We’re small company with less than 30 employees. Out old physical server (dual-core Intel CPU, Windows SBS 2003) is too slow to run AD and some database and other software so it is time for hardware upgrade and move into virtualization.
Since multiple servers/advanced storage solutions are out of picture at this moment, we’ll have to find best way to host 3 or 4 Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs on a single physical server/host in addition to our AD/Domain Controller. Since I do not have any advanced knowledge, I am facing major challenges and I need to set the server up in 10 days.
My boss decided to go with Hyper-V instead of vSPhere (don’t ask me why, not my decision). We already purchased the server (dual-socket 4-core Xeons with 24GB RAM, 2x 250GB RAID1 + 4x1TB RAID10 connected to Adaptec RAID 2805) and 2x Windows Server 2008 R2 OEM.
I have some questions I hope you may help me:
1. Should I go with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 (bare metal hypervisor, free) or Windows Server 2008 R2 core or full install?
Initially I was thinking about going with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 but my problem is that with this scenario I will not be able to manage my RAID controller so there is no way I can get notifications about disk failure. The server will reside in the room that is not frequently visited. So, I am not sure that I can install Adaptec Storage Manager on Windows Server 2008 core, but it should run on full install.
2. Active Directory/Domain controller.
Let’s say we’ll go with a full install. Should I enable AD on a full installed copy of Windows server (Parent partition) or should I deploy and run it as separate VM (guest)? I know that Microsoft recommend not to use a server for more than one role, but with a single server that will host only few guests, what are my other options?
Any suggestions for backup software and the best way to backup and restore DC and guests? I know I can use the build-in Windows backup to backup guests, but how effective it is when restore is required? I heard things about BackupAssist, BackupChain, Altaro and NovaBackup – all of around $300 software capable of backing up Hyper-V
4. Any suggestions what to do with our old physical server?
Can we use it, say, as a secondary (backup) DC or even install a Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 turning the server into a second Hyper-V host? Is it possible to restore guests from backup and run them on old server if the new (primary) server fails? I can upgrade the CPU to quad core and probably add more memory if required.
5. Hyper-V or VMware
Since we’re still not started installing OS/Hypervisor, is there any reason(s) why we should choose VMware ESXi (free) instead of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2/Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V? The goals is to minimize potential downtime (if the new server goes down), ability to run/restore VMs from backup, better options to manage virtual machines, easy expansion to include additional hosts if needed, external (non-local) storage etc. The price is definitely a factor, I am on tight budget at least for the moment, so paid versions of ESXi are out of image.
Any help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!