Monday 27 April 2015

Lost Weekend

Now that Xen is slated for total removal from unRaid, it was time to seriously look at migrating to KVM. The easiest solution would probably have been to start from scratch and re-create all my VMs under KVM but that would require reactivating windows VMs, downloading all the updates, re-installing and re-configuring software etc.

The more attractive route was finding a way to migrate existing VMs from Xen to KVM. Thanks to jonp from LimeTech who published a how-to guide, this become fairly straightforward. I even recorded myself following the guide. Having done my Windows 7 VM, I then set about two Windows 8.1 systems and a Netrunner (ArchLinux / Manjaro) VM.

The Windows 8.1 migrations were as straightforward as the Win7 one had been. However, the Linux one just wouldn’t work for me. Once I’d set it up in KVM, pointed to the disk image and booted, I was greeted with a Grub error indicating that the root disk UUID could not be found. A quick check indicated that the UUID was in fact the same and no amount of Google Fu revealed a solution. I ended up re-installing the OS and dealing with a world of hurt in the updates (lot’s of conflicting dependencies).

So, with 4x VMs migrated, it was time to start playing with my shiny new KVM flavour of UnRaid. With a full weekend of playing around under my belt, I can now report that some things worked well, some didn’t. Some things I liked, some not so much;

Saturday 25 April 2015

Converting Xen VM to KVM

In recent days, it's become clear that LimeTech plan to support only KVM virtualisation in unRAID 6 (as well as Docker). When they started out with version 6, Xen was the only virtualisation available and that's the one I went with.

I've been anxious about the learning curve required to migrate to KVM but since Xen is likely to disappear sooner rather than later, I figured it was time to bite the bullet.

LimeTech have published a 'how to' guide on migrating a Win7 VM from Xen to KVM so I decided to record myself following it;

Overall, it's a breeze with just a couple of small hiccups, one relating to not being clear on how to set up KVM support in unRAID and the other not figuring out how to ad an additional virtual disk in the UI. Apart from that, all good - though the new VM UI doesn't seem to support all PCI/PCIe devices for passthrough so I need to figure out how to do that now...

Why I'm leaving Tidal

I signed up for music streaming service Tidal a few months ago, thrilled with the quality full-resolution audio I heard on the meagre 7-day trial and excited by the way I could integrate it with my squeezebox setup via ickstream.

I'd been a Spotify user and enjoyed that service. It too integrated well with Squeezebox but as a family we were sharing an account and more times than not, I'd find the account in use when I wanted to listen. I needed either a second Spotify account or an alternative.

I've been using Tidal a lot for the past couple of months, out and about on my Sony Xperia phone in low-res mode, on my Macbook at work in HiFi mode via the desktop and occasionally home via the web interface.

During this time, the service was re-launched with much ado by a bevy of singers that I never listen to. It passed me by.

I've enjoyed using Tidal but now I'm leaving and here's why;