC_1 at EXACTLY the same time as each other; or 3) if you change the NIC on Windows_PC_1 and then rebuild it....

ie unlikely. Take a look at this .... http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Network_Setup

jondecker76

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 12:35:43 am »
Regarding your RAID drive

Currently it is not recommended to install LMCE on a software (mdadm) array because of the RAID detection scripts.  This isn't normally the case with a fully hardware raid system.

For LMCE, your data and metadata are the most important things to backup. Therefore, the best setup to go with is to have a separate "OS" drive for the operating system, then put media on other drives (raided or not). Then, if your system ("OS") disk crashes, you only need to reinstall LMCE and your data (movies, music, etc) will be re-detected.

Eventually having the root on a raid will be supported, but until then, it may cause you some headaches.

Anyways, good luck, hope your install goes smoothly!

Pnuts

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2009, 12:55:59 am »
Thanks for the info, definetely going to go with the 32bit install then. Now to DL it

Also, thanks for the info on DHCP. I was under the impression the addesses would change often as they do with addresses handed out by my linksys wireless router. The main reason i did not use dhcp previously was routing specific ports to different machines, like xbox live to the 360 or web\ftp to the 2k3 server. I had run into issues where the linksys wireless router would give out addresses that another thing used. Like the xbox was off for a week or so and a wireless laptop got the address. Troubleshooting why im not getting connected properly to xbox live was fun the first time this happened. Since this is not going to be an issue, ill just run with dhcp.

---

As for the raid drive, im holding off on the instal until tonight and use a hardware raid card to mirror the drives, i was never a fan of software raids and wasnt aware until now the 755's did it this way. maybe ill stick a 3rd drive in there, load the OS on that and then just mirror the existing 2. This seems like a good bet to free up 250gb from the nas for more dvd's or something.

thanks for the info again guys

colinjones

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2009, 01:39:19 am »
Also, thanks for the info on DHCP. I was under the impression the addesses would change often as they do with addresses handed out by my linksys wireless router.

I know that's what you were thinking! To expand a little. The first time a client requests a DHCP lease, the DHCP server picks a free one from the database and allocates it. This is then refreshed based on the lease expiry parameter. Your DHCP client will ask for the least to be extended, and the DHCP server should comply with that as long as you haven't changed its config like changing the range of addresses so that the lease address is now outside that range. End result: the client retains the same IP address indefinitely. In a non-corporate, reasonably static environment you can increase the lease time significantly with no disadvantage.

If you turn off the client for a period so that the lease expires. When it turns back on, it will still ask to renew that lease address, and as long as the lease hasn't been fully expired from the DHCP server (1 week I think, but you can easily increase this), the DHCP server will reallocate the same lease address. End result: the client retains the same IP address indefinitely.

If you rebuild your core so that the DHCP server has no memory of the old lease from the previous install, the client will still ask to renew the same lease address, and as the DHCP server has no reason not to provide that address, it does. End result: the client retains the same IP address indefinitely.

If you rebuild your Windows machine, so that it does not remember its old lease address, it will request a new lease (as opposed to requesting a renewal of an existing lease). However, the DHCP server recognises the MAC address of the NIC on your Windows box, and hands out the same lease address again. End result: the client retains the same IP address indefinitely.

Can't comment on how the Linksys router handles DHCP, but it is entirely possible that it doesn't implement the entire DHCP functionality in this way as it is highly unlikely that it stores the lease info in its flash memory to preserve these things over a reboot...

posde

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2009, 08:46:36 am »
Colinjones,

on the DHCP issue. There are some Windows versions, which will ask the DHCP server for a new IP address each time (Win2k is known for that). Also, if you reinstall lmce and another PC has received the IP address before the original PC connected to the network, the original PC will get a new address.

Dale_K

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2009, 04:30:17 pm »
DHCP clients don't request specific IP addresses.  They simply ask for an address, any address.  The DHCP server assigns the first available address if it's a new network device.  The DHCP server checks for the MAC address of the requesting device and if it has an existing lease it will assign that IP address.  If that device's lease has expired there will be no record and it will be assigned the first available address (this may or may not be the same one it got before).

The way to get psuedo-static IP addresses is to change the lease time in your DHCP server.  Essentially this will simply not let the lease expire and there will always be a record of the MAC to IP address in the DHCP table, ensuring you always get the same IP.  If you change the NIC in a machine it will be assigned a different IP address (new MAC address means new network device as far as the DHCP server is concerned).

I realize that you guys are right and there is no need to statically assign addresses on a stable DHCP network, but I can't sleep well if my Win Servers don't have static IP's (just a throwback from when DHCP servers sucked).  I simply address my servers outside the DHCP range.

posde

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2009, 04:35:41 pm »
DHCP clients don't request specific IP addresses.

Well, it depends. If it has received an IP address, it will ask for a renewal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Host_Configuration_Protocol#DHCP_discovery

Dale_K

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2009, 05:42:57 pm »
DHCP clients don't request specific IP addresses.

Well, it depends. If it has received an IP address, it will ask for a renewal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Host_Configuration_Protocol#DHCP_discovery

Maybe this is a Windows/Linux difference.  Windows clients don't include option 50 in the DHCP discover.  Only during the DHCP Request is it included and is set to the IP address sent by the server during the DHCP Offer.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749902.aspx
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 06:05:03 pm by Dale_K »

posde

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2009, 06:06:15 pm »
btw: If you always want your Windows servers on the internal network to have the same IP address, add them as File Server devices with MAC address and IP address to the database (they should have been detected already anyhow). That way, a static lease is put into the dhcpd.conf file.

Afkpuz

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2009, 06:16:38 pm »
If you're new to LMCE, know this: LMCE is very easy to use once set up.  It's the setup process that is difficult.  It took me a good year of trial and error, quiting and coming back later to get a stable system.  But now that it's up and running, I love it.  So, you'll have a long and sometimes frustrating road ahead, but once you get your servers setup properly, you'll be able to impress everyone.

Also, I've made some videos on youtube that can just help you get your mind around this project.  Sounds like you might already have found them, but I'll post the link anyway. 
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=pandaman123213&aq=f


Finally, you'll probably find out that LMCE has some picky hardware requirements.  Check the wiki (hardware section) and especially the user setup areas for compatible hardware


As to your raid question, the dvd install is only capable of installing on 1 entire harddrive.  If the options it gives you are inadequate, you'll need to use the install cds.  In that method, you'll download the kubuntu 7.10 live cd, install it on the proper harddrive/partition, and then use the LMCE install cds to overwrite kubuntu.  It takes me about 2 hours altogether to use the cd install.  Make sure you don't do any updates when installing kubuntu.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 06:19:37 pm by Afkpuz »

Pnuts

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Re: I must say... (and Hello from a newbie)
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2009, 07:46:10 pm »
Well, I have the raid problem resolved. Basically the motherboard in the optiplex, dispite being set to RAID in the BIOS, is not actually raid. It forces windows to do a software raid during installation. The LMCE installation see it for what it is and prompts me which drive to install it on. I have a promise PCI card that im going to use instead of the supposed onboard raid. LMCE will only see the 1 raid drive this way instead of 2 seperate drives.

As for the install itself, im going to be delayed a little while. I decided to go with the DL dvd for the extra's, but it seems its taking a lot longer then anticipated to get it. im only downloading at about 20kb but uploading what i've already got between 60-80kb, only at 19% so far. I might just start the regular dvd to speed things along here.

I decided to just run with the DHCP as long as it works like it should. I figure if i have any problems i can resolve them as it comes.

Thansk everyone for the input, now to just finish the download, lol

Pnuts