XenServer Lab Setup: USB NIC

I am trying to set up a small footprint XenServer lab environment that does not have any single point of failure. That means two hosts in a pool, two NICs on every host and SR (storage repository), multiple paths between hosts and SR, and raid on the SR. The hosts are mini-PCs with only one PCI NIC. XenServer has been made for hardware with several PCI NICs, but with our setup, we will need to use USB NICs. That represents a few challenges.

In fact, USB NICs present so many challenges that they should not be used for production systems. Challenges include difficulties in setting up the USB NICs, reordering such NICs after installation, and the setup getting overwritten by XenServer updates (and possibly patches).

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Two-Host XenServer Pool With Manual Fail-Over

A guide on how to install and operate a two-host XenServer pool with manual fail-over. This is the first part of a series of articles on a small-footprint XenServer setup with no single points of failure.

When would you consider a two-host XenServer pool? In most cases, a high-access (HA) setup with 3 or more hosts would be preferable, because that gives you automatic fail-over. However, the two-host solution might be your choice if;

  • You need redundancy, but HA is overkill. If you have time to switch over manually, HA may be unnecessary.
  • Budget restrictions means a 3-host (or more) solution is undoable.
  • You simply can't find a third host (or more) that will work with the two hosts you already have. Sounds odd? Wait until you see the XenServer requirements for hardware in a pool...
  • A 2-host solution is a bit simpler to maintain than a HA solution.

Read more: Two-Host XenServer Pool With Manual Fail-Over

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