How to install SBS 2008 on to a XenServer VM - any best practices?

DReade83 used Ask the Experts™
I am installing SBS 2008 on to a XenServer VM today but need to ask if anyone can tell me any best practices when it comes to installing SBS 2008 into a virtual environment?

For example with SBS 2003 I was advised years ago that it was best to have a C drive (for system files and the OS), and another drive for the data (such as mailboxes, data files, etc). Is this the same for SBS 2008 or doesn't it matter?

Second is how's best to install SBS 2008 on to a VM?

Any help appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Top Expert 2013
I am no help with Xen, but have installed several Virtual SBS 2008's and a couple of SBS 2003's.
You can have a single data and sytem partition, which is the default, however it limits fexibility to some degree. If you have two partitions and you size your stytem partition large enough you will never have to touch it and then you can easily add or reconfigure data partitions.
A couple of notes: The Internal SBS backup only backs up to USB. I don't know if Xen VM's have USB support but most other solutions do not so you have to consider other options such as  for USB acces. Also SBS is very fussy about NIC's. It must see only 1 NIC virtual or physical.
We need the hardware specs for you xen server. There is no point to create 2 virtual drives for your sbs vm if your host only has 1 hard drive.

And the sbs server is windows so you will not have any driver problems with xen.


Thanks for the feedback. Here's the specs:

Dell PowerEdge 2900 III
2x Xeon 2.8GHz CPUs (8 cores)
3x Hitatchi 146GB 15,000 rpm (RAID 5 Virtual Disk; 272.25GB total space available)

@ RobWill:

Thankfully XenServer supports USB drives, and our Dell RD1000 drive works flawlessly with VMs! I don't think VMware ESXi does though (ESXi 3.5 didn't back in the day). The last time I installed SBS 2008 on another server, it had 2 NICs and loads of network related problems, like the default gateway deleting itself on every reboot - could this be the cause of having 2 NICs? I've only gone for a single virtual NIC in this install.

Also is it possible to extend the system or data partition at a later date? I can easily adjust the size of the VD through XenCenter, but I assume I would also need to extend the partition in Windows?

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Top Expert 2013
Yes a second nic will cause gateway issues as well as DHCP sercice problems. There are also some known problems with TCP offloading options in advanced NIC properties if enabled. After installing SBS run the SBS BPA and it will advise, if there are issues.
You can extend the data partition if a dynamic disk. 2008 actually allows you to expand the system partition as well, though I avoid this where possible.


Great, thanks RobWill, SBS 2008 is up and running now no problem. Running on a single NIC and no gateway or DHCP issues.

Thanks for the feedback - highly appreciated! :)


Thanks RobWill!
Top Expert 2013

Thanks DReade83. Sounds like good progress.
Ady FootSharePoint Consultant

Hi there,

Sorry to hi-jack this thread.  Would the author mind confirming that a Dell RD1000 INTERNAL tape drive works fine with XenServer?  I'm reading conflicting information and am unsure what the truth is.  I'd like to present the tape drive to a VM for the VM to use it as a tape drive.  Many thanks!



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