To Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on USB or Not

Posted on 2010-08-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
Looking for some advice/input.

Recent purchase of a Dell R710 that is tasked to be a Hyper-V host.  Trying to decide on best way to run the host OS and which OS to choose.  

This Hyper-V host will be running 3 - 5 VMs all web server types (1 normal IIS, 1 Ex2010 OWA, 1 SharePoint/Project Server 2010 Major Server, 1 SharePoint/Project Server 2010 Dev Server)

So my choices as I see them, feel free to throw in on any others you think might be a good choice, Hyper-V only no $$$ for VMware.

- Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on USB
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Core Server with Hyper-V role on HDD
- Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role on HDD

I was keen to do Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on USB because it runs keeps the OS profile so low, no HDD needed, etc.  But the amount of support and implementations of this has me worried #1.  #2 the support on the software side for the must have applications running on the host OS as a hypervisor/core server.  Must applications are Dell OpenManage Server Admin, Broadcom drivers for NIC Teaming and APC PowerChute Network Shutdown.

Dell OpenManage which has articles of installing on Windows Server 2008 Core Server and Hyper-V Server 2008 (both non R2), so looks possible but again the number of people doing this very low, hard to find.  Broadcom NIC Teaming seems to be a big issue in the past but resolved now unknown.  APC has documentation on non R2 core server but nothing Hyper-V Server or R2.

And then the last concern of running off of USB in production.

So looking for any advice, experience anyone has doing Hyper-V hosts.  What would you do?
Question by:koolin
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Expert Comment

ID: 33439009
I have a similar setup on yours, I personally prefer VMWARE ESXi its free and you don't have to pay a cent. just go to VMWARE and make sure you download vSphere 4.1 (latest) which is your access client. install it on your desktop or laptop managing the r710. download and install ESXi 4.1 on your r710 and then access it using the giving IP from the server using the vSphere client.  install any VM anyway you want.
you can figure out how much resources to allocate each vm , I hope ;)

one note thogh, the free ESXi doesn't allow you to use scripts to manage your VMs, and move around images like the paid expensive vCenter would, but there is always ways around it if you search the web and be patient. or if not just ask and i shall tell.

ianother limitation is only allows for virtualization of 2 physical processors. so if u have 2 quad cores or 2 dual cores or something your fine. but if u paid something like 30 grand and have 4 quads u better go pay vmware and get the real deal.

hope this helps.

Author Comment

ID: 33439020
I would be fine on the processors, 2 quads, only a 5k server ;).  But I'd rather stick to doing Hyper-V, my experience and knowledge with VMware isn't much.  I will probably end up looking into the ESXi though if its looking like this Hyper-V thing isn't going to work out.
LVL 61

Accepted Solution

Cliff Galiher earned 1332 total points
ID: 33439037
1) Put away the USB idea. Hyper-v, like any OS, still uses RAM, a paging file, and other overhead that will USB will annihilate performance.
2) If you don't have money for a VM management tool (System Center Virtual Machine Manager, for example) then I''d strongly recommend Windows 2008 R2 w/ Hyper-V (not core, not Hyper-V server) so you have a full OS for management. Otherwise managing trhat many VMs will be a complete bear.  The differences in overhead are pretty minute.
3) Consider purchasing Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. It has a 1+4 licensing model in that one copy can be installed once as the parent OS with the Hyper-V role (and *only* the Hyper-V role to qualify with this licensing model) and 4 guest OS installs on that parent without additional server licenses. So to reach your 5, you'd only need one additional copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard.
4) Depending on pricing and access, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter edition might even be a better fit. That is 1+any licensing (see above)...then you don't even need that second license. Just one license, as long as all VMs are running onthe same hardware. But again, enterprise + standard may be cheaper...depends on what you have access to.
5) Also as mentioned above, when running that many VMs, a tool designed to manage VMs definitely becomes ...not necessary...but *extremely* helpful.  In the MS word, that is SCVMM. VMWare has their own version. If you can at all squeeze it into the budget, I *highly* recommend trying to do so.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33439091
also vmware does not each up any resources.
easy to use.
more robust than microsoft

Author Comment

ID: 33439714
Ya the USB is definitely going away.  I just spent the last 6ish hours doing a test Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on a USB stick and holly performance nightmare.  Took pretty much the whole time to do the installation of the server, which already was a vhd setup with the wim.  I just ended up killing it off near the end and it still wasn't done.  I was getting around 14 mb/s write on it when I created it so I thought it might not be too bad but oh man either the internal USB is 1.0 on an R710 or thing is just general crap running off USB.

Already running System Center Essentials 2007 so likely to upgrade that to 2010 shortly which includes Hyper-V management for small/mid biz and in the term managing on a remote MMC with RSAT.  Full SCVMM and SCOM would be very nice but probably not necessary for this network size.

I suppose my other option now is to do Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on HDD.

So Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 vs Windows Server 2008 R2 w/ Hyper-V role, I will be doing management remotely regardless with RSAT and/or SCE2010.  Do I do Hyper-V Server?
LVL 61

Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 1332 total points
ID: 33440806
With SCE2010? Hyper-V server is fine, smaller footprint. I have several SBS (and former EBS) clients that use SCE2010 happily managing multiple Hyper-V hosts.
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:James Haywood
James Haywood earned 668 total points
ID: 33444621
If you can't afford the full Server licenses then use Hyper-V Server. As you are doing remote management anyway it doesn't make much difference. I use both types and Hyper-V has been rock solid. A couple of points to think about:

Don't install any other roles beside Hyper-V on the host (if using full Server license)
Don't join the host to your domain (therefore no SCE!)
Don't give the host access to the internet
Be carefull of pass-though disks for the VMs

Author Comment

ID: 33449120
Hey guys thanks for all the input.  I have ended up going with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 installed on hard drives.  Doing Hyper-V Server gives the advantage of first being free, with every feature and none of the RAM/processor limitations, and can then use existing VLs of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard for VMs.  USB was so not working out and I could never recommend it, the performance is terrible.  I mean using 2 146GB HDDs for a tiny OS seems so overkill and kills 2 HDD places on the server but it gets the performance and is way cheaper then buying some insane performing USB key that will probably still suck in the end.
I have joined the host to the domain, I could unjoin but I will give SCE a try first, although managing with RSAT hasn't been a big issue.  
I have given the host internet access just with the way I have setup the teaming and adapters for VMs.  There are 4 NICs, I have split them into 2 Teams of 2.  1 team going to our internal LAN server VLAN that allows for internet access and this team is available to VMs and the host.  The other team going to our DMZ that does not allow outbound internet access and is available to only the VMs not the host.  I did it like this so I could setup and update new VMs on the internal team first and then move them over to the DMZ team once ready and they would then be isolated.  So eventually only VMs are sitting in the DMZ, which is pretty much the only outside entry into the network.  Might invest in additional network card later to further isolate/secure the host machine but I think the setup now is working good.
For the reference of others that may google stumble across this question I will provide all the steps I went through to get all the parts working.  I found the documentation and miss information about getting those components installed terrible out on the internet, so hopefully this makes someone else's life a little easier.
Installed Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
Windows Updates download and install - ALL
To install Broadcom BASC
First need to install additional features (BASC requires .NET Framework 2.0, this was an issue on non R2 but 2008 R2 now has them as included features), reference - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/976736 
NetFx2-ServerCore - DISM.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx2-ServerCore
NetFx2-ServerCore-WOW64 - DISM.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx2-ServerCore-WOW64
Once features installed run setup.exe from Dell Broadcom driver extract (Broadcom\Driver_Management_Apps_Installer\setup.exe)
Then start BACS.exe from c:\Program Files\Broadcom\BACS\ to setup and configure teams.
To install Dell OpenManage Server Administrator
Reference - http://www.mcbsys.com/techblog/2009/11/setting-up-dell-openmanage-on-hyper-v-server-2008-r2/ 
To install APC PowerChute Network Shutdown (this was the hard one, very hard)
Download and install Java JRE 64bit (have fun finding the 64bit download on an x86 machine :( I setup a 64bit VM to do this, then copy to the host, so sad oh man!)
Now you need 2.2.3 because APC has decide they need to milk their customers even more and removed support in 2.2.4 and created 2.2.5 just for Hyper-V at $100 a server.
So see open discussion on this EE question http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Applications/Virtual_Server/Hyper-V/Q_25006960.html
or below for a copy of those instructions.
Shh dont tell APC and grab a copy while you can but a simple ID change in their URL will give you 2.2.3 right off their site.
Then you'll need to modify the install.vbs if your doing on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 for myself at least haven't tested any others.
' Check OS type
' Check root account
Just comment out those calls to subs so it looks like
' Check OS type
' CheckOS
' Check root account
' IsRootUser
Used JRE6 64bit for Jave on mine as well, all seems to be working fine!

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