Looking for advice here. I am looking up at setting up some redundancy at work.

I have two servers running Windows Server 2012 as an application server and domain controller. Both are pretty meaty servers.

Not being completely over all the HyperV stuff, I was thinking of running two virtual machines on both servers and running HyperV Replica incase of hardware failure on one of the servers.

If one server goes down, is it reasonably straightforward to commission the replicated server?

We are a registered  Not for Profit organization so licensing is inexpensive so this isn't an issue for server licenses

Is this a good idea or do any of the experts here have other suggestions

Thanks in advance,

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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Domain controllers are not good candidates for hyper-V Replica. As for the other server, it depends on the application. Exchange, for example, is not supported on Replica. Their solution for failover is a DAG. Licensing, while inexpensive, is also more complex, You may be jumping in the deep end by the sounds of it.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
how meaty is your domain controller?  you don't need a lot of resources to run AD
for such a small environment, i would buy a small server as another domain controller
for the application server, depends on what you are running and how critical it is

if you can afford a small amount of downtime, get a good hardware warranty
as cliff mentioned, even though your licensing might be cheaper, it increases complexity with your hyper-v idea. while i'm all for virtualization wherever possible, some scenarios like this might be better off investing in a little more physical server hardware which would be simpler to manage and maintain
gezzam25Author Commented:
The application server runs our medical software and a couple of SQL Server applications that are critical for our business.

The domain controller syncs to Office 365 via ADFS and Web Proxy servers in Azure

We run Email and SharePoint through Office 365.

We have approximately 50 computers on the network with about 80 users with different levels of  requirements.

At the moment I use Shadow Protect to take hourly snapshots of both servers and back that up to a server with 20TB of storage. The Shadow Protect images are replicated offsite.

I was looking at this as I am the only IT support person here with the skills to do a complete disaster recovery. (I do a test restore to an old server every 3 months) and I am off on holiday for 8 weeks in October. We have a backup IT support company for these issues, but I'd like to set something up in the unlikely event of hardware failure for my piece of mind.
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1.  Don't have all the servers in one location!
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6.  You'd be better off with creating your own cloud on your own server in an undisclosed location.
1.a.  How can a medical facility be 100% non profit?
gezzam25Author Commented:
Thanks for that...for your NFP information we provide community care, education and research programs for Skin Cancer/Melanoma sufferers. We have surgeons and doctors that provide their services free of charge.

We have gone through all relevant Microsoft checks to receive our NFP licensing
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I'm going to take issue with a few comments made above.  

First, AD and Exchange in a replica scenario may be unsupported... and it's ALWAYS BETTER to be in a supported state... BUT, if you only have one DC (generally not recommended), then there is little chance of harm in doing it.

Second, if you qualify for TechSoup, then your licensing is dirt cheap.  In which case, I would not recommend replica and instead would agree with multiple DCs and DAG.  Your licensing is cheap... so do it right.  

BUT, you're not running Exchange locally.  Instead you have a SQL based application.  SQL too shouldn't be in replica unless you only have one SQL server (even then, you may still encounter official support issues).
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
ShadowProtect has been our sole turn-to application for backups both in physical and virtual settings.

Hyper-V cannot be run on a DC. Licensing would change for one and for another that presents security and networking problems to the host OS.

If the boxes are truly beefy then you could run a DC and your LoBs as VMs and replicate to the second box using Hyper-V Replica.

The catch will be in your database apps. They are very sensitive to disk subsystem bottlenecks which are a lot more common than CPU or memory. What kind of IOPS does the vendor recommend for each?

Also, I have an EE Article here: Some Hyper-V Hardware and Software Best Practices. Perhaps the content may be of use for using Hyper-V as your virtualization platform.

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gezzam25Author Commented:
Thanks guys,

Have taken all points into consideration, we are using Shadow Protect and backing up offsite and to an onsite NAS.

We wall have the duplicate server on standby ready to upload a shadow protect image to it should there be an issue
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