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Running Fax Server Role on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Host

Posted on 2016-11-07
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
A very small amount of faxes are received each day, like 1 to 5.   We have a Dell PowerEdge Server (15k RPM drives, 64GB RAM) that is running Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V as a host to three VM's.  We want to plug in a US Robotics USB modem and install the Fax Server role on the Hyper-V host to receive faxes.  We don't want to spend money on eFax or a Digi device or eltima.com or fabulatech.com since we already have spent good money on existing hardware.  Has anyone else done this?  Are the any side effects by doing this?  Since the load is so small I don't see how there would be any negative impacts.  Please help, thanks.
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Question by:Nathan Vanderwyst
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41878028
You don't get the benefit of 1+x virtualization rights when the host has other workloads, so at the very least you'd have licensing issues. Hyper-v does also do things to the hardware stack and generally i have seen people try and fail when under load. It is not a configuration I'd ever attempt.
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Author Comment

by:Nathan Vanderwyst
ID: 41878034
Not sure what you mean by "You don't get the benefit of 1+x virtualization rights...".   Were talking a role that runs a very small load, if there is no way to access the USB port from a virtual machine besides some odd ball setup I see no other choice.
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41878038
From a licensing perspective, Microsoft doesn't care if a role is "small" or not. If you installed the console to manage your corporate antivirus solution (consoles are also small workloads) you'd still lose virtualization rights.

Per Microsoft licensing,standard gives you 1+2 *only* if the host is used for managing the VMs. If you need direct hardware, run a dedicated physical server (hardware and licensing costs), datacenter (may still fail under load), or a hardware pass-through solution.  Just telling you the reality
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Taras Shved earned 2000 total points
ID: 41878562
Unfortunately, Cliff is right. There is no way you can do anything else except virtualization on 2012 R2 Hyper-V Server.
1) Get a Windows 2012 R2 Standard instead of Free Hyper-V and combine Hyper-V role with Faxes directly on bare metal. Will work like a charm.
2) Use some third-party tool to pass-through your USB port to a virtual machine running either Windows or FreePBX to serve as a fax server.
3) Switch to ESXi that has USB pass-through and act as above without 3rd-party stuff.
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