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Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Server - Recommended VM Configuration?

Posted on 2014-02-26
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We just received two new G8 HP DL 380's with dual 12 core processors and 64GB of RAM each.  I plan to setup these servers running ESXi 5.5 and have about 10 Windows VM's on these servers in an HA cluster.  Most of the Windows VMs will not do heavy processing.  However, one of the VMs will be a Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services with about 60 RDP users logged in daily.  I currently have the RDP users on a physical G7 HP DL380 with dual 6 core CPUs and 64GB of RAM the OS is Windows 2008 R2.  Normal RAM usage seems to be around 20GB (should I assign the VM 24GB of vRAM) and CPU utilization is never a problem (How many vCPU's should I assign?).
 
I have read numerous times that assigning more than 1 vCPU can actually hurt the VMs performance.  However, it seems that with the amount of users on the Remote Desktop VM one vCPU just won't be enough.
 
What is the recommended resource allocation for a VM with this heavy of a workload?
 
Thanks for your help!
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Question by:SihleIns
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by:insidetech
ID: 39889103
The resource utilization would be up to what the individual RDP user is doing. So  what you allocate to the server would be dependent on what other VM's if any you plan to put on this host.
As far as allocation is concerned general rule of thumb would be to provision 1GB per RDP connection.
Multiple vCPU is not an issue, but I recommend designating the CPU allocation as you build the VM server and not changing it later. The messing with CPU count is usually why you hear about the issues you mention. In my opinion giving this vServer all CPU's would be OK and if needed to be throttle it down on the host resources if needed to be.
The VMware server is very smart about the CPU management. Much smarter then the VM's and in your case, unless you plan to put a lot more VM's on this host... Fine tuning CPU's will provide minimum benefit.
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by:SihleIns
ID: 39889211
You are recommending that I assign all available vCPU's and Cores to the RDP VM?  Although the other VM's that will be on these hosts are things like domain controllers and internal webservers they will also need system resources.  Do you suggestion that I also assign them all available vCPU's and Cores?  If not what would you recommend for those VM's?

I should also mention that currently the DC's and webservers are running on older server hardware with ESXi 5.5 and they currently have 1 vCPU and 1 Core assigned to them.  It sounds like changing that after the initial installation is not recommended?  

The reason I assigned each VM currently to 1 vCPU and 1 Core is because I read in the past that if the vCPU's are over allocated that the VM's will can fight over processor time and that can cause delays.  Is this no longer true in the latest versions of ESXi?
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insidetech earned 250 total points
ID: 39890291
It all depends on how many VM's you have running on each host which was not clear, but it would look like you may want to look at running the RDP server with majority of resources and perhaps just few small demand VM's on that host.
Keep in mind that controlling the resource allocation does not need to be by how many CPU's the VM uses as you can allocate the resources to each VM individually from the host itself.

See this reference P13

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-50-resource-management-guide.pdf

And also this...

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMware-vSphere-CPU-Sched-Perf.pdf
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by:Abhilash
Abhilash earned 250 total points
ID: 39890414
I would say see the peak usage that was there on the windows 2008 physical server on both memory and CPU.
When you move on to hypervisor the memory is managed very well with different features of the hypervisor so i would say, if 20GB was peak, the give the RAM around that. 24GB sounds good for me.
As far as the CPU is concerned, give it 6 vCPUs and if there is no contention for resource on the host because of other machines, you will not mostly see any performance issues.
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Author Closing Comment

by:SihleIns
ID: 39991416
Thanks for the information.  I gave the Windows Server 2012 RDS VM 6 cpu with 2 cores and 48GB of RAM.  So far with about 50-60 users on the server everyone seems happy.  Thanks for the information.
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