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Need Hardware Recommendation for Hyper-V Host

jimbecher
jimbecher asked
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  I want to put in a 2008 R2 domain controller and virtualize two 2003 Standard Servers under it. One 2003 server is a Terminal Server and the other is a Exchange server. What kind of hardware should I be looking at as far as processors, memory and disk subsystem taking in to consideration I might want to virtualize another server or two down the road?
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VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
Dell or HP based servers, at least 32GB RAM, Dual Processors, Quad Core Intel, but more important a good RAID controller and as many disks as you can afford in RAID 10, 10k or 15k SAS. So at least 4, but 8 would be good.
You'll need to provide more information.  

How many mailboxes on the Exchange server?  What kind of load?  What version of Exchange Server?  Which roles?

How many terminal server users?  What kind of load?

Author

Commented:
  The load is minimal. Exchange Server 2003 with 15 mailboxes and the Terminal Server has 15 users.

   This is kind of back to the thread I started the other day about the advantages to virtualizing. 32MB, two physical processors (Xeon) and high-end raid with 15k SAS drives? So tell me again why virtualization is cost effective LOL!
MisbahSr. Software Engineer
Commented:
i think it is  not recommended to enable Hyper-V on your domain controller.
based on the information you provided , you don't need a machine with 32 GB of RAM. and you dont need a high end storage device, since you have very basic requirements.

you need to sum the total memory utilization of the two servers you want to virtualize , and add 2 GB of RAM for Hyper-V parent partition.

I think a machine with just 8 GB or RAM will be sufficient for now but keep in mind any future upgrade like upgrading to Exchange 2010 because it requires much more RAM compared to Exchange 2003.

since you have only one physical server to host these VMs, you dont need an expensive storage device, you can just large local disks to store your VMs.

virtualization is more cost effective for larger organizations :)


Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
you wil need a fast datastore otherwise performance of the virtual disks will be poor.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
dont purchase the memory and extra processor now and purchase in the future, but you may find it more cost effective to purchase now. You will only see the tco reduce, when you have multiple servers virtualised.

Personally if that is the size of your estate, I would not bother.

Author

Commented:
  Well... that was one of the reason I asked the question "what are the advantages to virtualizing servers" the other day. Early in the responses I came to the conclusion that it was really only benificial for larger companies with multiple, multiple servers. Then somene piped up and said he and many other installers today will start off virtualizing from the very first server :)

   I tend to revert back to the original thought that it is really only cost effective for larher companies. I was playing and put together a 2008 R2 with a Xeon E3-1230, 16GB and an Adaptec 2405 in Raid 10. Virtualized both the above mentioned 2003 server. In my mind a little slow but it was pretty easy to do. I just don't think in my case virtualization is really worth it.

   I will ask though... it really isn't recommended to turn on Hyper-V on a DC? How about virtualizing a 2003 DC?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Yes, I rememeber the comment, but it depends if you have a 3-5 year strategy, and if you are going to add more servers in the future. If not, the benefits can be more expensive!

No it's not recommend to have a the Domain Controller running the Hyper-V role.
Hello!!

This is what i have: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859105755

But with 8GB of ram and more HDD.

I have 4 Virtual Machines running beautifully,

1.- Windows Server 2008 that is DC,DNS,DHCP,File Server also Quickbooks 2011
2.- Windows Server 2008 that manages RRAS
3.-Windows 7
4.-Windows 7

This server will be perfect for you and cost effective, just make it 8GB of ram and you will be fine.

Author

Commented:
The complete Estate is three buildings connect via fiber:

Building 1:
A single 2003 DC running Terminal Services for 15 users

Building 2:
A 2003 DC
A 2003 member running Exchange Server 2003 for 15 users

Building 3:
A 2003 DC
A 2003 Member for GIS
A 2008 R2 running SQL 2008 R2

I just don't see where virtualizing servers will really benefit me much do you?
MisbahSr. Software Engineer

Commented:
yes you can virtualize 2003 DC
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
No, other than causing you life, more complications and a big learning curve and the risk of performance issues, if you do not get the host hardware correct.

Because, you have 3 buildings good for DR, separate DCs per building, very good.

2 terminal servers in two buildings for local access, to stop traffic going over fibre, or better for others to access for fibre.

Maybe in the future, at the next server refresh, servers in building 3, you could look at, but it depends how space, heat, air con, networking, and do you have requirements for any new servers, is the company growing etc
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
> somene piped up and said he and many other installers today will start off virtualizing from the very first server
I confess, that was me!

Virtualizing a DC is not a problem, but it is generally recommended you have one physical DC if the host server will be a member of the domain (that way, the host server has a domain controller to talk to when it boots).  With virtualized DCs, there are only two things I can think of you need to be careful with - time synchronization and snapshots.  

By default, at least in Hyper-V and virtual server, the time is synchronized with the host server.  This can prevent the DC from properly synchronizing with an external time source as the host overrides it's sync'd time before the DC can update the host (assuming domain) and of course, it won't update the host if the host is in a workgroup.

Snapshots of a SINGLE DC, as far as I can find, are not a problem.  But if you have more than one DC ANYWHERE in the domain, a snapshot -- IF RESTORED -- can seriously corrupt AD.  Consider that a snapshot is a point-in-time "image" of the machine.  If you restore that image after another DC has, for example, allotted it (or been allotted in case it IS the RID Master) a new pool of RIDs, the snapshot knows nothing of this and potentially reissues that pool.  Now you've got multiple DCs giving out the same SIDs which can kill you.

You said you want to run Server and make it a DC and Hyper-V host.  While it's true, it's not recommended, IN A TEST ENVIRONMENT, I wouldn't worry.  In a production environment, I wouldn't do it if I could avoid it.  Now, that said, you should keep in mind - Server 2008 R2 STANDARD limits you to 32 GB of RAM.  Hyper-V server (the separate, free download from MS) has a MUCH higher memory ceiling (I believe 1 TB).  Again, a test environment, this is fine... but in a production environment, ESPECIALLY if the hardware can support it, you're better off going with Hyper-V server and not Windows Server as the Host, where your choices are Server 2008 R2 Standard and Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.  

IF you can/are going to use Enterprise or Datacenter, then this isn't a concern.  Both have MUCH higher RAM limitations.  And frankly, for a VM deployment, where possible, I'd use Datacenter.

Why?
Datacenter is licensed for an UNLIMITED number of Windows VM Guests.  To be clear, Hyper-V (regardless of how you get it - Hyper-V Server or Windows Server, any edition) allows you to run as Many VMs as the hardware and technology supports (I don't recall the number; I think it's in the hundreds but I know it's AT LEAST 64).  HOWEVER, Microsoft includes Virtual Licenses of Windows Server so you don't have to buy more copies.

Server 2008 R2 Standard - 1 plus 1 - this means you get a license to run it on the physical box and one virtual copy.  *IF* you run the virtual copy, then the physical box MUST NOT run anything but Virtualization management tools (GUI is ok).  If you make it your DC and run a copy virtually, you are violating licensing.  UNLESS you go out and buy another copy of Windows Server.

Server 2008 R2 Enterprise - 1 plus 4 - this means you get FOUR virtual licenses for Windows to run under the one physical box.  Similar to the Standard, you can basically run EITHER 3 VMs plus whatever you want on the host OR you can 4 VMs and ONLY run Virtualization management tools on the host.

Server 2008 R2 Datacenter - 1 plus UNLIMITED - meaning for each physical server you have running Datacenter, that physical server can load as many copies of Windows server as you want and the hardware and technology will support.  You never need to buy any more Windows licenses.  Unlike the other two (Standard and Enterprise), Datacenter is sold by the socketed CPU.  So ordering a server with 4 sockets but only one CPU means you have to buy a Datacenter single CPU license.  Want to add more processors?  You need to add more Datacenter CPU licenses.  As I recall (though it's been a while since I checked), the Datacenter CPU license is roughly the cost of an Enterprise License.  And to be clear, that's SOCKETED CPUs, NOT CORES.  If you can get a 10 CORE single CPU system, you can easily run 10 single cpu servers with one Datacenter license (assuming you have the RAM).

(I can go into more detail as it can get tricky when clustering, but I'll leave it at that).

As for hardware, in general, expect the VMs to perform at 80-90% of the rated hardware.  And think about what the activity would be like if they were physical.  For a small test environment, I wouldn't worry putting 2-3 servers on a RAID 10 of SATA drives.  For a business, I'd prefer a RAID 10 of SAS 10K or 15K drives.  It really depends on your usage.  Frankly, I was rebuilding my network, personal chaos ensued, now I've trashed that rebuilt network and will probably rebuild again in the coming months... when I do (and as I did before), I'll probably stick with a RAID 1 and put 3 VMs on each of two servers I custom built for myself.  Each has a mere 8 GB of RAM.  I generally allocate 1 GB for the host.  The great thing is you can always add RAM and increase the VMs RAM and or move them to a different server if your performance isn't what you want.  But for me and my size network serving me and a couple of other users, I'm not at all worried that there will be a noticeable issue with performance.

As for getting "minimal" hardware today and upgrading it later... you're already using the multiprocessor kernel in Windows, so adding a CPU should be simple (I've done it several times, though not recently).  And Adding RAM is simple and then adjusting VMs is simple... to me, the most complicated upgrade would be Disk and that's just because you have to screw things in and then assign drive letters or paths.

By the way, my only XP machine (and the one I answer most of my EE questions on is a Hyper-V 2008 (not R2) XP VM).

kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer
Commented:
It isn't recommended that you run Hyper-V on a host that is also a domain controller, but you can. I manage 3 physical domain controllers that each have 1 guest VM. The reasons not to do so are pretty abstract. If you plan on keeping ohter physical DCs around, I would make my Hyper-V host a member server and run a VM that is a DC. If you consolidate enerything down to a single server I would make the physical host a DC, and run another DC in a VM.

A host with a single quad core processor can easily handle the host OS and DC functions, as well as your terminal server and Exchange 2003 server as VMs. It should also be able to handle your SQL server and GIS server, all on a single quad core processor with 24 GB RAM. The performance limitation would be disk IO. Get a good quality RAID controller and SAS drives in RAID 10 and you can combine your 6 servers into 1 or 2. The only need for a second server is for a second physical DC or if you want to be able to run on VMs on a second server if something really bad happens to the first.