Thursday 27 March 2014

A Hyper-V Hardware and Software Configuration Guide

We install iDRAC Enterprise, iLO Advanced, or Intel RMM in the server for out-of-band KVM over IP management. Of course one needs to set a static IP address to that unit in order to gain access when DHCP goes offline. :)

The host should have a static IP address. We add the host to DNS so we can resolve the name while the guest DC is online.

We do _not_ join the guest's domain. We use John Howard's HVRemote to configure the host and a desktop OS based machine on the domain that has RSAT installed to manage that host. The Windows desktop OS machine or VM will also have a static IP address.

We plug a bootable USB flash drive with the host OS installer files, drivers, and management utilities into the host and _leave it there_ for the host's entire life. With the KVM over IP we are able to re-install the host OS and reconfigure it in short order if there is a need.

  • System Configuration
    • BIOS: Disable C3/C6 States
    • Fastest GHz on CPU over number of Cores
    • Correct memory speed for that CPU
    • 1 memory stick per channel (16GB sticks are not that expensive anymore)
    • Populate slot 0 on _all_ memory channels with same stick size for best performance
    • Hardware RAID on Chip with 1GB of Non-Volatile or flash backed cache
    • RAID 6 across (8) 10K SAS (blog post on why we only use SAS) spindles minimum
    • Two Logical Drives set up on RAID Controller
      • 90GB for host OS
      • Balance to VHDX files
    • A minimum of two (2) Intel Gigabit Server NICs
      • Port 0 on both teamed for management
      • Port 1+ on both teamed for exclusive vSwitch usage

We set a static page file of 4,192MB on the system partition as one of our first steps. A Hyper-V Role only server should never need the swap file. That would just kill the system.

We do not use Broadcom NICs. They get disabled in the BIOS.

We always have a standalone DC in a cluster setting. Some will forgo such a step but that DC can be critical to keeping time on the domain for guest OS DCs and especially high load SQL, Exchange, and other data driven Line-of-Business applications. It can also be critical to bringing a cluster back online of something goes awry.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
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