128 GB RAM - Install windows to RAM discs - possible ??

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  1. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 6,363
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
       20 Apr 2018 #1

    128 GB RAM - Install windows to RAM discs - possible ??


    Hi folks.

    I rescued from the Tip an old server (complete) with 128 DDR 3 GB RAM in it. (fast enough). I have to provide HDD's and SSD - no probs - quite a few of those.

    We have a lot of data centres here as energy is so cheap so they are always chucking out what in a lot of places would be decent hardware to upgrade to newer / faster etc -- "Vultures" like me take advantage !!!!.

    Is there any way to say create "C" and "D" drives as RAM discs, install windows to that and the run entirely from RAM discs. There are of course physical HDD's and an SSD in the system too.

    Since server would run 24 / 7 it would only be necessary to re-initialize RAM discs on start up - and they'd be journalled during the day so even if in the event of a power failure the system would still be up to date on re-boot.

    I think I could probably do this with Linux GRUB2 (small boot partition) to load the RAM discs and then run a Windows VM - but would like to see if this could be done for Windows directly. System would really fly with this set up !!

    Any ideas if it's even feasible.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    20 Apr 2018 #2

    jimbo45 said: View Post
    Hi folks.

    I rescued from the Tip an old server (complete) with 128 DDR 3 GB RAM in it. (fast enough). I have to provide HDD's and SSD - no probs - quite a few of those.

    We have a lot of data centres here as energy is so cheap so they are always chucking out what in a lot of places would be decent hardware to upgrade to newer / faster etc -- "Vultures" like me take advantage !!!!.

    Is there any way to say create "C" and "D" drives as RAM discs, install windows to that and the run entirely from RAM discs. There are of course physical HDD's and an SSD in the system too.

    Since server would run 24 / 7 it would only be necessary to re-initialize RAM discs on start up - and they'd be journalled during the day so even if in the event of a power failure the system would still be up to date on re-boot.

    I think I could probably do this with Linux GRUB2 (small boot partition) to load the RAM discs and then run a Windows VM - but would like to see if this could be done for Windows directly. System would really fly with this set up !!

    Any ideas if it's even feasible.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    According to comment on web pasted below, your grub idea works but can be done on Host PC.

    You can use grub to create a ramdisk then load a vhd containing Windows 10 and into boot it.

    Then you can save the image to disk before shutdown saving your work.

    If this works, mine is a Ragnarok (deadly 7% real ale).

    edit: "into boot it" above is the Yoda in me. - lol.

    Last edited by cereberus; 20 Apr 2018 at 07:22.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 6,363
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
    Thread Starter
       20 Apr 2018 #3

    Hi there.
    @cereberus

    Brilliant -- never thought of VHD disks

    Tried to +rep but wouldn't let me as I've already given you some recently.

    Looking forward to some decent ale !!!

    the VHD idea is brilliant -- works a treat.

    Finally got Windows working at a speed I wouldn't believe !!

    The boot idea with grub2 is the key - loading to RAM disc and booting the windows VHD - brilliant. !!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    20 Apr 2018 #4

    jimbo45 said: View Post
    Hi there.
    @cereberus

    Brilliant -- never thought of VHD disks

    Tried to +rep but wouldn't let me as I've already given you some recently.

    Looking forward to some decent ale !!!

    the VHD idea is brilliant -- works a treat.

    Finally got Windows working at a speed I wouldn't believe !!

    The boot idea with grub2 is the key - loading to RAM disc and booting the windows VHD - brilliant. !!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Perhaps you could outline the steps for use mere mortals?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 6,363
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
    Thread Starter
       21 Apr 2018 #5

    Hi folks

    Will do later have to do boring things like shopping today Grh !!! hate it.

    -- but the essence of the procedure is to use initrd which is a very temporary root file system from which the RAM images can be constructed and then the mount for the VHD's.

    You need to get a small kernel into the system which is done like this.

    # mkdir temp ; cd temp
    # cp /boot/initrd-2.6.14.2.img initrd-2.6.14.2.img.gz
    # gunzip initrd-2.6.14.2.img.gz
    # cpio -i --make-directories < initrd-2.6.14.2.img
    #


    The initial bootloader does need of course to run from the HDD / SSD device to initiate the process.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    21 Apr 2018 #6

    How do you capture and store the running system image when you have to reboot for whatever reason? How do you deal with power outages, when they occur? UPS for the latter, I hope -- but that all depends on how long the power outage persists.
    Thanks,
    --Ed--
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7.    21 Apr 2018 #7

    EdTittel said: View Post
    How do you capture and store the running system image when you have to reboot for whatever reason? How do you deal with power outages, when they occur? UPS for the latter, I hope -- but that all depends on how long the power outage persists.
    Thanks,
    --Ed--
    That is why this approach will never take off until non volatile RAM (NVRAM) ever drops to a price low enough to make this feasible. I am sure Jimbo was really doing it "because he could".
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 6,363
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
    Thread Starter
       23 Apr 2018 #8

    EdTittel said: View Post
    How do you capture and store the running system image when you have to reboot for whatever reason? How do you deal with power outages, when they occur? UPS for the latter, I hope -- but that all depends on how long the power outage persists.
    Thanks,
    --Ed--
    Hi there
    On re-boot yes you have to recover the whole thing again -- the exercise wasn't trying to run a "commercially stable OS" but just to see if Windows could be speeded up compared with running base from an SSD.

    You don't have to lose the whole lot as you can checkpoint the system every so often and write to HDD so on recovery you get the system as of the last checkpoint.

    While check pointing though you have to "freeze" the system or use some type of VSS. !!!

    It's more messing about than actually a "Useful" exercise" but fun to do and finally after all these years really know what initrd does and how it works. !!

    Note you still have access to the physical HDD's of course as it's Windows.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    23 Apr 2018 #9

    There are various Windows programs called RAMDisks that automate this process. I've used the Dataram product from time to time, but there are many others, as listed in this GHacks article "The Best Free RAM disk programs for Windows." You might want to check one or more those products out, because they can make the process much simpler, more straightforward, and easier to manage at startup and shutdown than doing it by hand.
    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  10. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 6,363
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
    Thread Starter
       23 Apr 2018 #10

    Thanks

    @EdTittel

    Always great to try out new stuff -- even if it doesn't have any obvious commercial value.

    I'm too old to worry about future earnings any more -- soon will be collecting Pensions from Belgium and Iceland -- both countries supply decent inflation linked earnings that most other places can only dream about

    I feel sorry for some of the youngsters who could be doing this sort of stuff but they really these days get it bad in economic terms compared with what we had --even though as a youngster we had limited electricity supply and outside loos (WC's or Restrooms I think they call them in USA) -you know that's bad when it's 20 deg C below Zero with howling gales !!!. and you need to go and "Shake a snake" !!!!!

    Still we managed though and education really is the way out of any sort of poor economic conditions so never stop learning at any age !!!.

    People should think of this saying --not sure where it came from but so true :

    "The price of education is expensive -- but the price of ignorance is astronomical" !!

    So true -- even more so when people - seemingly intelligent get scammed out of thousands of USD / other currencies on what seems the most obvious scams on the planet.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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