How do I add an inexpensive physical domain controller to small business network


I have a 25 client network with 2 hyper-v host servers running 2012r2. Each has 2 virtual machines, including a virtual domain controller on each host. For the other vm on each host, the newer host has an application server which is replicating to the 7 year old host server. Backup from the new host to 2 DAS and 2 NAS at night also, and all is working well.

I would like to have a physical domain controller on the network because that was advised in my research when I upgraded the network with a new server.

All clients are win 8.1 pro

Is there a high benefit/cost ratio for adding a physical domain controller to the network, and could I get away with using Server 2003 or what would be your advice?

Daniel WatrousAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Server 2003 is end of life on July 14th. HP sells some pretty low cost servers .. even an intel NUC will suffice as for hardware.. Software WS2012 Foundation will work

or an older hp g8
Yours is not such a large network that it needs 3 DCs.

Adding a DC running an older version of Windows Server is just likely to hold you back, I wouldn't advise it.

David Johnson is correct, though, that you don't have to spend a lot of money on the server if its only duty is to serve as a (redundant) PDC. I just question whether you would get any benefit from it at all. When I first ventured into virtualization, there was still a controversy over whether one "physical" DC was advisable, but older hands at virtualization all assured me that it was not necessary, all of your DCs can be virtual, you just don't want more than one of them per virtualization host (false redundancy).

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I don't see any advantage at all in using a physical DC as opposed to a virtual one. On the contrary, moving a virtual machine from failed hardware to new hardware is much easier.
Daniel WatrousAuthor Commented:
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