Server 2012 and Hyper-V implementation

Peter Clahsen
Peter Clahsen used Ask the Experts™
Howdy folks, please forgive a Hyper-V newbie for what may be a simple question!

I wish to set up the following scenario, and I am hoping that someone can sanity-check this to make sure I'm not missing something.

I want to get a single physical server with 3Tb drive space using 10k SAS drives in a RAID-5 array, and around 64Gb memory and a pair of Xeon processors - something like an HP Dl380 G9.

On that I want to install Windows Server 2012 Standard as part of a workgroup.  I then want to install the Hyper-V role, and set up the following virtual machines:

(1) Active Directory controller with space for file and print sharing.
(2) Exchange Server 2013 (domain joined to the AD above)
(3) SQL Server (again, domain joined to the AD above).

I do realise I will need 2 licenses for Windows Server 2012 Standard as the number of VM's I want to create will require this.

I am looking to have this used by about 15-20 workstations - the SQL server use will be fairly light (it's going to run one database that's used only be a few users).


Is the overall system architecture (Server 2012 workgroup as base, AD, Exchange, SQL as VM's on top of that) correct?  Given real world experience on the part of readers, is the proposed hardware sufficient for this task - if not, what is lacking and needs improvement please?
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
I have an EE Article Some Hyper-V Hardware and Software Best Practices that may help.

RAID 6 would be our go-to with non-volatile or battery backed cache on the 1GB RAID controller.

Since you would have licensing for four VMs we would do the following:
 + VM 1: DC
 + VM 2: Exchange
 + VM 3: SQL
 + VM 4: File, Print, and WSUS

Our preference is to have an RDS in the mix since most clients like RemoteApp and RD Gateway to securely access their internal endpoints. RDS could be VM4 with the listed roles shifted to the DC.

For resources given 15-20 users (depending on Mailbox Size):
 + VM 1 DC: 1 vCPU and 4GB vRAM
 + VM 2 Exchange: 2 vCPUs and 12GB-16GB vRAM
 + VM 3 SQL: 2-4 vCPUS and 12GB-16GB of vRAM (depends on databases)
 + VM 4 LoB: 2 vCPUs and 8GB vRAM

Larger mailboxes, >8GB-10GB each, would push the vRAM requirement into the 16GB range.

The databases are the unknown here. How many, how memory hungry are they, and how many IOPS does each database need?

Given the price of physical RAM it may be advisable to have 8x 16GB ECC sticks instead of 8x 8GB. That gives you some room to grow.

Disk IOPS is usually the limiting factor here. So, more spindles at smaller sizes is better than less spindles of a larger size.


Many thanks for your helpful comments and useful link, Philip!

The database isn't very hungry.  Actually, a detail I missed - the client currently has all of the above (Exchange, AD, File, Print and SQL) running on a single physical SBS 2008 box with 16Gb memory right now - it's not overloaded, but we can see that this is stretching it a bit :)

As mentioned, my main concern is that the selected hardware (in particular, disk specifications) are sufficient?  And further, that implementing this with storage inside the server (as opposed to being on a SAN etc.) is acceptable?

I think your idea on the split of the VM's is a good one - thank you for the suggestion, and also on the RAID-6 suggestion, I will factor in those into the build.

Am I right in thinking the way to implement this is to install Server 2012 as part of a workgroup, and then build the AD/domain structure entirely in VM's?
Technical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
You can leave the host in workgroup mode then migrate the existing SBS setup into 2012 R2.

We've done a lot of these migrations to this very setup though our clients utilize RDS as mentioned.

 + Single Socket E5-2400 or E5-2600 (not dual with one CPU)
 + 64GB ECC (4x 16GB)
 + 8x 300GB 10K SAS in RAID 6 via hardware RAID with non-volatile cache
 + Intel i350T4 on board and one i350T4 PCIe (8 ports total)
 ++ (2) ports for management OS
 ++ (6) ports for dedicated vSwitch

If they need more than 1.8TB of usable space (don't forget each OS would be at least 50GB VHDX) then bump up to 600GB 10K SAS.


Many thanks Philip for your insightful and useful information and comments :)

I'll make some changes to our plan as you suggest, and we can then move forward!

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