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SBS 2011 Standard Server Installed Physically - Now Customer wants to add SQL Server Standard

Scenario:

HP ML350 G6 Server installed with Physical SBS 2011 (migrated from SBS 2003) all running happily.

BES has been installed to cater for their Blackberries.

3rd Party App has been installed which is using SQL server (CRM Application).

Now the customer wishes to add SQL Server to cater for a database that may grow beyond 10Gb, so looking at the Premium Add-On to SBS 2011.

Question:
Which approach would work the best?

1. Buy Premium Add-On to SBS (and CAL's) and install SQL Standard on the SBS 2011 server itself (hoping that nothing breaks in the process).
2. Buy Premium Add-On to SBS (and CAL's) and install SQL on a Windows 7 64-Bit Workstation as they don't wish to buy a new server just for the heck of it.
3. Buy Premium Add-On to SBS (and CAL's) and then convert the SBS 2011 from Physical to Virtual.  Rebuild the server as Windows 2008 R2 Physical and add the Hyper-V role, then add the converted SBS 2011 server as a Hyper-V guest, then build a 2nd Hyper-V guest with Windows 2008 R2 and install SQL Standard on that.
4. Buy Premium Add-On to SBS (and CAL's) and do something not listed above.
5. Buy SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard separately and install that on a Windows 7 64-Bit PC?
6. Something completely different?

Thoughts please from Experts that can speak from experience - Google Monkeys need not apply.

Thanks

Alan
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Alan Hardisty
Asked:
Alan Hardisty
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7 Solutions
 
Cliff GaliherCommented:
While your terminology was slightly off, #3 would be the best option as long as your hardware has the resources to run two VMs.

And to clarify, the terminology I refer to is in regards to the use of the word "host." SBS 2011 cannot be a hyper-v host. But it can be a hyper-v GUEST and the way you wrote the option, I believe that is what you meant. So yes, a host running hyper-v server or 2008 R2 and two guests, one being SBS and one being your PAO with SQL is what I'd recommend.
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Thanks cgaligher - terminology amended!

That was what I was thinking would be the best option too.

Have you ever tried option 1 and if so - does it work?  If it works - are there are performance issues?  Is it recommended?  Customer is asking if this is possible.  From what I read it is, but I am a tad reluctant to in case it breaks the happily running SBS.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Alan,

I agree with Cliff. PAO the host with Hyper-V and its requisite updates.
Use your favourite P2V product (ours is ShadowProtect for Hardware Independent Restore - HIR) to bump SBS into a guest.
Install your Server STD OS and SQL.
The Integration Services ISO needs to be mounted and the Win6.2 version Hyper-V drivers extracted for your P2V process (HIR). Do this _after_ installing the requisite H-V hotfixes and updates.
Hotfix/Update List:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1349.hyper-v-update-list-for-windows-server-2008-r2-en-us.aspx

Since you are there you may want to consider shifting BES onto that secondary box too.

Note: Make sure to clean out all HP management utilities prior to taking your last image that will be used to P2V. System State is also a given.

We have an HIR guide here for our own P2V use:
http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2008/02/sbs-shadowprotect-some-hardware.html

Philip
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I have done #1 but memory gets tight. SBS tops out at supporting 32GB, and exchange and your existing SQL instances can eat a lot of that. Adding SQL, especially if the reasoning is that the database is larger than SQL Express supports, means you will be dealing with a lot of caching and the processes fight for that sparce memory.  It'll work, but I often see performance issues.

hyper-v Server 2008 R2 (a free download) on the other hand, supports 1TB of RAM. So while the SBS guest would still be limited to 32GB, you can install more than 32GB in the physical server and assign the remainder (leaving a few gigs free for the host) to a second VM. You actually get better RAM utliization, less resource contention, and thus ultimately better performance.

The downside is that managing hyper-v server, since it has no GUI, takes some practice. But for the most part it is a set and forget process. Most of my SBS installs are on hyper-v server these days.

-Cliff
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Hi Philip.,

Thanks for your comments.  Glad I am not alone in thinking that Hyper-V is the way to go.

Appreciate the links and the advice re P2V and HP Tools - hadn't thought of that.

Is shifting BES a simple process?  Not a fan of BES, so nearly had to get counselling before I installed it, but thankfully it wasn't as painful as I had anticipated and so far it hasn't broken, so can't complain.

Is there any process you don't have a guide for?

Alan
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
I had imagined that performance might be an issue.  SBS does like it's memory and sharing it with SQL probably won't work very well.

Server has got and can have plenty of RAM, so was thinking 32Gb for SBS and about 8Gb for the Hyper-V host, plus 16Gb or so for the SQL server would be in order.

Not a fan of OS's without GUI's.  Probably an age thing!
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Alan, the requirements as far as memory and I/O for the host are minimal.

1GB for the host in RAM is about all it needs.

4GB for a dedicated swap partition is another ideal setting as swap file usage is next to nil in the host.

We configure:
 + 75GB C: Host OS
 + 4.5GB S: Swap File
 + Balance GB L: for VHDs/Configuration Files

Your biggest bottleneck will be your disk I/O as a rule.

Note that if there is only one Hyper-V host (not a cluster) it is a good idea to leave the host in WorkGroup mode. Have an account set up on that host with an identical username and password to the domain user account that will be used to manage it.

RSAT on Win7 will be needed.

Remote Volume Management (on host _and_ RSAT based machine, Remote Event Log, and Remote Administration (done in H-V Server Menu) are required.

HVRemote can then be used to finish tweaking the security settings to allow a domain based RSAT Win7 manage the WorkGroup Hyper-V Host.
http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/HVRemote

VHDTool is an awesome little utility that sets up true FIXED VHDs in seconds. Use this to configure your VHDs prior to installing or P2Ving your SBS.
http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/vhdtool
Note that while the utility does create one contigious file, anything on those platters that the VHD gets laid over is exposed to the VM. So, initialization of the disk subsystem is required if it was in use prior.

Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Thanks Philip - not sure if I am missing something here, but the SBS box that needs to be P2V'd is the server that will be rebuilt, so not sure how I can configure my VHDs before P2Ving my server as I won't have a Hyper-V host to play with until I have P2V'd the SBS server and flattened.

Current disk config is RAID 5 - should it remain that way?
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Alan,

P2V - Create your image/backup.
Wipe host
Install H-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 with hotfixes.
 + Configure host, drivers, partitions, swap, etc.
 + Add your local admin account.
 + Net Share Folder to enable Network Discovery and give folder access.
Extract Hyper-V Integration Services after updates.
Set up RSAT Win7.
 + HVRemote both host and RSAT
Verify your connectivity to the host and management from RSAT.
Set up your VHDs using VHDTool on host.
Set up your SBS VM configuration using RSAT H-V Manager (UAC prefered for creds)
 + Hook in second VHD (if using 2 distinct partitions)
 + Set 2 vCPUs to 4 vCPUs, set RAM, etc.
 + Mount Recovery Environment ISO
 + Bind backup image destination via IDE/SCSI (depending on RE used) using Pass Through.
Boot SBS VM and open Console session.
 + Note that when the console session opens you will more than likely be prompted for creds.
Restore you SBS using HIR.

That should about cover the needed steps from start to finish. A few assumptions maybe ... but for the most part that is it. :)

Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Thanks - looks good.  Just need to convince the customer to head down that route as there will be downtime and no doubt work out of hours to achieve, which means I cost more!

Much appreciated.

Alan
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Alan,

Install your product of choice. Start the backup on a schedule. Use a separate backup destination for that process making sure to not conflict with SBS Backup and Volume Shadow Copies.

Do that a day or two before hand as a reboot will probably be required.

When it comes time to do the P2V run an incremental with the router/gateway device unplugged (they have continuity for e-mail in place?) for that final image.

ShadowProtect restores into Hyper-V at about 10MB-15MB/Second. 1 vCPU or may be 2 vCPUs and 1024MB of RAM only (Run your first restore routine with 1 then run 2 to see).

It will take about 90 minutes to a couple of hours depending on hardware speed to get that unit up and running. Actual time may be less depending on how many times you have done it!

http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2011/09/how-to-set-up-hyper-v-cluster-node-or.html

Safe Mode boot post restore to get your drive letters straight if more than 1 partition.
Even if you make the MAC address the same for the Hyper-V vNIC you will need to run the wizards to reseat the NIC setup.

Realistically, the job should not take too much time for the P2V portion depending on restore speeds.

iLO Advanced would be handy for the host too BTW.

EDIT: Oh, and there is no reason why you would not be able to get Win2K8 R2 SP1 installed and updated while waiting for the restore!

Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
We have iLO - or at least I can trial it to get that working.  Done many Hyper-V installs, but not converted too many, although it isn't my first.

There is Symantec System Recovery Server available (or whatever it is called today) to generate the server image and it also converts to a VHD I believe, so will probably be using that to convert the image.

Plenty of external USB drives to take the server image and also have an internal HDD to play with to speed up the process, so that's not an issue.

The customer mentioned option 2 - any thoughts / comments about that as a solution?

Thanks gents.

Alan
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Server for server Desktop for desktop.

Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Agreed - but MS states it can be installed on:

Windows XP Professional SP2 x64
Windows Vista SP2 Ultimate x64
Windows Vista SP2 Enterprise x64
Windows Vista SP2 Business x64
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
Windows 7 x64 Enterprise
Windows 7 x64 Professional

I removed the server references for obvious reasons.

Customer will no doubt ask why not a PC especially when MS suggests that a PC OS is a valid OS for SQL to be installed on.  I wouldn't - but then I'm not my customer and I don't pay their bills.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
We have many LoBs that install SQL Express or its various iterations.

Running full SQL standard on a desktop OS? Not something we would do just because it is mentioned that it can be done. :)

If the desktop OS is running as a VM on server hardware then maybe.

What about SQL Agent backups? Certainly backup and restore would be a consideration though maybe not due to the backup server setup.

I come from the use a PC as a server background where folks would do this because it cost less. But the catch is that server hardware has the engineering to run 24/7/365 with high workloads. The desktop stuff is not engineered in the same way.

I am not a coder, but it seems to me that the server OS code would be streamlined for the multiple threads SQL is capable of while the desktop OS would not be.

In the end, they must evaluate the risks relative to the rewards.

It is my preference to use a truck for a truck's duties and a car for a car's duties. That line most certainly has blurred over the years but I am old hat in this way.

Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Ah - you are old-fashioned (like me) - the right tool for the job, not just the cheapest tool that might work - just!

If they ask - I'll come up with some good analogies - very used to being creative in that area.

Thanks Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
Appreciate the sanity check gents.  Waiting on the customer to get the go-ahead and schedule the task.

Appreciate all the comments.

Alan
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Alan,

Very welcome. :)

Philip
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
I'll let you know how I get on assuming I get the go-ahead (if you want to know).

Not something that I can do in my sleep yet, but have done a similar project before and that is still working, so confident that it will all happen and work happily.
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Alan HardistyAuthor Commented:
In case anyone wants to know - the ball is now rolling.

HP related items removed from the server
NIC cable unplugged
Server Image being created at the moment.
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