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Windows 2012 hosting virtual boxes for Exchange and SQL

Posted on 2013-11-26
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I know that it is never good practice to house a MS Exchange environment and MS SQL environment on the same physical server when the setup is a 'traditional; Windows Server setup. However I am trying to see if the same applies when housed on a virtual environment.

To be specific, the host environment will be a Windows 2012 host. On this host will be separate virtual machines. One virtual machine running MS Exchange and another virtual machine running MS SQL. In general is this an ok practice? Ideally might there be reference link and/or kb articles that help to clarify if this sort of setup is ok?
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Question by:bnrtech
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Frosty555 earned 1500 total points
ID: 39679784
Since they are running in two separate virtual machines it should be fine - they are two separate OS running their respective dedicated services. There should be no best-practices issues with that.

Remember that your host OS should be dedicated to the task of running Hyper-V, it shouldn't be doing anything else (e.g. you shouldn't install the Hyper-V role on your domain controller)

Also you have to be aware that both Exchange and MSSQL both consume a considerable amount of CPU, Disk I/O and RAM. Your host server must have the horsepower, the disk performance, and the RAM to handle the combined needs of both virtual machines. So we're talking about a beefier system than your typical entry-level server.

I do believe this is a large part of the reason why Microsoft decided to license Server 2012 as 2 VMs per license, and why they let you run Server 2012 as a host OS running Hyper-V with 2x Server 2012 VMs underneath all on the single license key and it's completely fine so long as the host is being used exclusively for the Hyper-V role. They know fully well that people will purchase 1x license to Windows Server and try to put the domain controller AND exchange server AND mssql AND wsus AND their fileserver all on the single OS, which will cause major headaches. This license model encourages people to set up their servers correctly.
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by:bnrtech
ID: 39679803
Frosty555

Thanks for this input. All good points.

Yes host OS will be solely dedicated to running Hyper-V

Good point on the virtual machines. We will be running 4 seperate VMs - DC, Exchange, SQL and File Server

Dell PE T620 Server is fairly beefy....

- 2 onboard NICs and a 4-port PCI NIC (to be used for the 4 VMs)
- 128 GB of memory
- Dual Intel Xeon E5-2609 2.40GHz,10M Cache, 6.4GT/s QPI, procs
- PERC H710p controller
- 600GB 15K RPM SAS 6Gbps 3.5in Hot-plug Hard Drive (quantity = 4, raid 5)
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