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[Xen-users] Xen passthrough

To: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Xen-users] Xen passthrough
From: Jonathan Taylor <taylorjonl@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 17:45:13 -0600
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I am trying to consolidate my physical machines so I have my laptop
and a single server if possible.  I recently purchased the following:

Intel Core i3-530
Corsair 4GB Dual Channel Corsair DDR3
6x Western Digital 1 TB Caviar

In the future I am going to buy the Ceton InfiniTV 4 cable card.  When
I purchased the above hardware I was thinking of just using it for a
HTPC(Home Theater PC) but I noticed in the BIOS the board supports
Intel VT-D.  I read up on this and it seems this allows a hypervisor
to "passthrough" a device to the guests.  So my thoughts are that I
may be able to use Xen as a hypervisor, then run a windows 7 guest,
pass through the needed PCI/PCI-E devices for my HTPC, then run maybe
a linux or windows 2008 R2 guest for setting up networks services(DNS,
DHCP, Domain, NAS).

In order to use the VT-D in the board I will have to get a new CPU,
the i3s don't support VT-D but the i5s do.  I want to stay with the
i3s or i5s since I want the embedded GPU, the board has only 4 slots,
2x PCI-E 1x, 1x PCI-E 16x and 1 PCI and I have plans for all the
slots.  I am also thinking of doubling the RAM and getting a Dell Perc
6/i as a RAID controller, so if this doesn't work out I can transfer
the RAID controller and the 6x HDDs to a new system without losing the

My backup plan is to install Windows 2008 R2 as the primary OS.  Then
setup that as my HTPC with my network services running either in the
primary OS or under Hyper-V.

So my first question is, does my plan seem feasible?  And second, is
there a restriction on which devices Xen can pass through?

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