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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:49 pm 
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poflynn wrote:
I would love to use something like Xen, but don't these 'bare metal' implementations have extremely limited h/w support?

You can implement Xen on an OS as well. VMWare is what I use in its server version which runs on my CentOS base. VMWare ESXi is bare metal version.

poflynn wrote:
So your slave BE records straight to the local store I presume? Then does the MBE reach out to the slave and retrieve the show from your slave over the network or somehow retrieving the file more directly from the host OS? Just trying to figure out if there are any network/traffic concerns here.

Slave records directly to the mounted directory, it gets scheduled by the master. The key is a common directory structure. All devices access via this structure. Front ends also generically access via the directory structure but live TV will need to stream directly from the master backend.

poflynn wrote:
What about things like commercial flagging & other jobs? I assume all of that runs solely out of the VM (i.e. the slave does nothing but record)?

Nope, you have a choice here. You can run the jobs on the backend that does the recording or on the master backend. You'll see the options in mythtv-setup (as I recall).

poflynn wrote:
Makes total sense - else you would probably need a 500GB+ VM footprint, half of which is empty at any given time etc...

Correct. So my VM is very small (only what it needs; 8GB as I recall).


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:57 pm 
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christ wrote:
You can implement Xen on an OS as well. VMWare is what I use in its server version which runs on my CentOS base.


True but to directly access PCI tuners you could not run it in an host OS and thus you would then have to meticulously build a system to match Xen-supported h/w, right?

christ wrote:
poflynn wrote:
What about things like commercial flagging & other jobs? I assume all of that runs solely out of the VM (i.e. the slave does nothing but record)?

Nope, you have a choice here. You can run the jobs on the backend that does the recording or on the master backend.


True but I was asking about your setup specifically, I assume you installed the slave BE to do nothing but serve up tuner data?

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:29 pm 
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poflynn wrote:
True but to directly access PCI tuners you could not run it in an host OS and thus you would then have to meticulously build a system to match Xen-supported h/w, right?

I don't think that is true but I'm going from memory. I seem to recall you can configure "pass through" script at the base OS level to accomplish this.

poflynn wrote:
True but I was asking about your setup specifically, I assume you installed the slave BE to do nothing but serve up tuner data?

I've done it both ways. I think I do it all in the virtualized MBE now but I can't remember exactly why I did that. I think it was because the KM backend had all the extra scripts I wanted such as myth2ipod where as my slave environment is minimalist.

I use myth2ipod to generate an RSS feed so my work laptop can automatically download shows when I'm traveling (I do that a lot :-( ). Depending on flights, I will move it over to my blackberry so I can catch up on news and certain shows when I'm on the run. Keeping a clean KM MBE helps with all this.


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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 2:48 pm 
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Gonna bump this topic back into life.

Is there a reason why VMs wont share PCI resources like tuner cards? I like virtual box a lot and it does everything I need it to but share PCI resources (like tuner cards) to the VMs.

about 2 years ago VM technology was having a real hard time sharing USB, but they got it down pat now...so with that said whats the big deal with sharing PCI?


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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 6:02 pm 
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I believe it is the bandwidth required and the mechanisms to control if you were to import it raw. For example USB is a serial stream where as PCIxx (ie. PCI variants) is a word by word exchange unless you can DMA.

But some VM platforms do allow you to have a guest directly access a specific PCIxx card. Xen has done this for a while. In this case it is not virtualizing the card but allowing the guest to pass down through the virtualization layer.

Perhaps as para-virtualization matures, PCIxx will be more feasible.


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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 11:05 pm 
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Hmmm...I cant say whether what you say is technically correct or not, but right after posting. I went to Virtual Box's forums and read there. Someone explained that a VM is essentially a PCI card by itself. The way it works and makes calls to the CPU and other system resources. It works just like how a PCI card works. Further, some other devs mentioned that if someone is interested enough they can take the open source of VB and make it so that it can make calls using drivers (that you would have to develope yourself) to access another system resource like another PCI card. So...it isnt only possible, but inevitable.

The way I see it is...its only a matter of time before they make system cards accessible to VM's, however the way they explained it seems to me that it will be a form of a HAL (Hadware Access Layer) where virtual adapter's are created that make calls to resources they are to be linked to, just like how non virtual programs make calls to system resources, only the virtual adapter is directly pointed at a specific card and nothing else.

Anyway...for now...looks like I need to buy a USB tuner.


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:36 pm 
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I think it depends to some extent on the architecture of the vm platform. I think having a guest described as "PCI-like" architecture may be over simplifying things. However, what you describe in your second paragraph is essentially what I was talking about. In effect the card and bus is not really being virtualized; it is at best being abstracted through an HAL. Paravirtualized if you will.

There are also certain chipset assist functions which mean to help with this. Intel has VT-d which as I recall is meant to assist all PCI access to fully virtualized guests.

Virtualization is a big industry trend and we're going to see a lot of silicon development in this direction as well as further maturing of virtual platforms and the eventual obsolescence of using a Host OS and instead going to bare metal.

So one way or another your dream will come true...

BTW, I do use two HD-PVR's via USB into my VM guest using VMWare. The only problem I have is running vmware-tools on arch to make it more efficient and support shutdown properly. I started to install the tools but it was calling up a number of dependencies which I haven't had time to assess.

If you go with VB, I would be interested in your experience.


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:02 pm 
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christ wrote:
If you go with VB, I would be interested in your experience.


I am using R6 on VB & it worked great, very smooth. I boot my 2 front ends in a diskless fashion from the MBE (which is virtualized). I have my tuners in an SBE which also boots disklessly from the MBE. So, to do a backup of my entire system, I merely take a snapshot in VB, awesome!

There are some more details here http://www.knoppmythwiki.org/index.php?page=WakeSBEOnly

I had some minor issues with the VB tools as apparently you had with VMWare. I told VB that R6 was an arch OS and that caused some issues. I believe the init stuff in LinHES is not standard arch or something like that? I had a more linux-savvy friend of mine manually install the toolset, can't remember the details off hand.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:35 am 
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So I went out and bought an HVR 950 (which came with a handy little USB extension cable) hooked it up to my main workstation (its getting to be more of a server than a workstation) created a virtual instance (using VB) for a KMBE and was thoroughly depressed when in the KM installation it did NOT see the HVR 950 :cry:
I thought for sure that KM would see the USB tuner. So...tho not a jedi VB guy I am definitely padawan+ I have scoured VB trying to get this to work (which only caused me to break more things than to actually get it to work). Any ideas to make the force flo with this one?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:53 am 
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whoa wrote:
So I went out and bought an HVR 950 (which came with a handy little USB extension cable) hooked it up to my main workstation (its getting to be more of a server than a workstation) created a virtual instance (using VB) for a KMBE and was thoroughly depressed when in the KM installation it did NOT see the HVR 950 :cry:
I thought for sure that KM would see the USB tuner. So...tho not a jedi VB guy I am definitely padawan+ I have scoured VB trying to get this to work (which only caused me to break more things than to actually get it to work). Any ideas to make the force flo with this one?


If you're using VirtualBox you need to set the USB passthru before you boot your VM. Assuming you're not using the OSE...

[edit] I have more time now, so I thought I'd elaborate... Using the PUEL version of VirtualBox, you need to plug in your USB device(s) before launching your VM. With your desired VM highlighted in the left pane of VirtualBox (PUEL version) select settings --> USB. Select the "Add Filter" icon or Alt+Insert. You should see your device listed in the list you're presented. Select each device you want to use. Ensure they are checked after you add them along with the USB controllers at the top. Select OK and then start your VM. Your VM should have access to the devices now. I've never done this with USB tuners, but every other device I've ever needed worked this way. [/edit]

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:59 am 
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mihanson wrote:
If you're using VirtualBox you need to set the USB passthru before you boot your VM. Assuming you're not using the OSE...


Yeah using the most current version of PUEL VB (3.2.4 r62467)

mihanson wrote:
[edit] I have more time now, so I thought I'd elaborate... Using the PUEL version of VirtualBox, you need to plug in your USB device(s) before launching your VM. With your desired VM highlighted in the left pane of VirtualBox (PUEL version) select settings --> USB. Select the "Add Filter" icon or Alt+Insert. You should see your device listed in the list you're presented. Select each device you want to use. Ensure they are checked after you add them along with the USB controllers at the top. Select OK and then start your VM. Your VM should have access to the devices now. I've never done this with USB tuners, but every other device I've ever needed worked this way. [/edit]


Did all of that already with no joy. What I suspect is that KM does scan for PCI resources but does NOT scan for USB resources, now granted this is with a VM and not an actual box. It wouldnt take me too much to set up my regular bux without the PCI tuners and only the USB tuner plugged in to verify it, but I'm fairly sure of the outcome that KM will not see the USB tuner. So...looks like I have a request for the Devs!

Please enable KM installation to "look" for USB Tuner resources (especially Virtual ones). Aside from this forum where else does one make requests for the devs?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:35 pm 
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whoa wrote:
Aside from this forum where else does one make requests for the devs?


http://linhes.org/bugs

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:15 pm 
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whoa wrote:
Did all of that already with no joy. What I suspect is that KM does scan for PCI resources but does NOT scan for USB resources,


That may be true, I don't know, however you should be able to add the tuner manually.

whoa wrote:
now granted this is with a VM and not an actual box.


Being a VM wouldn't make a difference.

Did you try lsusb to see if your VM sees the tuner? If it sees it then I would merely google to figure out the correct settings etc for your tuner.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:19 pm 
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It is possible to have a virtualized master or slave backend with pci passthrough using KVM. Involves blacklisting the pci card modules so that the card is ignored by the host and insuring the card is not sharing an irq. Info from Linux Pro magazine issue 114; May 2010 pg's 46-48.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:31 am 
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poflynn wrote:
That may be true, I don't know, however you should be able to add the tuner manually.


I tried to do that while in the Setup and it said in several instances "unable to poll for specifics" or something similar to that. I'm pretty sure KM wasnt "looking" at the USB resources, and there isnt a way to "install" the USB tuner inside Setup.

poflynn wrote:
Being a VM wouldn't make a difference.

Did you try lsusb to see if your VM sees the tuner? If it sees it then I would merely google to figure out the correct settings etc for your tuner.


Not sure what lsusb is, could you point me to a thread in which I can see how to use it? I'm pretty sure that USB is set up so that KM can "see it" if its "looking". I installed a windows VM setup exactly like the KM VM and the windows VM "saw" the tuner and installed it appropriately so I'm confident at this point that VB is setting up the resources for the USB tuner correctly.


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