Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V and VCPU Allocation

I will purchase a a Dell T330 with (1) Intel E-3-1240 v5 3.5GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T processor.

Since the processor has 4 cores, then it has 8 vCPUs.  I plan on configuring three VMs (Windows Server 2016 with Essentials Role, database/file server, and a terminal server.  We are talking about maybe 10 main office users and at most 5 remote office users.  The databases are Quickbooks and Needles application which runs on a SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere database.

So in planning the CPU allocation I want to confirm assigning  (2) vCPUs to the above mentioned (3) VMs will leave 2 vCPUs left.  I think we are good should I need to install a fourth VM sometime in the future, so that I can allocate the remaining 2 vCPUs without issue.  Not sure if the hypervisor will take some of the CPU and not allow me to allocated all 8 vCPUs to a max of 4 VMs.  

I think so, but I need to ask since the T330 Server can only be purchased with a max of a 4 core processor and only has one socket.  Jumping up to another server that allows more processor cores will increase the price.  The cost of jumping from a T330 to a T430 server with 8 Cores is about $1,600.00, so that is why I want to make sure I can easily add a fourth VM in future should that be necessary.
cmp119IT ManagerAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
vCPUs are NOT EXCLUSIVELY assigned.  You can have 8 VMs with 2 vCPU each If you wanted.  You should also understand that there CAN be a PENALTY if you assign TOO MANY vCPU to a VM.  I have an article that explains why you want to virtualize (you're already planning to, GREAT!) and in the second half of the article presents tips for optimizing your configuration.  I recommend reading it:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html
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McKnifeCommented:
What meets the eye immediately, is your planned assignment of only 2 cores for the terminal server. If the load is very low, that might work out, but you should specify what you would want to do on that TS and with how many users simultaneously.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I figured both the DC and DB Servers will definitely need 2 vCPUs.  However, I can't whether the terminal server will work fine with 1 vCPU or actually need 2.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
TS will support 3 users from the beginning and possibly max out 5 in the future.  

Depending on how well TS works for the remote users, they may possibly opt for the 10 users located in the main office to so that everyone connects to the TS server in the future.  So the count would 15 users in that scenario.  Quickbooks Enterprise would need to be upgraded in that instance.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Again, they are not exclusively assigned.  BUT, to execute threads, there must be two CPUs currently idle at the time the VM is going to execute a CPU cycle.  So if you assigned 6 vCPU to ONE VM, but had 3 CPUs currently occupied on a task for another VM and/or the host, that 6 vCPU system must WAIT (effectively slowing it down) for at least 6 CPUs to be idle.

DCs are not CPU intensive.  Databases can be, but it really depends on your usage.  15 total users is VERY FEW.  Odds are, 95% of the time, 1 vCPU would be more than enough for each VM.  PERSONALLY, I like assigning TWO vCPU per VM because I've seen too many instances over the years of systems having a runaway process that hammers the CPU.  With 2 vCPU, a thread can go nuts while the other vCPU remains relatively idle, allowing you to continue using the server (and allowing you to troubleshoot why that thread is going nuts).
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Read my article.

I'd start with 2 vCPU per VM and increase ONLY if you need to, but only increase 1 vCPU at a time.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
I have two very thorough EE articles on all things Hyper-V:

Some Hyper-V Hardware and Software Best Practices
Practical Hyper-V Performance Expectations

Both deal with resource allocation with the Performance article focusing a lot more on getting the most out of the host.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Pardon my ignorance Lee, so with 4 cores = 8 vCPUs, you would assign 2 vCPUs for all three VMs. If I were to need to spin up a fourth VM, then I can utilize the remaining 2 vCPUs.  Were I am not understanding is the Hyper-V host processor utilitization, does it use some of the vCPUs?  I was thinking the hypervisor would allocate at least one vCPU for host housekeeping, etc.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Can you provide any clarification on:

Were I am not understanding is the Hyper-V host processor utilization, does it use some of the vCPUs?  I was thinking the hypervisor would allocate at least one vCPU for host housekeeping, etc.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Please read my articles. They explain how the vCPU to physical Core relationship works in the CPU Pipeline.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You are NOT assigning physical CPUs to VMs.  The idea behind virtualization is to SHARE resources.  when you assign vCPU, you are, in a sense, assigning simultaneous thread requirements.  (do you understand threads?)  If you assign 2 vCPU, you are actually saying the VM must be given two threads to run at a given time - two PHYSICAL CPUs - ANY TWO - MUST be idle at the time the VM executes.  If you assign 8 vCPU, you are saying EVERY vCPU must be idle at that time (it's really hard to get a system running itself and VMs to get 8 idle CPUs which is why assigning 2 vCPU can often result in MUCH better performance than assigning 8 vCPU)
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the long delay responding.  The client mentioned wanting to continue hosting an Exchange server.  I asked that they first try O365 Exchange On-Line plans before making that final decision.  So if an on prem exchange is necessary, will the proposed server with a 4 core processor work well hosting (4) VMs: DC, database/file server, terminal server, and an Exchange server.  I may need to bump up the RAM from 32Gbs to 64Gbs which is not expensive.  Having (5) 900Gbs 15KRPM drives in a RAID6 array should be more than sufficient.  However, the T330 only supports one socket, and the highest available core count is 4.  I believe this will work fine, but if the office decides connecting all 15 users users to the terminal server, then more resources may be necessary for everything to work optimally.  I figure the database/file server and the exchange server will both use 2 vCPUs.  The Terminal server will also have 2 vCPUs, but I think it may need 4 vCPUs.  The problem I could face is if it turns out the terminal server needs more processing power.  I've only seen processors added to VMs in pairs (even number).  Meaning even if I assigned the DC 1 vCPU, I would have 3 vCPUs left to assign to the terminal server.  If I cannot assign 3 vCPUs to a VM then all (4) VMs would be assigned 2 vCPUs each.  

What I am getting at is if an exchange server is added, and the whole office decides connecting to the terminal server more vCPUs may be necessary for everything to work optimally now and for at least 5 to 6 years of usage.  Keep in mind we're dealing with relatively small Needles and QB company files, but they can consume processor usage along with exchange, active directory, remote access, DHCP, DNS, file server storage.  So even if everything works well at the beginning assigning all (4) VM 2 vCPUs, but over time the databases/company files will grow so more processing power will be needed.  I did not mention they are constantly working on Federal Court websites, processing files, accessing financial application (QB), and a case management database (Needles).
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Go R340 and use 8x 2.5" 10K SAS in RAID 6 to bump up the IOPS provided by the storage subsystem.

An Intel Xeon Processor E3-1270v6 with 64GB of RAM along with a high performance RAID card with 1GB of flash-backed cache will be more than enough machine to do the job.

The Remote Desktop Session Host can be set to 3 vCPUs to leave the CPU pipeline a bit more room to juggle the threads.

15K SAS disks are deprecated. The areal density to be found on the 2.5" SAS disks translates to a substantial IOPS and throughput performance boost.

Exchange 2016 is focused on memory with very low IOPS requirements.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I do not understand:

15K SAS disks are deprecated. The areal density to be found on the 2.5" SAS disks translates to a substantial IOPS and throughput performance boost.

Can you elaborate a bit?  I would think 15K RPM SAS disks to be faster and preferred over 10 RPM SAS disks.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Hard disk manufacturers have pretty much stopped making 15K SAS disks. The models that are out there have been around for a while.

Areal density = # Bits to store data with per square inch/centimetre.

The current 10K SAS disks have an Areal density orders of magnitude more dense than the older 15K SAS drives.

That means that a 10K SAS disk can read and write bits that much faster than the older 15K SAS drives that have to reach around for things (seek times).

In a virtual setting, random I/O is a lot more frequent. It's random I/O that costs physical disks more than anything else in seek times. 10K SAS drives again have the advantage here because there's less platter space to cover when seeking versus the larger and less dense 3.5" drives. An extra 5K RPMs does not make up for this in the least.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
There is no R340 so I think you meant a T330 (need tower)  of which offers as a selection the Intel Xeon Processor E3-1270v6.  

I have to find out about the 10K RPM drive offerings.  Dell's website only shows 1.2TB+ 10K RPM drives.  I believe the drives I am already considering are (5 drives): 15K RPM drives are 900GB 15K RPM SAS 12Gbps 4Kn 2.5in Hot-plug Hard Drive,3.5in HYB CARR.

So, the (5) 900Gbs 15K drives should be good to go since they are 2,5" drives, and I only need to consider updating the processor to:

Intel Xeon E3-1270 v6 3.8GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T, turbo (72W)

Since we are sticking with a faster 4 core processor, then I guess you're fine with assigned vCPUs as follows:

DC (2016 Server Standard with Essentials Role)= 1vCPU
Database/File Server:  2vCPUs
Terminal Server:  2 or 3 vCPUs
Exchange 2016+:  2vCPUs
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Since the proposed 900Gb 15K RPM drives are 2.5", then shouldn't the  statement be moot?

15K SAS disks are deprecated. The areal density to be found on the 2.5" SAS disks translates to a substantial IOPS and throughput performance boost.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
I'm dyslexic and sometimes the number looks right even when it's not. Sorry about that.

Dell R230 with dual power supply, Intel Xeon Processor E3-1270v6, 64GB ECC, and 8x 10K SAS in RAID 6. Make sure to have iDRAC Enterprise set up for remote KVM over IP as well. I suggest only using Intel NICs for on-board daughter, I/O Module, and/or add-in.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the reply.  It should a Dell T330, but that's no big deal.  All that you just mentioned was included with the exception of (8) 10K SAS drives.  I currently have (5) 900Gb 15K drives included.  I will need to ask my Dell Sales rep if they offer smaller 10K SAS drives as a selection.  I am thinking reducing the disk gb size and slower RPM speed, and increasing the drive quantity from 5 to 8 might make the server cost jump quite a bit and maybe out of reach.  

I understand the more drives in an array is more efficient, but I would think (5) 900Gb 15K drives (2.5) ought to provide the similar iops or better than smaller 10K drives.  Please understand I have a budgeting constraint to deal with.  I will check with my Dell Sales rep and let you know the outcome.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
On the 900GB drives no, they are on their way out as mentioned earlier for all of the reasons mentioned.

Side-by-side, the 15K would be left in the dust performance wise.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Just to re-iterate my question, sorry for the constant redundancy, but will I be able to configure (4) VMs with enough processors based on the following server specs?  Ample RAM and Disk Space will not be an issue, I am concerned more so not having enough processing power to support all VMs.

Please remember, I plan on allocating VM vCPU's as follows:  

DC=1vCPU
Database/File Storage Server=2 vCPUs
Terminal Server:3 vCPUs
Possible Exchange 2016+ Standard Server= 2vCPUs.

Okay I made necessary modifications to the Dell PE T330 Server as follows:

Intel Xeon E3-1270 V6 3.8 GHz, 8M cache, 4C/8T, turbo
PERC H730 Controller, 1GB NV Cache
On-Board LOM 1GBE Dual Port
BroadCom 5719 QP 1Gb NIC <-- the price was minimal between the DP and QP, so I went for the QP anyway.
(4) 16GB UDIMM, 2400MT/s, Dual Rank Memory
(8) 600Gb 10K RPM SAS 2.5in Hot Plug Hard drive, 3.5in HYB Carr <-- Price difference was not much between the 300Gb and the 600Gb, so I went for the 600Gb drives.
Dual, Hot Plug, Reduntant Power Supply, 495W
iDRAC8 Enterprise.
I already have a APC 1500VA Battery Backup with Network Mgmt Card and Envir monitoring that should work fine with this unit.

The server wound being a little over $1K lower.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your suggestions/feedback.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
No points awarded to those that answered the question?
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
You will need to ask the team that manages the questions.  The new system assigning points is terrible.  Whether you guys are marking the questions resolved or they're marking them automatically is a good question you may want to inquire about.  Once the question is marked resolved not much I can do at all.
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Windows Server 2016

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