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Server 2012 Hyper-V

Posted on 2013-12-16
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I wan to upgrade my server 2011, which is a single box with Exchange 2011 to a Hyper-V environment.

What I need:
1. Exchange Server 2013
2. Web Server
3. Domain/Active Directory
4. Storage Server

What would be the best way to get this done? What should be my host and how should I break down my guests?

Also, I only have 1 static IP address for the time being. That might change as soon as I get a new ISP provider in my area.
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Question by:datzent83
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by:Technodweeb
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Why do you want to virtualize the environment? How many users will you be supporting?
You can do all of that on a single box and one IP address anyway. If you do this using one or more VM then your hardware requirements, especially RAM will double or more to support the processes. You will also have to install an OS for each VM which doubles or more that cost.
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by:datzent83
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So the solution is to Install Server 2012 Standard, on top Exchange 2013, give it a storage role... all on 1 server?
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by:Cliff Galiher
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There is no good way to answer that question given the slim amount of data given. And honestly, I doubt there is a good way to answer that via EE. Factors that can GREATLY change the answer includes number of users, disaster recovery goals, budget, existing infrastructure, mandatory services, desired security footprint, industry regulations, and more.

A legal office has vastly different needs and regulations that a doctor's office, and those are different yet from a small restaurant that processes credit cards. So none of the above can be assumed; not even the security or regulatory requirements.

To put things in perspective, my "new client" interview takes a couple hours. And from there I spend a day making a plan. For my existing clients, I have a quarterly review interview (usually a half hour) to gauge their usage, growth, likes and dislikes, and pain points. And then a yearly hour-long planning session to make and revise 1-year and 3-year goals to address and prioritize what we've learned over the quarters. We also have a loose 5-year plan that provides a general roadmap, but doesn't pinpoint to a specific plan so new technologies have room to be added to the roadmap as it evolves.

Obviously such a comprehensive process can't be summarized in an EE answer, or even a series of them. And mind you, most of my clients were the target size for Microsoft's SBS and EBS product lines. So this isn't and enterprise issue. These are things that even a small business must plan for.

If you aren't ready to do that kind of planning, you may want to consider finding a local IT shop that you can collaborate and form a working partnership with. The educational value alone can make such an arrangement pay off handsomely.
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by:datzent83
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I am an IT. I was merely asking for a proper approach. I have a very small network with 3 users. I want to experiment with virtualization.

I have a Dell PowerEdge r710 server with dual Xeon e5620 processors and 16GB or RAM. I have no issues with the budget.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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I agree with the basic sentiment cgaliher has offered.

To do this properly, you need to look at what your business does, what it wants to do, and what it needs to do in terms of legal requirements.  Then mesh these things together into a cohesive plan.

I do believe that virtualizing is ALMOST ALWAYS the right plan.  So that much you've got.  BUT, there are a LOT of open ended questions left for which a sit down conversation (not just a few back and forth comments) in addition to a review of your business would be a REALLY good idea.
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by:datzent83
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I agree with all of your arguments. I do think it's best to sit down and evaluate what is needed. But this is only an experimental setup. All I need at this point is the best recommended setup.

I currently have:
Dell PowerEdge r710 server with dual Xeon e5620 processors and 16GB or RAM
1x Server 2012 Standard
1x Server 2012 R2 Standard
1x Exchange 2013 Standard

It's a small office with 3 employees and 2 remote users. Each user needs a mailbox, storage and mapped drives to shared folders.
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by:Technodweeb
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The statement that you want to experiment with virtualization is a pretty scary one, especially when you are talking about what seems to be a production environment. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the learning aspects and want to help you but proceed with slow and methodical caution. I have been engineering production environments for clients for nearly 20+ years and have quite a few networks under my belt, including a number of Windows Hyper-V and Hyper-V Core...
The server you have is fine BUT you will need more RAM to make this work. Each VM should have no less than 4GB just to load and run. The Exchange VM will require 12GB minimum to run. The Host OS will need 8GB to load and run. If you look at just the minimums, you would need approximately 24GB RAM.
You can use the same storage for both Host and VMs but it would be much better if each VM had its own disk or array of disks for performance. It is even better if each VM had its own array controller. You will quickly find that when the Host OS is trying to write to the disk on behalf of the VM, you will find bottlenecks very quickly. I will say that in the environment you are suggesting, there will probably be no performance impact. YMMV...

Professionally, with the size of the office, you would do yourself a favor by investigating the idea of moving the whole thing into a hosted cloud solution with a hybrid local storage and AD forest. This would allow you to get the same if not better capabilities without all the difficulties and problems. Everything would be available to both local AND remote users in exactly the same way so you don't have to reconfigure a laptop for in office vs. out of office use, and the list can go on and on...
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by:datzent83
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I like to keep everything in-house for better control.

1. What should be my host OS
2. What should be my guest OS for Exchange
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by:Cliff Galiher
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Well, since you "have no issues with the budget" and want "the best recommended setup" m buy yourself an EMC fiber-channel SAN, an IBM blade chassis and 6 or so blades, a Cisco router, a Sophos firewall, and network that all up. On your blades, install VMware vSphere, and buy yourself some vCenter licenses. Then run two core DCs, making sire they are on separate blades for redundancy. Run two exchange 2013 mailbox servers in a DAG. Run two more exchange 2013 CAS servers (that's four exchange licenses in total.) Run two more 2012 servers configured in a cluster. for file services.

Oh, and buy another Cisco router and another firewall. Configure a DMZ And run another 2012 server on a separate "low security" blade for your web server.

That about covers a budget-is-no-object, best possible configuration, with lots of room to experiment, learn, and tinker.
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by:Technodweeb
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@cgalher - I'll take one please...! lol

Host OS should be Windows 2012R2 Enterprise which allows you to run up to 4 Windows 2012R2 VM under the same license. Since you asked specifically about Exchange, it requires Windows Server and AD integration.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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There is no 2012 R2 Enterprise.

You can go 2012 R2 Standard for 2 VM licenses  or datacenter for unlimited (per host per license.)

And for the guest, either way, downgrade rights will need to be exercised since exchange does not yet support 2012 R2.
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by:datzent83
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@Technodweeb - Thanks, that's exactly the answer I was looking for.

Should the guest OS should be Windows 2012 Standard or Essentials?
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by:Cliff Galiher
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Guest OS, singular? You are considering installing exchange on the same ODE as your DC, webserver, and file server???

...I'm out...
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by:datzent83
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Please excuse the typo. I meant guest OS as a plural.
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by:Technodweeb
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you cannot use Essentials for what you want on a VM. I don't think it will allow it to be installed in a virtual setting. You will require Standard for all VM.
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by:datzent83
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Ok...

1. For host OS I will install Server 2012 R2 Standard with Hyper-V role
2. For Exchange guest OS I will install Server 2012 Standard
3. For file server guest OS I will install Server 2012 Standard
4. For web server guest OS I will install Server 2012 Standard
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Technodweeb earned 500 total points
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What you listed is fine, BUT, to save some $$$ on OS cost, use 2012 Enterprise which also includes 4 Standard licenses. Either way is fine however.

Make your host OS your domain controller and make your file server a secondary. Make the other servers only member servers. You should never expose the full AD to a public facing host. You should be good.
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by:datzent83
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According to cgaliher there is no 2012 Enterprise.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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And this is why deep planning should not be done on EE.

There is no longer an enterprise edition of windows server.

Essentials can certainly be installed in a virtual environment.

Installing the ADDS (or any other role) in a hyper-v host is a bad idea, and from a licensing perspective actually negates the 1+2 rights that you get with server standard. You no linger have those rights if the host runs ANY role besides hyper-v.

...and the inconsistencies continue...
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by:datzent83
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@cgaliher - What, per your expertise, is the best option for my original question. Please note that this is in fact a test/experimental environment. What should my host and guest os(s) bet and their roles?
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by:Cliff Galiher
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As I've said, I can't answer that. Too many variables. Why is there a web server? What is your disaster tolerance? Why are you upgrading from 2011? Why exchange 2013? How much storage do you have, what do you need, what kind of access, and what is the growth?

Even in a test lab, these matter. If the testing isn't gong to closely mimic a real world environment then the testing is meaningless. And the answers (among many other questions I didn't ask) vastly impact what I design. Do I look at DAS, SAS, SAN, NAS, Drobo? Do I cluster? Does Essentials have a place? Are client backups important? Or Sharepoint? Do I look at licensing per device or per user. What about RDS? Does that make more sense for securing remote users? Or maybe VDI?

Now that you have some context, maybe my first comment makes more sense.
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by:datzent83
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In that case, let me rephrase my original question.

My current build:
PowerEdge R710 - Dual Xeon 2.4 GHz Quad Core 12MB 5.86 GT/s, 16GB EEC Registered RAM,  RAID-5 with 2 Partitions (140GB OS and 680GB for Data)
Small Business Server 2011 Standard
Exchange Server 2007 Standard
Web Server
File Server
Sonicwall TZ210
1 Static IP

From my current build, what is the best path of upgrading to Server 2012, Exchange 2013 with Hyper-V environment on the one server that I have. I already have Server 2012 Standard, Server 2012 R2 Standard, Exchange Server 2013 Standard.

So far I gathered the following:
Host OS Server 2012 R2 Standard with Hyper-V, Active Directory/Domain Contorller roles
Exchange Guest OS Server 2012 Standard
Web Server Guest OS Server 2012 Standard
File Server Guest OS Server 2012 Standard

My Goal:
To host my own exchange, web server (for my business and personal website) and file server (to remotely access documents) for 3 local users and 2 remote users.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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You can keep rephrasing your original question. I'll keep rephrasing my original answer.
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by:datzent83
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cgaliher - What is up with your replies. I am here to get help and answers. If you think you are too good to answer this question, than please don't participate.

All I need is a straight up answer about my test environment and some suggestions on improving my setup. THAT'S ALL. I don't need wise remarks.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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I don't think I'm "too good" to answer. Nor are my comments "wise."  You are asking a question that has no good answer and you keep asking the same question in new ways, trying to get a new result.

Imagine calling a doctor:
Caller: "I don't feel well."
Doctor:  "What seems to be the problem."
C:  "I've been dizzy for days, and have some pain."
D: "Well, there could be a few causes to that. Since it has been happening for a few days, you should come in and do some tests."
C: "I don't want to come in. I just want the dizziness to stop."
D: "Well, we can't make it stop if we don't know the cause."
C: "I just need a little help."
D: "I'd like to help you, but you need to go see a doctor and get some tests done."
C: "I just called you for help. Why are you too good to answer my question?"

....c'mon man....I am happy to help you, but your question is beyond the scope of EE. It is *REALLY* that simple.
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by:datzent83
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Your doctor monolog does not apply here. Also, I think I laid out my symptoms in detail. Imagine you were doing this for yourself and all you had is what I pointed out in my last post (ID: 39724639). What would you do? You are the patient and the doctor.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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Why does my doctor monologue not apply? You can't just say it is so and change the rules of the universe and the laws of physics.

But sure, let's go with the second question. I have what you listed in your post, and NO infrastructure budget (which is a far cry from what you originally claimed) ...

My website would run in Azure. I have no budget for a good firewall so I don't want that traffic hitting my meager minimally protected network.

My email would be Exchange Online P1 plan. While there is a monthly cost, it is minimal, and I'd recoup that cost in the time it takes to install Exchange, and would be ahead of the investment curve after the first cumulative update after I installed Exchange.

For file and AD purposes, I'd run Essentials 2012 R2 with integration services turned on and Storage Spaces for file services.  In this instance, for ease of backup, I would not virtualize, since I have no budget to buy a hyper-v backup product, and Essentials backup works via USB which Hyper-V does not have passthrough support for. To leverage the Essentials backup, bare metal makes the most sense.

That is what I'd do without further information. And I have no doubt you'll now tell me why that plan doesn't fit your needs, thus proving my original point.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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If this is a test environment, then you can AND SHOULD experiment with configurations.  I built a server for testing purposes and I've run several tests for performance of the disk subsystem.  Some lasting days.  I will later use what I've learned to build / upgrade client systems and my own system.  You should build your environment to learn and test and discover what's best for you.  WE CANNOT ANSWER THAT because we cannot actually see your network, business requirements, or budget (and we need to see all three for an effective design);

Asking for a specific recommendation, to me, when you say you're using this as a test environment, is contradictory.
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by:Technodweeb
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I have been an EE paying member since very close to the beginning and I enjoy answering questions where I can and invoking new thoughts sometime. Being a paying member, I do not necessarily compete for the points but I like winning the prize at the end because it is more reputation driven for me.

Respectfully, you are basically asking for high level consulting work for free at this point, in the way you are wanting more and more detail. I think that you are asking for help with too broad of a brush stroke. We all have given you very good info and in some cases very detailed. When you start at a 50,000 foot view and keep narrowing the focus of your question or changing the original question, your question becomes less than appealing to the nature of what this site is about.

Suggestion: Take the advice you have been given through this Q&A session and chew on it for a while. Decide what direction YOU want to take and start down that path with the understanding that YOU will have to rebuild your experiment numerous times before you get a grasp on what you are doing and how to make it perform the way YOU want it to perform in YOUR environment. This is the time the questions you might have should be asked here on EE and I will guarantee that I as well as everyone else who has participated on this question as well as countless others WILL chime in and offer you information to get over a bump or clear up a log jam so YOU CAN learn what you are trying to learn.

@datzent83, cgaliher, @leew and myself have hung with you trying to help, whether you find the advise valuable or not, there was genuine attempt to help. If you find the advice to have value, weight the value with a grade of A, B, C or D and assign points to those you you feel deserve it. If you feel as if you received zero value through the efforts of the players involved, feel free to request the points to be PAQ and we all go on our merry way.

Sorry for the long-winded advice column I seem to have produced, but I do offer this with genuine respect to you and what you are wanting to accomplish.

Looking forward to assisting you in the future...
-greg
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by:datzent83
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Thank you all for you support and your suggestions.

Just as a note: I've been installing SBS server for the past 8 years and I've been pretty successful doing so. I also installed and configured single VMs on workstations. However, I never installed VMs on a larger, multi-level environments. All the points you all pointed out I am very aware of. I just needed a second opinion, that's all.

My original setup was going to be:
Host = Server 2012 Standard R2
Exchange Guest = Server 2012 Standard
Web Server = Server 2012 Essentials
File Server = Server 2012 Essentials

I wasn't sure where to put the AD and DC.

Another note: The 5 users setup is just a start. That would grow to a 25 user setup by early next year.
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