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176 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 113697 24-Jan-2013 21:47 Send private message

Hi all,

Firstly, my apologies in advance if this post is not in the right forum :)

I'm hoping to get a some advice + suggestions around best approach to setup a virtual server lab.
- this lab will be used to develop software.

Current available physical resources are:

5 x desktop PC's dc7900 or similar model (64 bit)
1 x dl165 server (96Gb ram, 2 x 300Gb, 2 x 2Tb HDD's)
1 x qnap nas (2Tb)
2xGigabit network switch
MSDN licences from MS


Requirement is development environments for:

- Sharepoint
- Dynamics

Needless to say, this will also require

- AD / file / print / iis
- exchange?


I am restricted by budget and resources above.

My thoughts:

Hyper V core on the dl165 (not on domain)
1 x DC using a PC (as physical DC)
1 x system centre essentials on PC to manage lab

1 x AD / FP / IIS - Server 2k8 R2 - virtual 4gb vram, 1 CPU
1 x SQL 2k8 - virtual, 8gb vram, 1 CPU (shared server, multiple instances if required)
1 x exchange - virtual 8gb vram, 1 CPU
1 x sharepoint - virtual 8gb vram, 1 CPU
n x dev environments - virtual 8gb vram, 1 CPU

also, a bunch of virtual windows 7 desktops for the developers to RDP in and use

I have also considered putting exchange or SQL onto the desktop PC's to alleviate load on the virtual box.

Being a development environment, performance is not the primary requirement as long as it is relatively usabale, but stability is.


Any suggestions / recommendations on improvement (other than buying new hardware....) would be appreciated.

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176 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 750443 24-Jan-2013 21:55 Send private message

oh...and the system centre essentials server on a PC as well....

1312 posts

Uber Geek

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  Reply # 750469 24-Jan-2013 22:36 Send private message

Have you thought about using VMWare ESXi Free?? It's brilliant for lab environments, for example we run one of our labs on 2 boxes with 64GB of ram and have about 45 VMs running on those boxes with different memory configs and also use snapshot to save states when servers are in built states.  We find that memory and storage is the only real killer with ESXi not the CPU load as what you really want is to have as many servers and the least number of boxes powered on.  Especially if you have a QNAP NAS, then you can NFS mount it and have all the VMs on the NAS.  It's also very easy to migrate VMs from different OS classes of servers by just powering off and removing it from one server and then adding it back onto the new server.

I wouldn't have a physical server at all including the DC have them all virtual, otherwise you'll get into a problem if you want to upgrade or migrate to another server.

Then just shutdown the VMs, zip them up and then you can back them up should it be needed straight off the NAS.




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gjm

618 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 40

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  Reply # 750561 25-Jan-2013 08:47 Send private message

my 2 cents for what its worth is that your idea looks pretty good. Personally I'd keep a DC on one of the PC's and have a second one thats virtual as well. Your in for a large headache if you lose your one and only DC.

Other thoughts....I assume you are using Windows Server 2012? Quite a few improvements in Hyper V vs 2008 R2.

Your bottle neck here will probably be your hard drives. If possible I would split the VM's out between the internal server terabyte drives and maybe use your qnap as an iscsi target and stick some on there. Would use the 300g drives for the OS in a mirror. Size is overkill but a mirror could save your bacon one day.

Have you thought about using Small Business Server 2011? This would get you your AD, FP, IIS, Exchange in one VM - I would guess there is a msdn license for it and it runs fine as a VM, I do it in my lab.

Finally think about backing up the VM's. Veeam Backup and Replication free version is a pretty good tool. Might just need an external drive or two for storage purposes.

Hope thats food for thought.




[Amstrad CPC 6128: 128k Memory: 3 inch floppy drive: Colour Screen]



176 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 750654 25-Jan-2013 12:19 Send private message

gjm: my 2 cents for what its worth is that your idea looks pretty good. Personally I'd keep a DC on one of the PC's and have a second one thats virtual as well. Your in for a large headache if you lose your one and only DC.

Other thoughts....I assume you are using Windows Server 2012? Quite a few improvements in Hyper V vs 2008 R2.

Your bottle neck here will probably be your hard drives. If possible I would split the VM's out between the internal server terabyte drives and maybe use your qnap as an iscsi target and stick some on there. Would use the 300g drives for the OS in a mirror. Size is overkill but a mirror could save your bacon one day.

Have you thought about using Small Business Server 2011? This would get you your AD, FP, IIS, Exchange in one VM - I would guess there is a msdn license for it and it runs fine as a VM, I do it in my lab.

Finally think about backing up the VM's. Veeam Backup and Replication free version is a pretty good tool. Might just need an external drive or two for storage purposes.

Hope thats food for thought.


Thanks gjm, does SBS 2011 allow for a second DC? I thought there was some limitation around that, but maybe that's changed?

gjm

618 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 40

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  Reply # 750661 25-Jan-2013 12:52 Send private message

yes you can have 2 domain controllers with SBSs. You cant have two SBS servers though, thats where the confusion comes from. You should also be aware that SBS is end of life and there will be no more releases if that matters to you. Still supported though.

Only other major thing I can think of is you cant run an Exchange DAG with SBS so no email database redundancy if you would ever think about it. Prob not a biggy for a dev environment.




[Amstrad CPC 6128: 128k Memory: 3 inch floppy drive: Colour Screen]

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  Reply # 754943 3-Feb-2013 09:14 Send private message

I used SBS initially and although it was an easy start, I found it awkward to decommission/decouple. I would setup with Hyper-V (you have a license, so I would use that product that integrates best with your target platforms). Put it on your server and one of the desktops, then VM you second DC on that, i.e. keep them all virtual.

My MSDN subscription has a very limited number of Windows Server 2012 product keys, so I still have a lot of Server 2008 R2 VMs.

If you want to access your lab remotely, recommend allocating resources for a TMG VM and RD Gateway.

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  Reply # 754944 3-Feb-2013 09:15 Send private message

Sorry, I missed the fact that this is Dev Lab, so allocate resource for a TFS server and build server.

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