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Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 vs Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V role resource usage

Posted on 2014-09-25
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
Let me start off by saying that I am a VMware guy, but am currently looking into the Hyper-V based on the new features, abilities, cost savings in the 2012 version.

I have built out two identical HP blade servers one with Hyper-V server 2012 R2 (Base metal install with sconfig.cmd) and one with Server 2012 R2 and the Hyper-V role installed.

I wanted to run these two machines side by side to see the difference in resource utilization between the full server OS with role and just bare metal hyper-v install. After getting both of the servers built I was pretty surprised to find that there really isnt much difference between the two.

The full server 2012 install took up about 13gb worth of disk space and at idle the server sits right around 1.2 gb of used memory.

The hyper-v r2 server install took up about 8.5 gb worth of disk space and at ide the server is using 2gb of memory.

Now call me crazy but I dont see why a slimmed down bare metal install of Hyper-V should use more memory than the full server OS. Am I missing something here because with the numbers that I am seeing there is really no resource benefit to go to Hyper-V server 2012  R2?

I was thinking this was going to be comparable to an Esxi install where the resource for the hypervisor was basically nothing.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Question by:Joseph Daly
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 250 total points
ID: 40343874
It's based on the  Windows OS and has far more support for different drivers and hardware than ESXi.

Hence why ESXi has a smaller footprint, in terms of installation and memory usage.

Hyper-V server 2012  R2 is FREE, that's a benefit.

Is this Windows 2012 R2 Core ? (e.g. GUI or no GUI)
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by:Joseph Daly
ID: 40343890
The server 2012 r2 with the hyper-v role installed is not the core install it is the full blown gui install and its still using less memory than the hyper-v r2 server bare metal install.
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ID: 40343910
It would be interested to see, when the GUI is removed e.g. core
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by:Joseph Daly
ID: 40343949
You think removing the GUI would cause the server to use up more resources? Because thats whats happening super stripped down version of hyper-v is taking more resources than the full blown gui.
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40343967
Memory usage during a fresh install is higher as optimization routines run. You'll find that, as long as the workloads, drivers, hardware, and VMs are identical, they'll both settle down. Memory usage will be nearly identical as will CPU. The differences come in with disk space and security footprint.
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by:Joseph Daly
ID: 40343982
These machines have been built and running for over a week now Im pretty sure all the optimization routines have been run. These machines have no workload on them and no vms currently strictly the base install.

If the "bare metal" version of hyper-v takes more resources than the full install what is the point? The difference in disk space between the two is 5gb which is negligible. Can you elaborate on the security footprint piece you were talking about?
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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
ID: 40344006
My inclination is that you have some significant driver differences then which is why I listed all the varietals that can have an impact. When all other parts are equal, installs with the smaller GUI take less memory. I can attest this first-hand.

As far as the security footprint, Google is your friend. This has been the subject of very long technical blog posts that I will not cut and paste in their entirety here. It is the primary reason there is core vs minshell vs full GUi vs desktop experience.
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