Never enough time to tinker at home

I've been so busy with work I haven't had time to take care of my network and system infrastructure at home. Anyone in this business knows that our setup at home is at least as good and at least as complex as our setup at work. Generally this is a source of frustration for our family members who complain about not being able to figure out how to use the phones, the television, etc. I have a server at home which bit the dust when hurricane Ike made it all the way to Ohio. I have since reloaded it several times with different OS flavors and distributions of Linux. I just can't seem to get the warm fuzzies with anything I've tried so far. My "server" sits in the living room and is attached to an LCD TV so it is designed for multipurpose activities. It also runs the Asterisk PBX which operates the telephones throughout the house. The Asterisk PBX is running in a VMWare virtual machine. This is one of the things I would like to change about the setup. Every time I proceed to reload or update the server, I bring down the phones in the house. You can imagine the problems this causes.

So I'm considering using the Virtual Iron standalone option. I believe my server meets the requirements for this setup. If you haven't acquainted yourself with Virtual Iron, there is no time like the present. I started using Virtual Iron at work about a year and a half ago after working with VMWare ESX (too expensive) and XEN (not mature enough at the time). Virtual Iron is based on XEN but at the time, XEN was not supporting 64-bit guests and Virtual Iron had broken that barrier. In addition, the management interface and overall design concept was superior to XEN and far less expensive than VMWare ESX. Virtual Iron uses a management server and a private, isolated network to boot the physical machines using PXE. This leaves the hard drive on the physical machine untouched. You have the option to format the local hard drives on the physical machine for use and storage for the virtual machines you set up, or you can leave the local storage intact and use iSCSI SAN storage using the SAN of your choice. What this means is that if you have a suitable spare machine at your disposal, you can easily add additional resources to your virtual server farm, even on a temporary basis, without worrying about destroying the original setup of the physical machine. I find this to be one of the most desirable and unique features of Virtual Iron. For more information on this incredible technology, visit Virtual Iron.


Setting up the standalone version of Virtual Iron involves installing a boot image onto a USB thumb drive. Assuming I go this route with my home server, I will then install my Media Center setup on one virtual machine and my Asterisk server on another virtual machine. This way I can work with the primary server as much or as little as I want or time will allow without disturbing the rest of the household occupants by taking down the phone system. I'm also planning on replacing my current Trixbox Asterisk setup with the Nerd Vittles PBX in a Flash distribution. Trixbox is good, don't get me wrong. But for the PBX enthusiast, you can't do any better than the wealth of projects offered by Nerd Vittles.

I'll keep you posted on my decision.

Signing Off... Darla