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hardware requirements for 2012 DC (DNS and DHCP) for about  8000 users in one site

Posted on 2014-12-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-12-30
What are the hardware requirements for two 2012 DC (DNS and DHCP) for one site that has about 8000 users, 4000 computers and 2000 groups? Currently all our 2003 DCs are GC, so the new 2012 DC should be GC as well.

Thank you
Question by:creative555
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

it_saige earned 2000 total points
ID: 40515899
The basic requirements for a domain controller are, on paper, no different to the requirements for installing Windows Server in the first place.

For Windows Server 2012 R2 those requirements are:

Processor performance depends not only on the clock frequency of the processor, but also on the number of processor cores and the size of the processor cache. The following are the processor requirements for this product:
•Minimum: 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor

The following are the estimated RAM requirements for this product:
•Minimum: 512 MB

Important - If you create a virtual machine with the minimum supported hardware parameters (1 processor core and 512 MB RAM) and then attempt to install this release on the virtual machine, Setup will fail.
 To avoid this, do one of the following:
• Allocate more than 800 MB RAM to the virtual machine you intend to install this release on. Once Setup has completed, you can change the allocation to as little as 512 MB RAM, depending on the actual server configuration.

• Interrupt the boot process of this release on the virtual machine with SHIFT+F10. In the command prompt that opens, use Diskpart.exe to create and format an installation partition. Run Wpeutil createpagefile /path=C:\pf.sys (assuming the installation partition you created was C:). Close the command prompt and proceed with Setup.

Disk space requirements
The following are the estimated minimum disk space requirements for the system partition.
•Minimum: 32 GB

Note - Be aware that 32 GB should be considered an absolute minimum value for successful installation. This minimum should allow you to install Windows Server 2012 R2 in Server Core mode, with the Web Services (IIS) server role. A server in Server Core mode is about 4 GB smaller than the same server in Server with a GUI mode. For the smallest possible installation footprint, start with a Server Core installation and then completely remove any server roles or features you do not need by using Features on Demand. For more information about Server Core and Minimal Server Interface modes, see Windows Server Installation Options.
The system partition will need extra space for any of the following circumstances:
◦If you install the system over a network.
◦Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files.

Other requirements
You also must have the following:
• Gigabit (10/100/1000baseT) Ethernet adapter
• DVD drive (if you intend to install the operating system from DVD media)

The following items are not strictly required, but are necessary for certain features:
• Super VGA (1024 x 768) or higher-resolution monitor
• Keyboard and Microsoft® mouse (or other compatible pointing device)
• Internet access (fees may apply)

That being said, these requirements can, and do, change depending upon the size and activity of the domain and the services that each domain controller is responsible for.  It's typically best to follow the same general rules that you would apply to an standard windows application server, add more memory and more processing power to start.  These two are easy.

As a starting point adding memory allows for an immediate performance gain for the lowest cost. After that you typically look at the processor.  As Windows Server is an SMP-aware operating system, the more cores you have the better.

The hard one is in the amount of disk-space and disk-types you want to use.  Obviously the fast the better, but the real question is how big is that database going to get.  I have seen some people recommend at least 0.5Gb per 1000 users when allocating disk space for the AD database with the same stipulation for RAM allocation.


Author Comment

ID: 40517014
No. I actually need the hardware requirements for supporting the number of users and workstation for the site that I have and the recommendation for the required hardware.

512 MB memory doesn't seem like will do that.

Could you please let me know or advise how to calculate the recommended requirements for the 2012 DC with the number of objects that I have. Do I need to take into the account for all object in the forest if 2012 DC will be GC or just the number per site will be sufficient?

Thank you very much
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 40517028
I don't know if you missed this part:
I have seen some people recommend at least 0.5Gb per 1000 users when allocating disk space for the AD database with the same stipulation for RAM allocation.
However for further detail I will refer you to: Capacity Planning for Active Directory Domain Services
For Ram specifically the author states;
Evaluating the amount of RAM that a domain controller (DC) needs is actually quite a complex exercise. There is a high potential for error when trying to use an existing system to gauge how much RAM is needed as LSASS will trim under memory pressure conditions, artificially deflating the need. Additionally, there is the rather subjective fact that an individual DC only needs to cache what is “interesting” to its clients. This means that the data that needs to be cached on a DC in a site with only an Exchange server will be very different than the data that needs to be cached on a DC that only authenticates users.
Simply, the more that can be cached in RAM, the less it is necessary to go to disk. To maximize the scalability of the server the minimum amount of RAM should be the sum of the current database size, the total SYSVOL size, the operating system recommended amount, and the vendor recommendations for the agents (antivirus, monitoring, backup, and so on). An additional amount should be added to accommodate growth over the lifetime of the server. This will be environmentally subjective based on estimates of database growth based on environmental changes.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40524871
Great!! Thanks!!

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