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VM recommended configurations?

    Question

  • It's been a while I played around with Virtual PC/Server as it was called in the day. It's Hyper-V now and that's what I want to use to get two VM's running as a replacement for two SBS 2011 servers. So we bought a fairly 'fat' server - a Dell Poweredge R7415, sporting an AMD Epyc 7281, 64 GB RAM, BOSS-card (240 GB configured in RAID1), three 960 GB SSD's configured in RAID5, six 2 TB near-line SAS drives configured in RAID5 and four 1 Gbit network adapters.

    What we need is a fileserver/domain controller and Exchange server. So we bought Windows Server 2016 and Exchange 2016. Windows Core is to be installed on the BOSS-card. The virtual domain controller / file server uses the near-line SAS drives to store it's virtual disk. The virtual Exchange server uses the SSD's to store it's virtual disk.

    Installing Hyper-V is pretty much a no-brainer. As is creating a new VM. But both VM's and the host have to be configured for optimal performance. So I read the MS documentation for Hyper-V, but can't find anything about recommended configurations. I broadened the search to the internet, but that's no luck either. Tons of websites describing how to install Hyper-V and create VM's but there it stops.

    Could be I searched the wrong way, so please point me in the right direction. Or maybe recommend how to configure both VM's like how many RAM I should allocate, what to do with the network settings - do I tie them all to the virtual switch or do bind them directly to the VM's etc.


    Simon Weel

    Tuesday, April 16, 2019 3:04 PM

All replies

  • Hello Simon,

    For Exchange Server 2016 mimimum assigned memory is 8GB (static memory), but it depens on the size of your Exchange Server. If you want to go in details, I would recommend reading Ask the Perf Guy: Sizing Exchange 2016 Deployments blog and Ask the Perf Guy: Sizing Exchange 2013 Deployments (more or less still aplies to Exchange Server 2016).

    There is also a Exchange Server Role requirements Calculator which you can use to get detailed recommendations:

    https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2013-Server-Role-f8a61780

    Deploying Domain Controller and File Server Role on the same server is not a good idea for security reasons, so if there is an option I would separete those two roles. Memory requirements for File Server again depends on your server load. For example one of my file server is sharing 2TB of files to 100users and it's using only around 3-4GB of RAM. Same thing with Domain Controller, you can start low and latter increase the memory if needed. I don't know how many AD users do you have, but assigning 4GB of memory would probably be a good start.

    About the network configuration, I would recommend using NIC Teaming. You can team all four adapters on your Hyper-V host and then create a virtual switch on top of your NIC team. 

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/networking/technologies/nic-teaming/create-a-new-nic-team-on-a-host-computer-or-vm


    Microsoft Certified Professional

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    Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:02 AM
  • Hi ,

    In addition to what Matej Klemencic said, using dynamic memory features for Exchange isn't supported. All memory allocated to Exchange VMs should be fixed.

    As Matej Klemencic said, we recommend you use NIC teaming.

    For requirements and recommended settings with Exchange 2016 VM , please refer to the following link:

    Virtualizing Exchange 2016

    Best practices for virtualizing Exchange – part two: Hyper-V

    Please Note: Since the web site is not hosted by Microsoft, the link may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.

    Best Regards,

    Candy


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    Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:41 AM
  • Should have mentioned what the environment looks like. We have about 15 persons working at the office. Most work is done with Autodesk Revit (installed on Windows 10 machines), which is a resource-hog. Uses large files. The Work Sharing feature generates pretty much network traffic.

    For the fileservices, at the moment we have about 2.5 TB data. Exchange has 20 mailboxes and a whole bunch of Public Folders. The Mailbox database is about 60 GB. Public Folders use about 130 GB. And then there are a couple of guys having an Archive, which combined is about 100 GB.

    Network connections are made through a couple of Gbit-switches. Connection to internet is done by a Sonicwall TZ400. 300 Mbit download / 50 Mbit upload.

    That about warps it up, I think....


    Simon Weel

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:10 AM
  • I think you have a good starting point from my and Candy's reply. If you have any additional questions, please let us know.

    Microsoft Certified Professional

    [If a post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" of that post or click Answered "Vote as helpful" button of that post. By marking a post as Answered or Helpful, you help others find the answer faster. ]

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:53 AM
  • @Matej and Candy: thanks for the input! I'll study and configure things. Keep you posted!

    Simon Weel

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:04 AM
  • Hi ,

    I am pleased to know that the information is helpful to you. If there is anything else we can do for you, please feel free to post in the forum.

    You could mark the useful reply as answer if you want to end this thread up.

    Best Regards,

    Candy


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    Thursday, April 18, 2019 1:47 AM
  • Hi,

    I wrote 2 articles in the past related with HYPER-V Best Practices and Security Recommendations.

    I didn't describe how can setup a VM or how much memory need.

    But i give instructions how can keep the best performance in your HYPER-V and your VM's without has problems after setup and start to use it.

    http://askme4tech.com/best-practices-physical-servers-hosting-hyper-v-roles

    http://askme4tech.com/security-recommendations-hyper-v-host-servers


    Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:44 AM
  • About the network configuration, I would recommend using NIC Teaming. You can team all four adapters on your Hyper-V host and then create a virtual switch on top of your NIC team. 

    I set out on the network teaming topic. Read the MS document about how to configure a team. It's pretty straight-forward, but there are more ways leading to Rome. Following the article, a virtual switch is created for each physical network interface. Those virtual switches (at a max. of 2) are then teamed in the VM. The result is a virtual network connection at 2 Gbit.
    There's no explanation on how to configure the other end of the network cable, i.e. the physical network switch. For now, I configured each NIC with a static network address and plugged them all in a switch. Seems to work at first, but after accidentally rebooting one of the existing 2008-servers, things went horribly wrong. All clients lost the network connection and both 2008-servers got sloooooooooooooow. After unplugging the cables from the new server and rebooting the old servers, things were normal again. So I guess I have to set up the switch ports for LAG or something like that?

    Another approach would be to combine all physical NIC's in the host, which can be done using remote Server Manager. This presents a single network interface to the VM's at 1 Gbit. 

    Did some reading about teaming and network throughput. The opinions differ in this. Some say a team is the sum of it's members while others say a team doesn't increase throughput, but it can handle multiple streams. I think the latter sounds the most likely, so even the team advertising itself as 2 Gbit, probably won't exceed 1 Gbit throughput.

    All in all, the question is: which setup would provide the best performance?


    Simon Weel

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:34 PM
  • "a team doesn't increase throughput, but it can handle multiple streams"

    Almost.  A team does not increase throughput for a single stream, but since it can handle multiple streams from multiple processes, overall throughput is increased.  If a team is used on a file server, and single process accessing the file server will not be able to exceed the throughput of a single physical NIC, but if two or more processes are connected, the overall throughput is the sum of available NICs in use.


    tim

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:45 PM