Build it Yourself Linux Super-Workstation Part 2 - page 2
Power, Motherboard Challenges
This is probably a good place to talk about some things that make life much easier when it comes to building your own computer. The Thermaltake case is a real dream to work with. Lots of removable parts such as the disk cage make room to install the motherboard and to run cables like the data and power for all those SATA disk drives. Another really nice touch is the attention to detail with things like no sharp edges. Most cheap cases have just the opposite and seem to reach out and cut any finger or knuckle coming anywhere near it.
Another welcome addition for this review was the Thermaltake Blacx disk dock. It has a patented design permitting hot-swapping of drives with support for 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives. Interfaces include USB and e-SATA for super fast data transfers. This baby works great with the MSI motherboard we're using to quickly move data around between different disk drives. It also makes it really easy to install various operating systems to multiple drives without the need for removing or installing them internally.
Speaking of operating systems, we have gathered a number of different candidates to test out on our new testbed. Our first target will be virtualization options including both open source options like KVM and Xen, and "free" solutions like ESXi from VMWare. After that we'll look at specific server distributions like Ubuntu Server Edition and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Both of these distributions have virtualization support as well.
It's probably a good idea to anticipate problems when building your own computer system. If you expect it and get through the process without any, then you're all the better for it. It's also a good idea to know where to look for answers when the problems do crop up. MSI has a great forum with answers to lots of problems that others have already encountered and solved. Google is always a great place to start, and don't forget the option to search through news groups.
Now that we have the basic system up and running, it's easy to see that it will be a screamer. The combination of the latest AMD processor and 8GB of memory will make it the perfect platform to test out all the current virtualization options. With the hardware up and running the rest should be easy.