Recommended configuration for new HP server with Win2k12 w Hyper-V

Posted on 2014-09-19
1 Endorsement
Last Modified: 2014-11-12
I have a new HP server and wanted opinions or recommendations on configuring it.  It has 8-146gb drives and 64gb RAM.  I will configure 3 servers utilizing Hyper-V:
1) Host, 2) Domain Controller, & 3) File Server

How much space and RAM should be given to each?  Previous server configurations (excluding Hyper-V) were 2 drives RAID1 with Windows OS then 6 drives RAID5 for file use.

Does the host need twice as much RAM?  The host will be hosting obviously and maybe have tape backup software on it.  The DC will only do that + DNS + DHCP.  Server for user files only.
Question by:cobmo
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40333735
There are many valid configurations. So there is no "right" answer. But in general, leave a gig of RAM for the host and give the rest to VMs. As far as disks go, I'd d the host OS on a set of RAID1 disks. The other six ...I'd strongly consider using 2012s storage spaces and mirror them that way.

Expert Comment

ID: 40333770
Making the DC a VM is pretty dangerous in Hyper vs VMWare.  What happens when the host cannot connect to the DC for some reason?  Why not simplify and make the host the DC and then just virtualize the file server?

As Cliff states, there is no right answer.  I personally prefer the host on raid1 with the rest raid10 for the virtual.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40333783
First, 2012 has technology in place that makes virtualizing a DC acceptable. Secondly, *NEVER* colocate Hyper-V with other roles. *ESPECIALLY* the ADDS role. Bad things happen.
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Expert Comment

ID: 40334249
Just backup server, domain controller and fileserver? Windows 2003 could do that quite adequately with 12GB RAM spread across 3 servers, is Windows 2012 so poor that it needs nearly 6 times the resource? Either that or you are significantly over-specced.
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Expert Comment

by:Mike T
ID: 40335254

Cliff and Andy are correct.
First 64GB for just a file server and a AD box is well over-specified. It is far more than "enough". I am not sure what you are worried about.

As mentioned, a lot will come down to personal taste and style when it comes to the disk arrangements, i.e. opinions will vary.

Host - 1-2GB RAM max
AD   - 1-2GB max
Fileserver - all the rest

Note: Do NOT use dynamic memory for anything. Only Windows Server Enterprise can use it and as you are only serving files you would not need it.

Host - RAID 1 mirror
RAID - 6 or 10 for the rest (6 disks). RAID 10 is arguably better for files and you can lose two disks at once without data-loss.
OR use Windows 2012 storage spaces and enjoy the new features since you've paid for the license. Single-instance storage along will save you money.

For backup you would do best to get something that is Hyper-V aware. Since you only have 2 guests you can use the free version of Altaro Hyper-v backup (no affiliations to me)


Author Comment

ID: 40337112
Thanks for the responses.  I want to add that Im not sure why you suggest 1gb RAM for the Win2k12 host.  Microsoft minimum RAM specs are 2gb with a recommendation of 8gb.  I have a newer server setup with 24gb ram.  There are 3 servers - host + 2 Hyper-V.  Each server designated 8gb RAM.  Seems logical to me.  I purchased more RAM for the next server based on what I am seeing on a similar production server.

It's configured Host RAID1 and the rest RAID5.  Now anyone tell me why when I look at the performance monitor of the host that it is 75% capacity on RAM sitting idle?  Seems odd to me.  Seems if I were to make it a DC that it would require even more.  I have yet to install the Arcserve backup software as well (Arcserve supports Hyper-V) which I believe will require a bit more RAM capacity.  AND virus protection is not installed either.

Even older server setup by vendor (2011 running Win2k8) has 48gb RAM with 8gb for a Hyper-V SQL server, 4gb app server, and 4gb for test app server.  That seems like a lot of ram then too but it is utilizing almost have the ram for the 4 servers again.  I guess I have a major misunderstanding of RAM allocation.
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Expert Comment

ID: 40337363
SQL will use every drop of RAM you have for cache if you let it (you can configure a maximum value if you want).
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Accepted Solution

Mike T earned 500 total points
ID: 40338180

I agree that 1-2GB is not much but I say that for two reasons:
1) I've run a system with that much and it copes fine
2) your DC doesn't sound "busy"

You don't mention how many users you will have connecting to the servers mind, so that will have a bearing at least on the DC VM.
If you're in a small business, 2GB is plenty. If you're a medium shop then sure, bump it to 4GB. For a bigger company then maybe 8GB or 16GB and you'd have more than just one DC.
I am guessing you're in a smallish company from what you've said, so 2GB will do the job.

I don't know where you get the RAM requirements of 8GB for 2012. The TechNet articles I've seen say 512MB minimum. Maybe that's for server core, but still, the GUI option would maybe need 1GB. I've taken the normal rule: double whatever spec MS say and so come to the 2GB figure.

Your comment about the older server running SQL does not compare. It's apples and cornflakes. SQL eats RAM. 48GB for a SQL box is average. Default settings it will use all the RAM and potentially starve anything else, hence the MAX setting to cap it (which you should do at setup).

PS: my suggestions are based on real world environment with about 50 users. Bear that in mind and adjust. With Hyper-v you can always juggle the settings if you find performance is poor.

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