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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Hyper-V remote desktop servers and filservers in Technical; Hi all, What are your views regarding virtualising Remote Desktop Servers and fileservers? One of the options I'm looking at ...
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    Hyper-V remote desktop servers and filservers

    Hi all,

    What are your views regarding virtualising Remote Desktop Servers and fileservers?

    One of the options I'm looking at involves 3 DL380s, upto 2xhex cores Xeons and maybe 96gb of RAM each host Attached to a MSA P2000 SAN/Netgear 4200SAN either through 10gbe or SAS. They will also be running virtualised SIMS, Exchange 2010 ,SCCM, WSUS, Sharepoint.

    I would have specced 2 seperate fileservers and 2 seperate RDS serversrunning as physical machines due to resource requirements but now I am wondering, with the right design, to move these roles into Hyper-V as well?

    Originally the 2x filservers were to be DL380G7 with 4TB of storage each and the 2 RDS servers were to have dual Xeon hex cores with 48gb RAM each. (another design involved this on 2x intel blades) I am mindful of spending too much on the RDS server since the SMT are really not sure how many people will use remote desktop once we go site wireless, i allowed for over 300 concurrent users in my design.

    What do you guys think? Would you virtualise the fileservers( and maybe use fixed VHD for performance) , would you even virtualise RDS servers when there is. High user requirement?

    Cheers

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    glennda's Avatar
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    For file servers I would look to allocate physical blocks (although not sure if Hyper v allows). With regards to RSS is this for thin-clients or what use?

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    MrWu (3rd March 2012)

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    Hi glennda,

    Thank you. In Hyper V i have a choice of using a fixed size non expanding Virtual Hard drive or use passthrough and attach physical drives straight to the guest(although I would lose VM migration)

    The Remote Desktop servers would be used when students BYOD (Bring Your Own Disaster) lol, so when they log on it will have to be through a TS Gateway.

    I have to get my feet back on the ground now the project is rolling. From 2xblade chassis down mega bucks design to a more sensible 3xHyper V hosts running via a SAN. I'm moving a fair few quid towards getting our cabling sorted first, i have unearthed a fair few concerns in that area...

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    glennda's Avatar
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    If you can use physical drive pass through you should be able assign a lun on San which should then be able to be migrated although I've not tried it.

    With regards to RDS @CyberNerd night be able to help. As fair as I can remember he uses physical machines with SSD's. IMHO I would go for multiple lower spec machines then those 2 you have mentioned and get a couple more and load balance from a VM. You can use the VM as the RDS gateway and set it up to auto-load balance across the RDS servers.

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    MrWu (3rd March 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWu View Post
    Would you virtualise the fileservers
    Yes, but only for the hardware independance factor - if you upgrade file servers in a few years time you simply stick the same VM system on that and transfer the fileserver VM over. The file system itself I'd put on dedicated, local storage. File servers don't need instant-switchover fail over, they need a backup server that is capable of acting as the live file server if it has too - you'll get more functionality for your money if you have a large-capacity backup server that can serve files if the main file server suffers an outage.

    would you even virtualise RDS servers when there is.
    I'd treat RDS servers as user workstations, as that is what they really are - they should be able to be deployed from your imaging or remote installation system on dedicated hardware.
    Last edited by ChrisH; 7th March 2012 at 07:51 PM.

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    MrWu (4th March 2012)

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    Thank you both.

    Guess its the tricky area to make a decision on this. I have in my plan for a while with 2 x DL380 g7 dedicated fileservers (not too costly, I have a lot of the hardware on site already..i could cobble up these 2 fileservers with some extra drives). Good fast storage is ideal and i was worried whether virtualising would compromise this.

    i could use physical machines for RDS( on cheaper hardware) Since they are not massively business critical.

    It will be a shame though will end up with more seperate boxes in the server room lol

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    For some strange reason a lot of people think that having a SAN and multiple VM hosts means you have a resilient VM infrastructure - personally I tend to opt for internal storage as much as possible and in many smaller sized deployments it works out pretty well.

    Go with 2 or 3 HP DL380/DL385s G7s use internal high capacity SATA drives for your data storage and then DFS-R for redundancy on your file storage.

    The DL38x series can also quite happily take a OCZ RevoDrive 3 SSD PCI-E card – you could then use that for a lighting fast RDS server.

    The term in Hyper-V you want to look for with your file storage servers is passthrough disks if you want to look direct into the storage without using a VHD. Personaly though the storage overhead won't be noticable in small deployments.

    Although...............NEVER EVER EVER use dynamically expanding VHDs in a production environment - its in the Microsoft best practice.

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    MrWu (5th March 2012)

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Although...............NEVER EVER EVER use dynamically expanding VHDs in a production environment - its in the Microsoft best practice.
    Is it?

    I had read it was best practice for SQL and Exchange but hadnt read it was best practice for everything. I might need to redo my infrastructure,.,.

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    Source: WS08_R2_VHD_Performance_WhitePaper.docx

    Dynamically expanding VHDs are not recommended for virtual machines that run server workloads in a production environment. Fixed VHD is preferred considering it has better performance with committed space allocation so it will not run out of physical backing storage.
    The following graphs show, in Windows Server 2008 R2, the gap between a fixed VHD and a fully populated dynamic or differencing VHD is fairly small. The major performance gap comes from small I/O writes. However, that gap may be widened if the VHD has to expand itself first before taking any user data.
    Virtual Hard Disk technology has continued to improve release-over–release, both in terms of the scenarios supported (like boot from VHD) as well as overall performance. This paper details the significant improvements in dynamically expanding and differencing VHD random performance, the substantially faster fixed sized VHD creation speed, and almost zero percent drop in throughput to large differencing VHD chains due to better caching.

    When choosing the right VHD for your environment you should consider both the access performance and storage needs. With the improvements demonstrated in Windows Server 2008 R2 the choice has less to do with the access speed and more to do with the amount of memory used due to advanced caching.
    Another reason not to use dynamic VHDs is to avoid running out of space unexpectedly.

  14. 2 Thanks to Arthur:

    MrWu (5th March 2012), RabbieBurns (5th March 2012)

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    Thanks, yes I have a Hyper-V server with 8 x 300gb raid 10 running 3 VMs at the moment.

    The finance server is running a fixed VHD (plus a Impero and WSUS on dynamic as a test) still trying to figure out how big fixed VHD to use for WSUS.

    I hope to use DPM 2010 to back up VHDs

    Good point about using local disk storage for virtualisation..depends if the school needs 99.9 uptime. (some might!)

    By the time you add the cost of 2 SANS, 2 fibre switches cost mount up quick.

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    @RabbieBurns. The following article is an interesting read too...

    Why I Dislike Dynamic VHD in Production « Aidan Finn

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