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Would splitting functions on a single server into Hyper-V virtual servers improve or hamper perfomance?

leonvan asked
A colleague and I are debating a significant change in the architecture of one system that currently has a customer experience of slow performance.  Currently we have a single server that houses the Domain Controller, the file server, and a terminal server.  He believes that running Hyper-V and creating 3 seperate virtual servers for the Domain Controller, file server, and terminal server will improve performance.

Both of us have limited experience with Hyper-V, but intuitively, I would think the overhead of running Hper-V would be an added burden on resources.

I would like an answer to the following question that is experience based instead of our feeling or belief opinions:  

Would the Hyper-V splitting functions into virtual servers improve or degrade performance?

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

what component is slow?

Without knowing how you have setup your Hyper-V server, its difficult to give you an answer.

BUT it could degrade performance, by having three virtual machines, on a poorly designed server, and even on the best configured, sometimes performance can be less.

again, what has the end user found slow, file server operations? terminal services?
Svet PaperovIT Manager
If you mean to convert your current server into a Hyper-V server and then install 3 virtual machines without any hardware upgrade, there is great chance that you will have even worse performance on at least one of the virtual servers; probably the terminal server.

If, on other hand, you are planning to purchase a new server, yes, the virtualization is a way to go.  


We are looking at new hardware, but why add the layer of complexity?  If the virtuallized perfomance would degrade from current on the current hardware, then it follows logically that performance (on new hardware) of a virtuallized environment would be less than the performance (on new hardware) without virtualization.

To my understanding, virtuallization was created to consolidate systems and save on hardware, space, etc..  Vitruallizing to split things seems counter-intuitive.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
it really depends on the actual utilisation cpu and memory , of your three servers.

if all three servers are 100% CPU and 100% Memory, very few physical servers have performance statistics like this, but If they were not good candididates for virtualisation.

if different they could benefit from virtualisation. BUT consolidation can be a compromise, trade off between peroformance under hypervisor and real physical servers, with all the additional benefits of virtualisation.

BUT, its whether you actually need that real time  performance. There is a hit.
IT Manager
Virtualization can help in both: system consolidation and splitting the roles for better management, security and functionality.

In your case, splitting will help with improving the security: DC and fileserver on the same machine – not a good idea; DC and Terminal server – even worse. Also, it could help you with the performance issue, depending on where the bottleneck is – you will have to give more information (the questions hanccocka has asked) in order to give you a good advice.

In some cases, we can gain performance by splitting server roles/installed programs on different Windows installations simply because the programs that we need to run on the servers don’t work well on the same machine.

In any cases, the new hardware should be designed to support virtual environments: enough RAM for all virtual machines plus the host and enough processor cores.