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Is it best to almost always use Hyper-V with 2012 R2 Server?

Posted on 2016-08-06
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Last Modified: 2016-08-30
I need to implement a brand new AD domain for a remote location with less than 20 users.
There is no IT guy there, so I will be mainteining it remotely.

I hear that W2012 R2 comes with hyper-v. (Q1) Is it almost always best to use it? There will be one DC server that serves as a file server as well, and that is it for this project. There is no plan of installing another server there, so there is no multiple server instance on this box (if I went with hyper-v, or in any way).

Maybe it is better for me since I can control remote shutdown/restart more easily? Of course when the host server goes down, then no luck.
Also (Q2) disaster recovery may be easier from a remote location?

When the guest dies, I can take the backup and recover.
When the host dies, I can have someone take a computer, install hyper-v, then restore the image of the guest, without worrying about driver issues (because the computer may be a totally different box)...Is this how it would go? Then I would love to run this new DC on hyper-v.

The only downside that I could think of is (Q3) the performance issue, but I am only using it as a DC and a filer server. Also I assume it is just as easy to maintain guest instances, right?

Lastly, when you do this, (Q4) you need to install hyper-v first that Microsoft provides for free, then install a 2012 R2 instance?
I am sorry these are very basic questions, but I need to know if I am on the right direction and start learning hyper-v.

Thank you!
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Question by:Member_2_7970390
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41745747
You have outlined the basic advantages just fine and Hyper-V will serve this need. The only other way is ESX but Hyper-V is included so use it.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41745749
Sorry - Yes install Hyper-V first. You do need to do that.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 125 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41745799
Install Server 2012, add hyper-v role, and NO other roles.  Installing the WS2012R2 Hyper-V on bare metal requires another machine to manage that server.  Why make things difficult.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 125 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41745800
I assume that Server 2012 R2 plus Hyper-V was meant by " install a 2012 R2 instance?"

If I misinterpreted Q4, I agree with David:  Server 2012 R2 then Hyper-V then other machines.
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Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41745899
You should read my article on Physical or Virtual - it was intended to answer most of these questions.

https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html

In my opinion, small environments should be using the full GUI install of Hyper-V with Server 2012 R2.  The only time they shouldn't be is if/when their license is OLDER than the newest version of Hyper-V Server.
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Author Comment

by:Member_2_7970390
ID: 41746624
Thanks to everyone. I see that hyper-v is the way to go, even only for DC role.

It is interesting, though, that you install 2012 R2 first, then add hyper-v role, and install another instance of 2012 R2 with Active Directory. Can you do it with 1 license? I think I've read somewhere that MS allows that.

One more question - our current environment also runs on 2012 R2 with AD, but not on hyper-v instance. Can I make an "image" of this environment and reinstall 2012 R2, add hyper-v role to run this "image?" Also, would you do it?

Now, Let me go and buy a book on hyper-v and learn how to do these things!
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41746638
Did you read the article I linked to?  it has an entire section on licensing that should answer your question - did you not understand part of it?
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by:Member_2_7970390
Member_2_7970390 earned 0 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41747859
Lee W,
No I did not notice the link. Thank you for the info.
To answer my own question - if you have one 2012 R2 license, you can even have 2 instances of the same on hyper-v. That is great!

I did not find an answer to my other question - our current environment also runs on 2012 R2 with AD, but not on hyper-v instance. Can I make an "image" of this environment and reinstall 2012 R2 on the same machine, add hyper-v role to run this "image?" Also, would you do it?
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41748020
It's called Physical to Virtual (P2V) - Microsoft has a tool to do this and if used, it should be supported.  Just remember, depending on your license, you may never be able to move the VM off that hardware.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/scvmm/2014/10/13/microsoft-virtual-machine-converter-3-0-is-now-available-for-download/
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Author Comment

by:Member_2_7970390
ID: 41752296
Some people say it is not good to do P2V for DCs, but in my case, there is only one DC in the domain, so it should be fine, with the normal procedure, right? Or is it still recommended to add the VM DC in the current domain, and then transfer FSMOs to this VM?

It sounds more steps, and then I need to demote the physical DC, change the VM IP back to the one that physical DC had which I've never done.
 

Also, there is another tool called DISK2VHD. Is the  Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 better than this?
Thanks!
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41752318
Generally and in my experience, Disk2VHD works great.  HOWEVER, it's *NOT* a supported method for P2V.  You should always try HARD to NOT put your server and/or network in an unsupported state.  It's not just about breaking things today or getting technical help from Microsoft - Microsoft tests updates against SUPPORTED configurations... if you have an unsupported configuration, a future update could break things - I don't know the odds of that (they're probably very low, realistically), but that doesn't mean you should take the chance if you don't have to.

Given the choice, I would rather build a new VM/DC and transfer the roles... but GENERALLY, P2V works well and I'm not horribly opposed to it.
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Author Comment

by:Member_2_7970390
ID: 41752346
Lee W, Thank you very much.

Since  MS supports it, I will go with their tool and not Disk2VHD, and I will use MS tool and directly move the DC. It seems to be so much more steps, (more room for error) to start from scratch and transfer roles.
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