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Domain Controller
WSUS is Virtualized

Saturday, December 27, 2008 in Technical Articles (Views: 5002)
Previously, I mentioned the value of Server Virtualization and how it is the "Next Big Thing". Well, it appears at this point of the game that has virtualized as well.

We have 2 machines with 4GB of RAM, 64 bit processors. Not really high class, but good enough to make things run effectively. You have to be careful with Virtual Machines, not to do what is called "VM Creep". VM Creep is nothing more than a term for building more VM's than the host computer can handle. The equivalent would be that you know you are receiving a rebate check for $100.00 and proceed to spend it three times.

The VM solution of choice was Hyper-V, which with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, you are entitled to run 4 Virtual Machines (running Server 2008) in Hyper-V in addition to your license. I am not sure if this is something you can use a downgraded license for Windows Server 2003 or not.

VM1 is configured as such:

* Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64, running Hyper-V.

- VM1 - Domain Controller, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64, 512MB RAM

- VM2 - Web Server, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, 1GB RAM (was going to use this for Sharepoint, but it also runs TSGateway, OWA, and some other things)

- VM3 - Configuration Manager Server, WSUS Server, Windows Server 2003, 512MB RAM

VM2 is configured as such:

- VM1 - Domain Controller, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64, 512MB RAM

- VM2 - Exchange 2007 Server, Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64, 1GB RAM

- VM3 - RMS Server, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64, 512MB RAM

On a traditional hardware box lives the SQL Server and some other miscellaneous apps.

The golden rule, which I broke, is to allow enough RAM for the VM to function. Honestly, 512MB for Windows Server 2008 isn't much, but all we are running is a DC, DHCP, and a Certificate Authority. It doesn't have to be fast, just work.

The purpose this is important is several things:

1. Disaster recovery really isn't an issue.

With the more conventional hardware not being used, really the key to backup of an entire machine is a single VHD file.

2. Testing becomes much easier

If I am not sure of the impact of an application install, I can create a snapshot before making the changes. If something does blow up, I can revert back to the machine before the snapshot.

3. More systems means applications can run independently of each other

For those who have their home labs in the more traditional way, we understand the SQL/Exchange/Web/SMS server running on a domain controller concept. Now, you can have a seperate DC, and have SMS and Exchange run independent of each other. It also makes configuring towards best practices a little easier.

4. It eliminates the need for more physical hardware, and takes less power.

Environment friendly? Not really. But, this keeps the power bills down and I run less of a risk of throwing a breaker. :) It also means that if 1 good machine can replace 5 or 6 others, that 1 computer needs to be protected. If it goes down, that could be bad news.

So, just in time for 2009, goes virtual. We're not alone in this, as a matter of fact, Microsoft Technet and MSDN websites run virtually. Many businesses are going virtual to cut costs. Needless to say, virtualization is a great technology, and I can't wait to see the advancements it makes.


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