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Hyper-V Server Build Questions

Hyper-V Server Build Questions

Hyper-V Server Build Questions

(OP)
Hi All

I am in the process of building all new computers and server(s) for my wife's business.

Up until now, we have been running on SBS2008 on a Core2 Duo E8500 with a whopping 8GB of RAM.

Don't laugh. It has served us well until now, however, it is time to retire it.

There is a strong chance that I will be using SBS2011 as I like the idea of an all in one box, but more on that in another thread to be created later.

The purpose of this thread is that I am now considering building a second server to host some virtual machines and don't know what the hardware requirements would be, so I come here for advice.

My thinking is that I would like to have a couple of pools of around 4 machines. One for people who work remotely so they RDP into a virtual machine instead of a physical one. These machines would be basic workstations with Office and not much else. The second pool, also around 4 machines, would be for similar uses to the first pool only with the addition of QuickBooks. These may be accessed either locally, or remotely. The thought there is that I have 4 QB licenses and would never need 4 people using it simultaneously, however there are more than 4 who use it.

Given that I have yet to play with Hyper-V, I have a couple questions.

1. Is my thinking on uses and pools on the right track?
2. If it is, what do I need in terms of hardware. What makes a difference in performance for the above scenario? Core count, socket count, RAM, ?

If I end up with a second server, it will have SSDs at least for the OS and VMs

We have been given a grant and some of the grant money will be used to pay for this second server. I want to figure out what to get for hardware soon as there is a deadline for claims. I can, and will, set up a test environment to play and learn Hyper-V, but there is no deadline on that. Bit backwards, yes.

One thing that is absolute is that I will be building the servers, not buying Brand X OEM.

Thanks

RE: Hyper-V Server Build Questions

Some things to think about.....

1) You really dont want RDP facing the internet. You will get crushed and someone will likely eventually get in. I would advise a VPN and then RDPing if needed. Either way you have to allow ports in through the modem/router/firewall depending on how you have it networked.

2) Treat each VM as a real PC. Meaning, would you want to work on a 1 core, 2GB of RAM PC? Odds are no considering W10 uses about 2.5GB of RAM by itself. So you need to scale your server to your VM specs and leave some hardware left over for the Host server. So if you want to make 8 similar VM PCs, you should at least give each 6GB of RAM if they are running W10 and 1 core each. So 6 x 8 = 48GB. Meaning you will need a server with more than that much RAM. Also you would like to build in a little future-proofing so I would have more RAM and HDD space than I currently need.

3) As a caveat to that, you could do Terminal Server licensing and run one beefy VM that you have all of your remote people RDP into over the VPN, as we have set up where I work. Does this save resources? Probably not really outside of core assignment but it will save a lot of setup and Windows installs.

4) SSDs are a great idea and should be used for highly accessible data. If there is any relatively static data you can always save money and get HDD for that data. Something like security camera data or the like.

5) Building lets you be customizable but it will come with its share of headaches if not properly researched before the build. Make sure there are no known issues with the hardware and whatever software you plan on running. Make sure the drivers for the proper OS are available. Etc....

There are a ton more things to add to this but Im sure others will chime in as well. First step is to line out exactly what you want and how you want to accomplish it. Second will be finding the hardware to support and third the software for that build.

Hyper-V, IMO, is really user friendly. I've played with VMware, VirtualBox, and HyperV and it is up towards the top in ease of use. Feel free to shoot back any other questions you may have.

Additional thoughts: Do you want to create a quickbooks server to host your data and have the other 4 VM PCs connect to it or are you going to make one of the 4 VM PCs beefier to handle that processing and requests?

Learning - A never ending quest for knowledge usually attained by being thrown in a situation and told to fix it NOW.

RE: Hyper-V Server Build Questions

Some additional info on minimum system requirements:
Quickbooks 2019: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/community/Help-Artic...
HyperV: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/vi...
Server 2019: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/ge...
Windows 10: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4028142/w...

Learning - A never ending quest for knowledge usually attained by being thrown in a situation and told to fix it NOW.

RE: Hyper-V Server Build Questions

(OP)
DrBOb, thanks for the reply.

I spoke to a couple people, one a supplier, the other a college and got a couple opinions. One figured that I don't need a high core/CPU count and could get away with 32G of RAM. The other said that if all the workstations at the office are a minimum of i5s and a minimum of 16GB of RAM, all on at least 860 EVO SSDs, you want the remote user VM experience to be at that same level. I would have to agree with the second and that is how my thinking is going so far.

My original plan was to use SBS2011 on a new server using a Xeon E5-1620v4 (4 core, 3.5GHz) a SuperMicro X10SRH-CLN4 (both of which I have at the moment) and hosting the QuickBooks file on it.

Now that I am thinking about a second server, my thought is to use the same board, but use a E5-1650v4 (6 core, 3.6 GHz) and build two machines. One running SBS with 32GB of RAM, the other the VMs with 64-128GB of RAM.

With two servers, I can take down the second server every now and then and test bare metal backups as the machine running the VMs will not be mission critical. This is one of many advantages of having two similar machines.

As far as QuickBooks, we are using 2017. I currently have the file hosted on my SBS2008 machine. If I go down the two server road, I will put it wherever it makes sense to from a storage performance and ease of backup perspective. I know that they claim SBS2011 is not supported, however I seem to remember there being workarounds out there to make it work.

I also don't think I am going to do W10, I probably will stick to W7 as so far I hate everything about W10. I say this having played with it for less than an hour total so far.

I probably will play with it one way or another before rolling out our new systems and give it a fighting chance.

I am an Action Pack subscriber so I have licenses for all this stuff to play with.

It will be nice rolling out an entirely new IT infrastructure to our staff. Right from the keyboards all the way to the server. I even got us a Cisco 350X switch with 4 10G ports on it. Two workstations will have 10G to the servers!

RE: Hyper-V Server Build Questions

Also for your records, The OS and BOOT support chart: https://www.supermicro.com/support/resources/OS/C6...

So with running VMs, you have to keep at least one core and at a minimum 4GB of RAM for the Host machine as it needs resources to run. The only way you will be able run the second server you talk about would be the Host OS on the server hardware and one or two VM computers running off of that.
You will need at least two NIC ports as well unless you plan on Teaming any of the connections, then obviously you would need more.
I would advise moving on from W7 and embrace W10 as it has been patched to a reasonable level and is significantly more stable than in early release. From a security standpoint alone I would look at moving up the Windows food chain, especially if you actually plan to have RDP internet-facing. Also, if you are going to have it internet-facing, I would highly advise something akin to RDPGuard: https://rdpguard.com/
Basically it sees multiple brute force attempts and blacklists their IP for however long you tell it. It will help mitigate, not stop, brute forcing against your public facing RDP port. And it is relatively cheap at $80ish.
New hardware is always an exciting time. Hopefully all goes according to plan.

Learning - A never ending quest for knowledge usually attained by being thrown in a situation and told to fix it NOW.

RE: Hyper-V Server Build Questions

>you could do Terminal Server licensing

I second this idea. Definitely look at what Remote Desktop Services (as Terminal Server has been called for about 10 years … winky smile ) can do for you. RemoteApp, for example, may be of interest. Or App-V. Although I should point out that the remote desktop services role is not supported on SBS 2011

RE: Hyper-V Server Build Questions

"Given that I have yet to play with Hyper-V,"

Why do you want to create VMs, just because Microsoft says you can ? For 8 users?. You have no power users crunching DB info, nor 50 users. Keep it simple or you will be plagued with maintenance/issues. I would use raid 1. or raid 10 with SSD drives, with a hot spare and extra drives stored in a secure closet.
You need 1 powerful server running as a domain controller, 1 cpu, with raid, with sufficient storage for 10 years ( and double that amount), , 16 Gig memory, battery backup, tape unit, redundant power supplies. Acting as your files server and running your user programs such as Quick books.

A second server, as secondary DC, fast cpu, raid with hybrid SATA drives, raid 1 is sufficient with a hotspare running as terminal server gateway with an external certificate. Does not need to be an expensive server as it will be a secondary DC and running as a gateway server with the needed number of RD licenses, also as a server based central anti virus service (protects entire network. If you use Remote desktop services, with an external certificate , it will be secure as the server will be internal, with the cert providing security through your hardware firewall.

Forget SBS server, what do you need it for? Think you are going going to do you own email as an email server requires expensive security measures, as in a secondary AV service and spam filtering, and added security and maintenance. Also by you server software as retail not OEM.

Of course this setup would require a good bit of file security, and hardware firewall. From your post info you can not handle this, no offense, so you need a pro to handle this, as this is Active Directory and security needs to been correctly instituted.



........................................

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
Popular Mechanics, 1949

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