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Server 2012 r2 with server essentials Advice needed.

Posted on 2014-03-25
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Last Modified: 2014-03-26
Hi,

I am just about to implement my first Server 2012 r2 running effectively as a Small Business Server. Because the client was running SBS 2003 and in sore need of an update and currently they have 45 users the Server 2012 R2 Essentials will not cater for that as it limits the number of users to 25.  

On reading up what my options are it appears that Server 2012 R2 Standard with the Windows Server Essentials Experience should create a system, that is similar to SBS. I also want to run SQL Server and Exchange Server so have purchased the client licences for those and the CALS needed. I understand that you cannot put Exchange Server onto the same server as the Domain Controller and it's recommended that you don't put SQL on it as well, though by testing I have found SQL Server 2012 will install OK on the domain controller but it's not a recommended configuration.

I have decided therefore to install Server 2012R2 in GUI mode onto my PowerEdge T610 and just install the Hyper-V Role.

I will then create 2 Virtual Server 2012 R2s using Hyper-V, one running the Server Essentials Role and the other just running Server 2012 R2 and Exchange and SQL Server.

The questions I have are:

1. What other roles should be installed on the Server that will run the SQL Server and Exchange Server so that SQL and Exchange server function properly alongside the Server Essentials server.

2. Apart from the Server Essentials Experience what other roles should be added to give all the same capabilities as an SBS 2011 server.

3. I have one Server 2012 R2 Standard licence and I understand it allows you to run 2 virtual instances like this.  Is this correct or do I have this wrong?

4. Why can't Microsoft carry on producing Small Business Server it was a perfectly good product!? Don't answer that one it's just a rant by me! :)

Siv
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Question by:Siv
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by:Amit
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To answer your all queries, Microsoft is trying to get rid of SBS, as it is not a profitable business for them. I would rather suggest you move all these users to Office 365 cloud or purchase Exchange and SQL separately and install it. I know that might not the solution you are looking, but that is the best path here.
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by:Yorickos
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1. It's recommended that you separate the Exchange and SQL servers, both applications consume a lot of I/O. Easiest way would be Office 365 and an separate SQL server license.
Technically its possible to install both on a single but u will experience a lack of perfomance.

2.The Core network services will do i think: AD DS, DNS, DHCP,IIS, File and Printer services etc.

3. Correct,

4. Moneywise

Regards,

Yorick
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by:Mahesh
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Personally I never mix-up SQL with Exchange
Your thinking is right as long as you install only hyper-v role on physical server
If you install any other role on physical server, then you will break 2 free licensing term
You may get one more 2012 R2 standard license and install separate Exchange and SQL VM

Mahesh.
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by:Yorickos
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3 . Mahesh is right, only install the Hyper-V role on the physical server.
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by:Mahesh
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Also note that you have to have purchase 45 server CALs for 2012 R2 as you are using 2012 R2 standard edition
This will allow you to work with any other downgrade server OS as well

Mahesh.
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by:Siv
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Mahesh,
I will only install Hyper-V on the Server 2012 Instance that is hosting the two VMs and I will install Server Essentials on one VM that will act as the Primary Domain Control, the other VM will have Server 2012R2 with SQL Server and Exchange Server (I have no option other than to do that as we only have one physical machine available) The other option could be to put SQL server on the PDC that's running Server Essentials and just leave the other VM for Exchange?
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by:Mahesh
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If you are willing to purchase one more 2012 R2 standard edition, then you can install one more VM for SQL on same physical box
I can see you are using Dell PowerEdge R710 which is quiet strong server and can handle all 3 VMs hopefully since your user base is limited to 45 - 50

Note that its also not recommended to install SQL on Domain controller
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by:Siv
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Can anyone answer the question as to what other roles need installing on the box that will run SQL Server and Exchange Server (I note Yorickos comment about keeping them separate but I only have enough licences to have 1 bare metal server and 2 VMs, 1 running Server Essentials as the PDC and another running with SQL and Exchange as a member server).

Siv
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by:Yorickos
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Siv,

You can run 3 vm's, server Essentials can also be installed as "VOS".

With 2012 standard r2 only install the Hyper-V role on bare metal, use the 2 licenses voor an Exchange and SQL server ( 2 x 2012r2 servers).
Install a 3rd vm with the 2012 Essentials license, use this one as your DC.

So you will have 1 physical server with 3 VM's running.

Kind regards,
Yorick
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by:Siv
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Yorick,

I only have a Server 2012 R2 Standard licence and will be installing the Server Essentials Experience on it, the actual server essentials would not be any good as I have 45 users and it only allows 25 unless I am missing something?

What does "VOS" mean?
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by:Mahesh
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Still you will required 1 server standard copy license as you are deploying 3rd VM where Two instance of VMs are free

I think he is referring Virtual OS (VOS).....Please correct if wrong

The one other option I can see, not very interesting but I would suggest..

Do not use Essentials server VM

You have 1 Physical server with 2 VMs free
Hence deploy 1 2012 R2 standard VM with Domain Controller role 1st
Install Exchange 2013 SP1 on top of that (I know this is not recommended but still supported and suite your requirement as you don't want to invest new server license)
Then install another 2012 R2 VM and deploy SQL server on that, also you can use it as a file and print server
Any how you must purchase 2012 R2 standard CALS for 45 users

The above workaround is required only if you can't arrange one more windows 2012 R2 standard license

Mahesh.
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Lee W, MVP earned 167 total points
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I skimmed the comments and they concern me a little... they seem mostly right but with a few issues.

Here's my recommendation.

1. Essentials is NOT suitable for your environment because you have 45 users.  So that's out.  You can install the role, that's fine, but an actual essentials license doesn't make sense.
2. You really need a second server 2012 R2 license in my opinion.  I would NOT put both SQL and Exchange on the same server.  Both are memory hungry and it doesn't make sense to mix them on on the same server instance.  Instead, what you should be doing is getting a second server license and installing 3 VMs - 1 DC, 1 Exchange, 1 SQL.  You can use the 4th VM if you want for RDS or just simply not use it right now.  If you INSIST on not getting another Server license, then I would set one VM as Exchange ONLY and the other as everything else (including SQL, AD, DHCP, DNS, File, Print, etc).  
3. You DO need 45 CALs
4. As far as what other roles, required roles will be installed.  If it's not a required role, you shouldn't install it so that you keep the attack surface at a minimum and can limit the Windows updates necessary (though it often doesn't seem like they've been limited).  If you want a file server, install the roles necessary for the file server functionality.
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by:Siv
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Lee W,
I think your solution is the best option given the constraints I am under.  I did a dummy run using VMs and I know I cannot put exchange 2013 onto the DC as I tried that and it stopped the install and informed me that you cannot install Exchange on the primary Domain Controller, SQL 2012 warned me that having it on a PDC was not a recommended solution but it did allow me to do it, so using the accumulated advice here I think I will do the following:

Install 2012 R2 on the bare metal with just the Hyper-V role.

Create 2 VMs on that with Server 2012 R2 installed.

In VM1 install the Server Essentials experience plus DHCP, configure that with the domain name and make it essentially the PDC. On top of that install SQL Server 2012 and allow it to install any other roles it needs.

In VM2 join it to the domain created in VM1 and install Exchange Server on its own and allow it to add any supporting roles it needs.

If anyone can see a problem with this solution please let me know as I am about to do this. I know it may not be a recommended configuration but I have to work with what I have.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this, as finding out how to do it in MSs documentation is not easy, as they seem hell bent on getting you to do everything in the cloud and that's not an option for most of my clients, either because they can't have their confidential data off site due to data protection act issues or just a general fear that it's not under their control.  Also here in the UK most places have only 4 to 6 mbps broadband and anything faster is horrendously expensive, so trying to support 45 users going through that thin of a pipe is a non-starter.

The client I am doing this for is a charity and they have very limited funds and the costs of server licences and CALs even at the discounted rates they can get as a charity, makes it very hard to build the correct 3 VM solution as the server and CAL costs put it out of their reach.

Siv
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by:Mahesh
Mahesh earned 166 total points
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You can install Exchange 2013 SP1 on 2012 r2, its supported even ON primary domain controller

You need to use Exchange 2013 SP1 setup which is released in Feb 2014 on windows server 2012 R2 - it is not recommended but still supported scenario

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41994 - download setup
http://technet.microsoft.com/library/aa996719(v=exchg.150).aspx - System requirements

http://foundationit.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/how-to-install-an-exchange-2013-server-on-a-single-windows-2012-standard-edition-server/ - Install Exchange 2013 on PDC


Its not recommended to install SQL on Domain controller
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2032911

However, you can go with Lee recommendations if wanted to because no matter in which way you go, either ways are not recommended but supported some how.

Mahesh.
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by:Siv
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Mahesh,

I tried the Exchange server on the PDC that was running the Server Essentials role and it outright refused to allow me to do the "Integrate your Exchange Server" in the "Services" section in the Windows Server Essentials" Dashboard.

So you are right, it will allow you to install it, but then won't let you integrate it into the Server Essentials configuration.

Siv
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by:Mahesh
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Hi Siv,

It seems that you have misunderstood my earlier comments, please read out again

I suggested you to remove essentials \ do not install

What is expected here that you could install 2012 R2 standard edition hyper-v physical host, install two 2012 R2 standard edition Virtual machines, out of two make one VM as Domain controller and on the top of DC just install Exchange 2013 SP1
Then you could setup another VM with SQL and file \ print services

Please note that installing Exchange 2013 on 2012 R2 essentials edition (that is your DC, correct me if I am wrong) is not supported and hence you must setup another 2012 R2 standard edition member server.
Check below link for more details
Integrate an On-Premises Exchange Server with Windows Server Essentials

Exchange 2013 system requirements

Mahesh
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by:Siv
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Mahesh,

Understood, but I can't do that as I need all the SBS like facilities provided by the Essentials role.  So I have to have that installed somewhere and given I can only have one bare metal 2012 R2 and two VMs I think I am best to put SQL on the Server Essentials box and Exchange on the other member server.

If I had the funds I would definitely run either 3 VMs or have a dedicated second server to install the SQL and Exchange in their own VMs.

However I don't have that luxury.

Thanks again for all your help in this thread.

Siv
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by:Mahesh
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Ok

Then you can work out with Lee's comment, it will suffice your requirement.

In reality Microsoft trying to get rid of SBS and Essentials as far as possible but unfortunately its hard time for them as many customers are still using SBS \ Essentials

Mahesh.
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by:Siv
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Thanks for all help given, this is clearly a minefield and I appreciate all the help given here and I have now been able to work out how I can achieve what I am trying to do.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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If they are in the United States use TechSoup for licensing.  If they can't spare another $50 then donate it to them - it'll probably be a tax deduction.
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by:Siv
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Unfortunately we are in the UK and the licences they have are all they can get from the charities software donation system, although I am checking another supplier to see what the discounted prices for this charity might be.

Given that we used to manage all of this within 1 server O/S it all seems a bit bloat and overkill to have to run 4 servers to achieve the same end.

Siv
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Software and requirements change.  SBS 2003 and related technologies have evolved MUCH over 10 years.  It's unrealistic to expect the requirements to be similar.
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