Some Hyper-V Hardware and Software Best Practices

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    On 2014-04-06
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    The following article is comprised of the pearls we have garnered deploying Hyper-V since Virtual Server 2005 and subsequent 2008 RTM+ standalone and clustered.
    We've been building standalone virtualization solutions since virtual server 2005.

    We've been building Hyper-V virtualization solutions since Longhorn. We built out our first cluster not long after 2008 RTMd though it took about 6 months of life to figure the whole setup out!

    Here are some points to consider when looking to build a virtualization solution whether standalone or clustered on Hyper-V.
    • Server Management: Always install an RMM, iLO Advanced, or iDRAC Enterprise
      • Out of band KVM over IP can save time in the event of an emergency
      • Keep a USB flash drive plugged in that is bootable and is kept up to date with OS install files
      • Rebuild the server host OS and settings without leaving the shop
    • CPU: GHz over Cores
    • Memory: Largest, fastest for CPU, prefer one stick per channel, and same size/speed on all channels
    • BIOS: Enable all Intel/AMD Virtualization Settings
    • BIOS: Disable C3/C6 States
    • BIOS: Enable High Performance Profile
      • Server performance and fan performance
    • Disk subsystem: Hardware RAID, 1GB Cache, Non-Volatile or Battery backed
    • Disk subsystem: SAS only, 10K spindles to start, and 8 or more preferable 
      • Go smaller sizes with higher quantities of disks
    • RAID 6 with 90GB Logical Disk for OS and Balance for VHDX and ISO files
    • Networking: Intel only, 2x Dual-Port NICs at the minimum
      • We always install at least two Intel i350-T4 Gigabit NICs
      • In cluster settings at least one x540-T2 for 10GbE Live Migration
        • Two node clusters can have direct connect thus eliminating the expense of a 10GbE switch
    • Networking: Teaming
      • Team Port 0 on both NICs for management
      • Team Port 1on both NICs for vSwitch (Not shared with host OS)
        • OPTION: Team Port 0 for Management and bind one vSwitch per port to team _within_ VM OS
      • Port 2: Live Migration Standalone
      • Port 3: Live Migration Standalone
    • Networking: Broadcom NICs Disable VMQ for ALL physical ports
    • Hyper-V: Server Core has a reduced attack surface plus lower update count thus requiring fewer reboots
    • Hyper-V: Fixed VHDX files preferred unless dedicated LUN/Partition
      • We set a cut-off of about 12 VMs before we look to deploy one or two LUNs/Partitions for VHDX files
      • We deploy one 75GB fixed VHDX for guest OS
      • We deploy one 150GB+ dynamic VHDX for guest Data with a dedicated LUN/partition
    • Hyper-V: Max vCPUs to Assign = # Physical Cores on ONE CPU - 1
    • Hyper-V: Leave ~1.5GB physical RAM to the host OS
    • Hyper-V: Set a 4192MB static Swap File for host OS on C:
    • Hyper-V: Standalone preferred to keep Workgroup
      • Use RMM, iLO Advanced, iDRAC Enterprise, or if needed RDP to manage

    Last Modified: 2016-09-27 at 11:52

    About the Author

    Microsoft MVP since 2009. Started with SBS and now Cluster. Building Scale-Out File Server and Hyper-V Clusters. Storage Spaces rocks!

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