server replacement- DC and file server -hyper-v or bare metal

Derf238 used Ask the Experts™
I have a client with a single server acting as both DC and file server that needs replacement. Approximately 20 users with AutoCAD storage. We can build new server on bare metal but are considering Hyper-v hosting 2 VMs, one for the DC and the other as file server.
HP DL380, 4x600GB SAS 15k drives in RAID5, 32GB RAM, Windows Server 2016 Standard

Thoughts on pros and cons?
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Distinguished Expert 2018

I am a domain controller purist. Don't put other roles or files on there thay don't need to be.  So, with no additional cost, I can't think of a reason NOT to virtualize and segment those roles into separate VMs.

The downside is a minimal amount of added overhead. But my honest opinion is that overhead even in time invested in management/patching, truly is minimal and the benefits outweigh the costs.
I've been a big fan of VMs since I started using them a number of years ago.  Not nearly as much history as many on here, but long enough to appreciate the advantages.

I deal with small networks and never could justify a separate DC because of cost.  With newer Windows Server versions, we're allowed 2 VMs, which works great.  It takes a bit longer to set up (not much) and takes a bit more server storage space and RAM, but that shouldn't be much of an issue on a newer computer.

I put DHCP and DNS on the DC as well as managing AD (of course) and that's typically it.  Everything else goes on the App VM.

One of the advantages of the VM vs. bare metal is the portability.  If we have any server hardware issues, it is VERY easy to move the files to a different computer (I've even used a Windows 10 computer successfully) and run the VMs there.  They look the same to the rest of the network (other than performance) as they did when they were on the original server.

There's a bit of a learning curve on your first setup of VMs, but there is plenty of assistance to be had here and elsewhere.

As far as storage goes, the common view on EE (with which I'd concur) is to stay away from RAID 5.  RAID 10 or RAID 6 are much preferred here.  I've started using Intel PCIe SSD cards for storage as RAID 1.  The price can be competitive (depending on what you're using for your SAS drives) and the performance is very good.
DrDave242Principal Support Engineer

I'm not against combining the file server and DC roles in a fairly small environment, but just like Cliff, I can't think of a good reason not to go the Hyper-V route.  Like he says, the extra overhead really will be minimal. The flexibility you'll get from running two separate (virtual) servers will more than balance that out.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
Set up two VMs:
 + VM0: DC and it's services
 + VM1: File, Print, and *CAD services

The CAD Vault normally requires at least SQL Express if it's in use or planned for. It's not a good idea to put a SQL setup on a DC ever.

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
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

The question is not why should you virtualize, it's why SHOULDN'T you virtualize.  If you can't think of a good reason, then virtualize!

See my article - it's written to answer your question:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

If you have a small environment, and no money - why not!

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