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Setting up Single Windows Server 2012 standard physical server with Hyper-v role and guest DC for small business

Posted on 2013-12-13
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
Hello Experts,

I'm looking to set up a single physical server with Windows Server 2012 Standard and Hyper-v host role.   I know some people who configure the dc and hyper-v host roles on the physical server but I'm worried about that scenario.  This is a small business with limited funds so, I'm trying to avoid having to buy a second physical server for the DC role.  What do you think about me setting up The one physical server as a Windows server 2012 standard with Hyper-v host role (not joined to a domain), and setting up a Hyper-v guest Windows server 2012 DC on it.  Any suggestions for avoiding the purchase of a second server would be appreciated!  I don't want to use Windows SBS though.  Thanks!
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Question by:racsrv
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Rich Weissler earned 250 total points
ID: 39717619
What you have planned should be fine, it's essentially what I use for my lab environment.  It's a little nerve wracking to have a single DC... but if you're only going to have a single piece of hardware, this works.
(Keep in mind that the Standard edition of Windows Server only provides windows licenses for a very limited number of virtual machines, whereas the Data Center edition provides unlimited windows licenses.  Alternately, if you're planning to license individual servers, there is also a free Hyper-V Server, which comes up with the minimum server GUI, and you can then license your servers individually that way.)
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by:Alex Appleton
Alex Appleton earned 250 total points
ID: 40175140
I've seen a host box with both Hyper-V and DC roles run fine for years without issue, but you are correct that it is not best practice to do it this way.  If you do, just make sure you don't inadvertently multihome your DC, since most Hyper-V setups use multiple NICs; dedicate the Hyper-V external switch to a physical port.

The guest VM can also be a DC.  Two things to keep in mind with this are time sync (the current official word is to disable time sync with the host), and automatic start actions.  I'd recommend to set your VM with the DC role to always auto start, and if you fire up any additional VM's to put a slight delay in auto start to allow for AD to fire up.  

Your host box can be joined to the domain as well, but you may find issues with it because you're giving yourself a bit of a tricky "chicken before the egg" scenario.  Personally, I like to avoid joining the host to the virtualized domain if at all possible because of this.  However, I've seen configurations where the host box works just fine joined to a domain on virtualized machines.
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