From esxi 5 to Windows 2012 R2 Hyper-V on NL 40

Hi,

Please see http://mobile.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_28339370.html for more details on this question.

I m checking out the options to migrate my homelab HP NL 40, 16 GB ram to Windows 2012 R 2 Hyper-V.
Config: lsi raid connected to (sharkoon with) 6 ssd slots. 2 of ssd s would be 60 gb for win 2012 r2 hyperv (raid1). Rest in raid 5 for vm s.

My questions:
*how does w2012r2 compare to esxi these days in terms of performance?
*what about os resource use versus esxi
*what about updates? regular reboots due to updates?
*can I just attach my lun (iscsi/nfs) of vmware and import my vm s? I heard vmware tools need to be uninstalled first(?!), that s impossible for me, can t leave an esx running just for booting vm s and uninstall tools
*do I need to install a management console or is it there by default?
*the server is on my attic and there is no rac card in it, I have to bring it down, install and bring back to the attic, so howto configure without having access to my network (no switch/network available when installing)
*can I use hyper-v windows only for hyperv or f.e. also for terminal server (installing office etc)?
*what about software raid 5? I d set 3 disks of 2tb in raid5, what if os fails, can I recover my data?

J.
janhoedtAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
That's Windows 2012 R2.

Windows 2012 different product!

Windows 2008 R2 different product!

This is what is very odd, as users have Windows 2012 working with no issues, enter 2012 R2 and issues with Network Driver support!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
how does w2012r2 compare to esxi these days in terms of performance?

Similar if not the same.

*what about os resource use versus esxi

 the Windows 2012 R2 Host OS, does consume more RAM.

*what about updates? regular reboots due to updates?

Every Month, on patch Tuesday, you will need to patch and reboot, it is Windows.

*can I just attach my lun (iscsi/nfs) of vmware and import my vm s? I heard vmware tools need to be uninstalled first(?!), that s impossible for me, can t leave an esx running just for booting vm s and uninstall tools

No, firstly Windows 2012 R2 does not support NFS, it will only support iSCSI storage, which is NTFS, not VMFS.

ALL your VMs, will need to be converted to Hyper-V using either Disk2VHD or Starwind V2V Converter.

Disk2VHD is here

Source
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415

How to P2V using Disk2VHD

http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/using-disk2vhd-for-physical-to-virtual-conversions-p2v/

Starwind V2V Converter is here
http://www.starwindsoftware.com/converter

*do I need to install a management console or is it there by default?

It's Windows, so you can RDP to the server and manage, or install Hyper-V Manager on your workstation and connect.

*the server is on my attic and there is no rac card in it, I have to bring it down, install and bring back to the attic, so howto configure without having access to my network (no switch/network available when installing)

Insert the CDROM, BOOT CDROM, and Install, assign an IP Address, move back to attic.
Login via RDP and configure and update.

*can I use hyper-v windows only for hyperv or f.e. also for terminal server (installing office etc)?

Yes, you can install software on the Host, if you want to!

*what about software raid 5? I d set 3 disks of 2tb in raid5, what if os fails, can I recover my data?

Yes, VMs are stored on NTFS, many different products allow you to read and mount NTFS drivers for recovery.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
The NL-40 Microserver currently does not work with 2012 R2 and HP has not announced plans to add support. For R2, the Microserver G8 is currently the only choice from HP in that form factor.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@Cliff Galiher, that was the original HP statement, until November 26 2013, that the  NL-40 Microserver (Gen7) with 2012 R2, but this has changed.

November 16 2013, HP released HP SoftPaq SP54344, which is a BIOS firmware update for NL-40 Microserver (Gen7).

Problems fixed in this BIOS, Addressed an issue with Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 may stop responding while booting the operating system.

So,  Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 does work with the NL-40 Microserver (Gen7) .
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
You'll note that the Microserver is NOT on the official 2012 R2 support list:

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/windows/index.html

There are still known issues. I can't currently share more than that.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@Cliff nor is ESXi 5.x!
So the risk is equal as ESXi 5.1.
But the statement it does not work is not true. It was fixed by HP.
It may not be on a list but nor are many other Servers or Desktops which operate Windows OS satisfactorily.
It'd up to Op to access the risk.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
As I said, there are KNOWN issues which is what kept HP from adding the server to the list. Ultimately you are correct, it is up to the op to accept the risk, but sometimes the risk is not known. And from the outside, it'd be easy to say what you did... "plenty of machines are not on the list, and they work." So assessing risk can be difficult.

The BIOS update fixes a boot issue that was specific to the NL-40. There are still driver issues that at in the NL-40 and NL-54 variants of the original Microserver CANNOT be fixed by a bios update. I bring it up so the risk is better understood. I have standing NDAs with both Microsoft and HP that gives me some insight, so I can attempt to wave people away from risky decisions. But those same NDAs prevent me from going into detail.

Take it or leave it as you see fit.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Maybe HP just want to sell Gen8, why did HP fix the Boot issue they could have left it as oh well it does not work not compatible!

Seems odd... What driver issues should we expect to see?

I'll test in lab tomorrow ?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Like I said, I cannot discuss details. Unless and until HP decides to publicly disclose issues/bugs.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
So these bugs and issues are obvious to end user and affect the stability and useability of Windows 2012 R2 Server on a Microserver N40L Gen7 ?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
They do impact stability of all variants of the original Microserver (not just the 40).

Whether you'd call them "obvious" or not is a subjective matter. Going back to the original windows home server, there was a bug that wasn't fixed until update three (known and publicly disclosed) that would cause Drive Extender to lose data under specific circumstances. The bug was not obvious, it did not impact usability under normal use, but it did impact stability... and when it bit, it bit big.

So while I cannot share specifics, I can say there are issues and put some context to understand why the answers to the questions you asked don't always mean what they seem to mean.
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janhoedtAuthor Commented:
Ok, to summarize for me : I d need a bios update. I already did an update to see my 6 disks in the Sharkoon. If nobody can guarantuee me after the latest update I still will see my 6 disks AND safely run Windows 2012 r2 I don t see a reason to dos so and better stick to esxi.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You will need the BIOS Update for Windows 2012 R2 Server, otherwise it will not BOOT.
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janhoedtAuthor Commented:
Ok, thanks. And this update will break my config of seeing all the ssd's in the sharkoon?
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janhoedtAuthor Commented:
What about Windows 2008 R2 core actually, is that s a supported option (without bios upgrade)?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, fine as is Windows 2012!
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janhoedtAuthor Commented:
?You mentioned "You will need the BIOS Update for Windows 2012 R2 Server, otherwise it will not BOOT."
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