The Need for Virtualization

Several, several years ago the consensus was that there was no benefit to vitualiizing servers until you had three or more servers,

   The other day I was told to virtualize even if the customer only had one server. It that the way things have gone? Even having one and only one server in this day and age it is considered best practice to virtualize?
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LockDown32OwnerAsked:
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CompProbSolvCommented:
I think you'll find that the consensus on EE is to virtualize servers unless there is a really good reason not to.

I deal mostly with single-server networks and have moved to virtualizing for a number of reasons.  To start with, if you have a major hardware failure on the server (motherboard, for example), it is very easy to move the VM to any other computer that has adequate disk space and RAM and has a compatible version of Hyper-V running.  In contrast, it can be quite a pain to move a non-virtual Server installation to different hardware.

Rebooting the VM can be significantly quicker than rebooting the host as you avoid all of the hardware initializing stages.

A full backup of the VM is fairly easy if you have the ability to shut it down.  This allows quick and easy restoration in case of a total failure.

Another big advantage (if you are using Windows Server) is that with newer versions you are allowed two VMs with a single Server license.  This allows me to separate the DC functions (AD, DHCP, DNS) from the application functions (file and print sharing, application server) as two separate server VMs.  Prior to VMs I'd always have all functions on a single server because of the high cost of another license.  This may be a minor issue in large networks, but it's significant with small ones.

There are other reasons to go with VMs, but these are the ones that have been most compelling to me.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Well.... to address these:

I use Acronis. It is a simple, simple matter to restore an entire server to a desktop machine. It is just as easy to do that as it is to restore a VM backup.

Rebooting is done so seldom I wouldn't consider a quicker reboot on a VM to me much of an advantage.

The networks I am talking about are 25 user. I wouldn't think that having the AD, DHCP, DNS and file/printer sharing on the same server would slow it down all that much would it? I mean as a rule vittualization slows things down anyway.

So even with a small network of 25 users and the server doing nothing trick virtualization would be the way to go?
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CompProbSolvCommented:
The issue with having the different functions on the same server were related to security and not performance.  I wouldn't expect better performance with 2 VMs handling these tasks as compared to a single VM handling them (with the same resources available).  I'd actually expect slightly slower performance than running the single server on the host as a non-VM.

If the Acronis software were free and always succeeded at cross-hardware restoration, then I'd agree that the backup and portability advantages are minimized if you have Acronis.  My personal preference is to perform functions with what comes with Windows Server when it is adequate as opposed to 3rd-party solutions.  That's not at all to say that 3rd-party solutions don't have their place.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Several, several years ago the consensus was that there was no benefit to vitualiizing servers until you had three or more servers,

We've been doing it now for 14 years...... "several years" - no benefit, not sure who you've been talking to....

Have a read of Lee's EE Article

Why should I virtualize?  It’s a question that’s asked often enough.  My response is usually “Why SHOULDN’T you virtualize?”

Source
Virtual or Physical?
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
I have read Lee's article. Basically the same points CompProbSolv makes. @andrew is was not only a question posed here on EE but other forums as well. You have to remember where OSs and licenses were that long ago. Hardware prices too. There was a point where you went from 8GB to 16 and the price was gradruple. Same senario with hard drives and CPUs. Licenses weren't free. Virtualization that long ago was a very expensive proposition and not at all cost effective for customers having one or two physical servers.

So the backup that comes with Windows works well on VMs?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Far more benefits using Virtualization, maybe you've never had bad hardware failure with one of two servers!

So the backup that comes with Windows works well on VMs?

No. It does not take advantage of virtualization, because you are just backing up files and folders. Just like you would a physical server, take you backup, and try and get it working on another physical server, when you current server breaks, and you cannot purchase the same make and model!

Backup at the HOST layer is at Block level and more efficient!

and remember that once your VMs are virtual, they will always work on the same hardware platform, or can be moved, to other platforms, or Cloud!
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CompProbSolvCommented:
In addition to Windows Server Backup working well (though others may have different experiences with it), you can also shut down the VM and make a simple copy of the VM file.  Of course, the latter requires that you shut down the VM, hence my initial qualification of "if you have the ability to shut it down".
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Knock on wood I have never had a hardware problem with a server. I will open up another question on Windows Backup.

   I remember someone telling me that you should never use Hyper-V on a SBS box (SBS 2011 I believe it was). Is that still the case? You should only use Hyper-V on Windows Standard? not Essentials?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well if you've never had ANY issues EVER with HARDWARE, what are you worried about....

but if you did......

another great Article on Hyper-V by Phil Edler

https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/13256/Some-Hyper-V-Hardware-and-Software-Best-Practices.html
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CompProbSolvCommented:
I can't speak to SBS 2011 but I have used Hyper-V on Essentials.  Keep in mind that though MS allows 2 VMs of Essentials with one license, you can only run one because of how Essentials needs to be the DC.  The advantage that I mentioned about splitting server functions goes away with Essentials.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Ideally and recommended, the HOST server should not be running anything other than a Hypervisor!

e.g. Hyper-V role ONLY added.

Admins easily forget this with Windoze! easier with VMware vSphere, because it's pure Hypervisor on Bare Metal.... you cannot do anything else with it, like Print Server, File Server...

Admins start adding all sorts of crap to the Hyper-V Hypervisor, like File, Print, DC, Exchange, SQL etc I think you get the idea....

but it's the same sort of argument, about Domain Controllers, and also not use them for File and Print Servers, but we know Admins do!!!
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CompProbSolvCommented:
Agreed on leaving the Host as simple as practical.  Keep in mind that adding other roles likely uses a Server license.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
OK. One last question and I'll be on my way. Leave the Host as part of a Workgroup and install only the Hyper-V roll. What about the partitions on the host. Is there any need to have a "Data" partition or just make it one big "System" partition?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No Partitions.

RAID 1 - OS - two disks
RAID 6 or RAID 10 - DATA (VMs) - ask many disks as you like
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Your confusing me just a little Andrew. There has to be at least one partition. What are you suggesting? Two seperate set of disks? System on RAID 1, Data on RAID 6?

It is a small server. Single set of disks. RAID 6. Should I split it in to two partitions "System" and "Data" or just one big "System" partition?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well of course, there has to a Primary Partition for the OS to Boot, and be installed in, BUT don't create partitions, e.g. C: and D: on the same RAID!

Create a Logical Array RAID 1 - Drive C: - Format it. This is a primary partition per logical disk.

Create a Logical Array RAID 6 - Drive D: - Format it. This is a primary partition per logical disk.

If you only have RAID 6, there is not much you can do....I would till split it.

Any more questions, on how to configure, needs a new question, because this has gone off topic from the initial question asked. Question asked  was this:-

Several, several years ago the consensus was that there was no benefit to vitualiizing servers until you had three or more servers,

   The other day I was told to virtualize even if the customer only had one server. It that the way things have gone? Even having one and only one server in this day and age it is considered best practice to virtualize?
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Well... I thought this would have been a simple question but your answer still makes no sense to me. I only have 4 disks in this server. They are set up ad on RAID 6. As a rule on a server you create one partition for the OS and one partition for the Data. Since the only role this server should have is HYPER-V I am question the need for a data partition since there really should be any "Data" on the host.

   Unless it would to be to keep the Virtial Machines and Virtial Disks there.......
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you only got 4 disks...

just create two partitions C: and D:

C: = OS - Windows 2016 installation files
D:= What ever you want to call it Data, VMs, VHDs, ???

Yes Data = Where VMs are Installed - that's data, and not OS  System files?
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
OK. So standard server setup for the host. Two partitions. The C: partition will contain the operating system and the D: partition will really just have two folders. Virtual Machines and Virtual Hard drives. Thanks.
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