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SQL Server on PDC?  or install Hyper-V

Posted on 2016-09-19
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
I am deploying new Dell server that has custom software application that requires Microsoft SQL server.  However the new SQL 2016 software during the install says I should not install 2016 SQL on a Primary Domain Controller which has not ever been a problem in the past Microsoft server OS's.

So I think my options are to purchase another workstation and install the SQL on that workstation and make it a member of the 2012 R2 domain.
OR
Should I install Hyper-V and use the two Windows 2012 R2 licensees with one Hyper-V server as the PDC and the second Hyper-V server as the SQL server?  I really do not feel comfortable using Hyper-V in a production enviroment where critical company business is be being done everyday.  Also backups for Hyper-V are no as easy as Windows 2012 R2 as they are built into the OS and very easy to manage.

New deployment is the following:
Brand new Dell server
Windows 2012 R2 Standard software
SQL 2016 standard software

Any thoughts would be appreciated?

Many thanks!
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Question by:ITSupportGuy1
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Please dont install SQL on your PDC.  You should _never_ run anything other than AD on any domain controller for security reasons.

If you have only one hardware server, install HyperV and create two virtual machines, one the PDC and the other the SQL server.  Both SQL and Domain Controllers can be virtualized:

Virtual domain controllers

Virtualizing SQL server
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by:billherde
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I would opt for standing up a hyper-v VM that runs your application and the SQL server.  Fully agree with above comment to use that other license to run the PDC. If your network only has one DC, you could run the Hyper-V host as a DC as well, so you have two copies of AD hanging around.  Performance will take a hit, but it is better than trying to deal with a domain that lost it's only DC.  (Even with a good backup, you may find yourself unable to log into the host to restore it!)  Having important pieces virtualized also makes them portable to other hardware if needed.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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SQL does not belong on a DC.  The newest versions may complain about it (I haven't used 2016 yet nor do I often deliberately violate best practices - the last time I tried it was no problem from a TECHNICAL standpoint).

That said, Virtualization is not new - it's been a core part of Windows Server for almost a decade and VMWare's offering have been around noteably longer.  You should know this technology - if you don't you should learn it - NOW.  

Going the Hyper-V route would be my recommendation and DO NOT make the physical install the DC.

I would suggest you read my articles on combining services and virtual or physical servers:
Virtual or Physical?
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html

Servers Sharing Services
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/28694/Servers-Sharing-Services.html

See also
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2032911
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by:Vitor Montalvão
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As stated above running SQL Server in a DC machine is not recommended at all.
You said that you never had issues with that and I'm wondering if you're one of those guys that are use Local System as SQL Server service account instead of an AD login.
Because if you're using and AD login (per MS recommendation as is more secure) then imagine the scenario that you need to reboot your server and think what happens if SQL Server service starts before the DC (and that's highly possible scenario)? There won't be a DC available to validate the SQL Server service account and SQL Server won't start.
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by:ITSupportGuy1
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For these reasons my Client has decided that they are not comfortable with Hyper-V and everything running on one server.  Some of the reasons are below.

Microsoft security updates would have to be done on three servers.  The main server plus two Hyper-V servers.  Backups would have to be done for all three servers.  They felt to many things that can go wrong with everything running on one server.

We decided to install the Microsoft SQL on a Windows 10 Professional workstation as a domain member workstation and use the new Dell server as the PDC as in the past as it has worked very well.  Backups for both will be done locally and to the cloud as they are now done on the PDC server.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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I don't consider those valid points if you understand the technologies.  And given that Virtualization and Hyper-V are not new technologies, in my opinion, there's no excuse for an IT professional supporting servers to NOT be experienced with them at this point.  I strongly recommend you educate yourself if that's your role.  Get an inexpensive server from ebay (I picked up a couple of HP G7 systems a few months back to setup a test cluster) that runs can be used as lab/learning machines.  Stop putting yourself at a disadvantage and learn the technology.

My two cents.  Good luck to you and your client.
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by:Vitor Montalvão
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ITSupportGuy1, are you waiting for more inputs or this question can be closed?
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by:Vitor Montalvão
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Recommendation to close this question by accepting the above comments as solution.
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