Windows Server 2016 Standard Hyper-V with 2016 Essentials Server and RDP Server as VMs

Windows Server 2016 Standard install questions.

I have a client that currently has an SBS 2011 Standard installation (10 users) that needs to be replaced.  Initially I was looking at a physical server (Dell T330 with Single CPU - 4 Cores, 32Gbs of RAM) with Windows Server 2016 Essentials.  A straight forward basic install.  O365 Exchange On-Line Plans I and II will take care of hosting their mailboxes.

However, this client now has a remote office with two or three users. They currently have one user that remotes into an existing computer to access applications (Needles database, Quickbooks, company files, local Exchange mailbox.

So, I was thinking of acquiring MS RDP CALS (5 licenses).  However, the server would be a Hyper-V server with two VMs (1 VM for AD, company file storage, and hosting the Needles and QB databases), and the second VM would serve as an RDP Server with (5) licenses.

I do like Windows Server 2016 Essentials mainly for the built-in Remote Anywhere Access and 25 free CALs, and would still like to install it as a VM.

1. So, I need to know can Windows Server 2016 Standard allow installing Windows Server 2016 Essentials as a VM with the Standard license, or will an additional Windows Server 2016 Essentials license need to be acquired.

I am thinking a Windows Server 2016 Standard license allows installing a downgraded VM as an Essentials server, but I am not entirely sure.

2. Since the server will be purchased with (1) Intel E-3-1240 v5 3.5GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T processor will that be sufficient processing power for the hypervisor and the two proposed VMs.  I would imagine I could allocate 2 virtual processors per VM should suffice with a (4) logical processors.  I would think dedicating 12Gbs or RAM for each VM ought to be sufficient.  Resource control may also be another avenue.  I've always dedicated both processors and RAM for VMs, but may need to consider it.

3. Referencing the RDP CALS, and licensing:

         a. How will Windows Serve 2016 client licenses need to be purchased.  I was hoping we could take advantage of the free 25 -CALs from Essentials server for all the computers residing at the main office, and acquire (5) CALs for the RDP server.  

         b. How will MS Office 2016 Standard need to be licensed.  I am not sure whether O365 will work with RDP, and most likely Volume Licensing may need to be purchased instead.  I am wanting the employees at the remote office to VPN into the main office and remote desktop into the RDP server to access their desktops.

Your feedback is appreciated.
cmp119IT ManagerAsked:
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
1. Purchase a Dell T330 with (1) Intel E-3-1240 v5 3.5GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T processor, 64GBs of RAM, (5) 900Gbs 15K RPM drive for RAID6 Array (2700Gb Usable), iDRAC8 Ent Card, APC SmartUPS 1500 /w Network Management Card.  Utilize Datto Alto backup solution.  
I don't use Datto, I replicate offsite with Hyper-V Replica and then use Altaro for VM backup... but from what I know of Datto, that's fine.

2. We'll go with Windows Server 2016 Standard, and configure it as a Hyper-V Host.
Good

3. Create a VM with Windows Server 2016 Standard, and enable the Essentials Experience Role.  Doing so will install AD and Anywhere Access just like Windows Server 2016 Essentials
Anywhere Access.  
Good

     a. This VM will be configured with 2 Virtual procesors, and 24Gbs of RAM.
      b. Purchase 15 Windows Server 2016 User CALs, and 5 RDP CALs.
      c. On this VM Windows Server Essentials Dashboard will be available to add user accounts, groups, devices, and configure Anywhere Access.
      d. On this VM there will be about 1TB of available storage for user data.  Will transfer about 350Gbs of initial data which includes QB and the Needles database.  They are relatively small DBs.
Ok... seems like a LOT of RAM for it's use... but if SQL Anywhere can use it... I suppose it's ok.

4. Install a second VM with Windows Server 2016 Standard with RDP Role.

      a. Use either 1 or 2 Virtual processors, 16Gbs of RAM.
Use 2.  Always use 2.  Did you read my article?  You've got 8 threads (vCPU available)... don't go nuts, but with 8, you should easily support 2 vCPU for each VM.  Even then thread scheduling should be able to easily fine 2 vCPU for both VMs without significantly (if at all) impacting performance).
     b. Install MS Office 2016 Standard Vol License quantity of 5 or Office365 Business Premium (quantity of 2 or 3) if that will work.
Office 365 Business Premium is not Office 365 E3 or E5 or ProPlus.  It will NOT work.  And then you need a copy for each person who is assigned an RDS CAL.
     c. Setup each user's desktop, etc.
OK.

With the above completed all 10 users residing at the main office will be able to join the Essentials AD domain, and access all server resources (files, DBs, etc.) as usual.

The 2 or 3 remote office users will be able establish a VPN either using the W2K16 Essentials VPN or a Sonicwall Global Client VPN, and then RDP to the terminal server.

I understand its not recommended installing DBs (QB and Needles Sybase database) on the same Essentials server (AD), but their is not much choice considering additional costs purchasing another server license.
 If you're cost conscious, why are you buying 64 GB of RAM.  32 GB should be fine.  And 15K RPM drives?  And we're only talking about $900.  Over 6-9 years.  For 10 people.  That's not THAT much...  BTW, you're leaving the host with WAY too much RAM.  2-3 GB for the host is fine.  DO NOT enable Dynamic RAM for the DC/Database system, but the RDS system can use it.

Maybe down the road I will request the funds to purchase another W2K16 server standard license to spin another VM dedicated as a Database Server.   However, I am not sure if the server has enough logical processor to accommodate another VM or not.  So, I am not entirely sure another VM on the same server will work with the existing config.   Not sure whether a 6 Core processor should be acquired instead.
Why not?  You've got 8 threads capable, you're only using 4... look at your systems now... from servers to workstations, most probably don't go much higher than 10% CPU usage.  You don't generally need to worry until/unless CPU hits 80%+ regularly.
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Adam BrownSr Solutions ArchitectCommented:
Installing 2016 Standard as the VM Host OS will not cover a 2016 Essentials Server under the terms of the Standard Virtualization Rights for 2 VMs. You would have to purchase Server 2016 standard and 2016 Essentials to do what you are describing, plus CALs for Server 2016 Standard. The reasoning here is that both editions follow different licensing models. 2016 Standard uses a per-core licensing model while 2016 Essentials follows a per processor licensing model, and includes 25 CALs. Server 2016 Standard includes no CALs, and I don't think the Essentials CALs will cover the 2016 Standard VM.

What you can do, however, is install the Windows Server Essentials Experience Role on a Server 2016 Standard install. That will provide you with the tools and ease of configuration provided in the Essentials license but will function using the Standard license.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
First the obligatory (yet very real) disclaimer.  Taking licensing advice from the internet, even experts exchange, is not a good idea.  There are many "experts" that are not good at licensing and "I heard it on the internet" is not a good defense.  Ask enough people and you'll eventually get the answer you want to hear, but that doesn't make it legal or right.

1)  All of the essentials features are a role available in Standard.  So you'd install a VM and enable the "essentials experience role" if you want that.  However, if you don't use client backup, I recommend skipping it.  You can get the other features using RDWeb/Gateway.  Also, before your first question, you made a statement that is factually wrong, and is important for this conversation.  

Essentials does *NOT* come with 25 CALs.  It comes with the rights for 25 users and 75 devices to access THAT server. But they aren't CALs.  Which from a licensing perspective for additional servers and even virtualization DOES matter.

1.1)  Don't install anything on your DC.  Not databases.  Not QuickBooks.  You may have gotten away with it on SBS 2011 Standard, but it fails or causes "hidden" problems more often than not. Take advantage of the fact that you are virtualizing. Put that stuff on the other VM, or on a 3rd VM if need be.

2) Whether that is sufficient is *really* dependent on the LOB software.  How heavy is that database?  For RDP in general, more ram is better.  At least bump that up.  But determining processor really is part art, based on your experience with that LOB software.

3a) You will need Windows CALs for each user (or device if you with device CALs) that access the server in any way.  you will not be able to take advantage of the 25/75 rights of essentials in this situation.  Similarly you will need an RDS CAL for each user (or device) remoting into the system to use an application. It is NOT concurrent. It is per user/device, and whether in the remote office or locally.

3b) Office 365 E3/E5 licenses can be purchased via VL, and includes the rights to run the desktop apps on RDS.  You just customize the click-to-run installer to install in shared computer mode. You don't need to buy office 2016 seperately under VL if you prefer the O365 update and pricing model.  Microsoft has full documentation on this scenario.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
1. So, I need to know can Windows Server 2016 Standard allow installing Windows Server 2016 Essentials as a VM with the Standard license, or will an additional Windows Server 2016 Essentials license need to be acquired.

I am thinking a Windows Server 2016 Standard license allows installing a downgraded VM as an Essentials server, but I am not entirely sure.

If you buy a volume license you get access to keys and media (via the Volume License Service Center) for Windows Server 2016 and previous versions.  You also get access to Windows Server 2016 Essentials (and earlier versions) and keys.  No need to purchase an extra license.

2. Since the server will be purchased with (1) Intel E-3-1240 v5 3.5GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T processor will that be sufficient processing power for the hypervisor and the two proposed VMs.  I would imagine I could allocate 2 virtual processors per VM should suffice with a (4) logical processors.  I would think dedicating 12Gbs or RAM for each VM ought to be sufficient.  Resource control may also be another avenue.  I've always dedicated both processors and RAM for VMs, but may need to consider it.
You should understand how the hypervisor works.  Do not assign more than 2 vCPU to each VM to start.  *IF* a vm clearly needs more CPU, add a third and re-evaluate.  (I like the 4C/8T CPU you have chosen - that's good - and I would expect it to be sufficient for the workload and office size with horsepower to spare).

3. Referencing the RDP CALS, and licensing:

         a. How will Windows Serve 2016 client licenses need to be purchased.  I was hoping we could take advantage of the free 25 -CALs from Essentials server for all the computers residing at the main office, and acquire (5) CALs for the RDP server.  
You misunderstand.  Essentials DOES NOT come with CALs.  It DOES NOT REQUIRE CALs.  Therefore, if you are running ANY OTHER SERVERS, you need to purchase CALs separately.  In which case, you don't really need essentials. You can install the Essentials role and otherwise treat this like a more traditional server.  You also need RDS CALs if you intend to run an RDS server.

        b. How will MS Office 2016 Standard need to be licensed.  I am not sure whether O365 will work with RDP, and most likely Volume Licensing may need to be purchased instead.  I am wanting the employees at the remote office to VPN into the main office and remote desktop into the RDP server to access their desktops.
E3 or higher for Office 365 supports installation on an RDS server.  Or you can subscribe to Office 365 ProPlus if you don't want e-mail.  Or you can purchase Office separately but then it MUST be a volume license edition.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
@adam:  Actually in the last PUR I looked at, Essentials is considered a valid downgrade right from standard so you can install an essentials VM as a downgrade benefit.  HOWEVER, CALs are still needed.  Licensing always applies to the product purchase; NOT the product being downgraded to.  

Example: 2008 R2 Enterprise was a legitimate downgrade option if you bought 2012 Standard (for various feature alignment reasons.)  Standard only allowed 2 VMs though, where 2008 R2 Enterprise allowed 4 VMs.  You could not buy 2012, exercise downgrade rights, and install 4 VMs though.  The licensing of 2012 still applied, even though downgrade rights were exercised.

Same applies when downgrading from standard to essentials.  You get the full feature-set of Essentials (which you don't get with the Essentials Experience role) but are subject to the core count and CALs of standard, because those are licensing clauses, not technical/feature clauses.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I disagree SOMEWHAT with Cliff's point about installing to the DC.  I don't consider Quickbooks to be a problem (beyond the problem intuit makes it).  However, certain databases are a problem.  In a small environment condensing things - the right things - on a server is ok because budgets are not infinite.

I have a couple of articles you should probably read through:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/28694/Servers-Sharing-Services.html
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html (You can probably skip the first 1/3 - the second part illustrates how to do/watch for basic optimizations for a virtual environment.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
My biggest issue with quickbooks on a DC is that quickbooks installs multiple background services. And instead of creating accounts as any good installer should do, it sets its services to run as "local system."

On a member server, that's good enough. Still  or great, but is "OK."  On a DC, local system just has wwwaaayyy too many privileges for this to be acceptable.  I understand tight budgets. But running local system services for LOB apps that access the internet on a DC is just bad news in my humble opinion.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I have taken all your suggestions/responses with consideration, and have formulated the following action plan.  I am sure I will need to make small adjustments, but for the most part it should be a feasible implementation plan.  Please let me know if I overlooked anything or have suggestions as to alternatives, etc.

1. Purchase a Dell T330 with (1) Intel E-3-1240 v5 3.5GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T processor, 64GBs of RAM, (5) 900Gbs 15K RPM drive for RAID6 Array (2700Gb Usable), iDRAC8 Ent Card, APC SmartUPS 1500 /w Network Management Card.  Utilize Datto Alto backup solution.  

2. We'll go with Windows Server 2016 Standard, and configure it as a Hyper-V Host.

3. Create a VM with Windows Server 2016 Standard, and enable the Essentials Experience Role.  Doing so will install AD and Anywhere Access just like Windows Server 2016 Essentials
Anywhere Access.  

      a. This VM will be configured with 2 Virtual procesors, and 24Gbs of RAM.  
      b. Purchase 15 Windows Server 2016 User CALs, and 5 RDP CALs.
      c. On this VM Windows Server Essentials Dashboard will be available to add user accounts, groups, devices, and configure Anywhere Access.
      d. On this VM there will be about 1TB of available storage for user data.  Will transfer about 350Gbs of initial data which includes QB and the Needles database.  They are relatively small DBs.

4. Install a second VM with Windows Server 2016 Standard with RDP Role.

      a. Use either 1 or 2 Virtual processors, 16Gbs of RAM.
      b. Install MS Office 2016 Standard Vol License quantity of 5 or Office365 Business Premium (quantity of 2 or 3) if that will work.
      c. Setup each user's desktop, etc.

With the above completed all 10 users residing at the main office will be able to join the Essentials AD domain, and access all server resources (files, DBs, etc.) as usual.

The 2 or 3 remote office users will be able establish a VPN either using the W2K16 Essentials VPN or a Sonicwall Global Client VPN, and then RDP to the terminal server.

I understand its not recommended installing DBs (QB and Needles Sybase database) on the same Essentials server (AD), but their is not much choice considering additional costs purchasing another server license.  

Maybe down the road I will request the funds to purchase another W2K16 server standard license to spin up another VM dedicated as a Database Server.   However, I am not sure if the server has enough logical processors to accommodate another VM or not.  So, I am not entirely sure another VM on the same server will work with the existing config.   Not sure whether a 6 Core processor should be acquired instead.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Agree with Lee. You can trim the hardware to afford the server license. Also, if the LOB apps on the RDS server use the databases, I'd out the databases on the RDS server over putting it on the DC, if I had to collocate at all. Quickbooks definitely supports that (with enterprise., and non enterprise isn't supported on RDS as well) as do most other apps.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Okay, will leave the server RAM at 32Gbs.  I simply thought acquiring more RAM initially would alleviate adding more later on if needed.  I generally try and purchase servers with additional resources so I can easily expand/add more resources without needing to purchase additional hardware.

I will need to read your article on the logical processors and assigning virtual processors per VM.  I guess I still need to understand that even though this server processor only has 4 cores I can still assign 2 virtual processors for two or more VMS (VM1 = 2 Virt Procs, VM2 = 2Virt Procs, and VM3 = 2 Virt Procs).  I was thinking 1 server core correlates to 1 virtual processor, so assigning 2 virtual processors to 2 VMs would consume all available processor cores.  Not sure I explained that correctly or not.  I am just wondering if I have a single 4 core processor and each VM should be allocated with 2 Virtual Processors, then what would the max amount of VMs could exist on this server given all VMs are not DB or Exchange servers
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I tried selecting Assisted Solution to split points, but I could not seem to do it even in classic view.  

I do need to know a little more about the (1) Intel E-3-1240 v5 3.5GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T processor.  I am thinking of going with the suggested (3) VMs (1VM=Essentials, AD, 1VM=Database/File Server, and 1VM=terminal server.  

Since I have 8 VCPUs, I will dedicate 2 VCPUs per VM (6 total).  I presume one or both last 2 VCPUs go to the HyperViser (Hyper-V Host), or can I utilize the last VCPUs for a fourth VM.

The difference between two VMs and three also applies to Datto backups.  Meaning static monthly costs are based on each protected host.  For instance, protecting a VM would theoretically cost me $100.00 per month.  This is reasonable, but when we multiply that by three, and then I need to add my cost to manage it that could be a game changer for the client.  Maybe I can protect the Essential - AD VM, and Database/File Server VM with Datto since it not only backups the VM it also provides Continuity/DR.  The terminal Server could be backed up by another means.  I just wanted to keep everything consistent.  I did not foresee implementing more than two VMs to get it going and managing/maintaining over a five year period.
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