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Virtualisation! And ye olde question of WHS2011 or WS2012 EssentialsR2


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I've almost finished virtualising my home infrastructure, with everything running on a backbone of Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacentre. This seemed like such a good idea (and it was!) until the premature arrival of my new Son. Now its going rather slowly...!

 

The last device remaining outside of this is my WHS2011.

 

I have P2V'd my WHS2011 and am preparing to make that transition after some testing this weekend.

 

I'm just wondering though if I might take this opportunity to move to Server 2012 R2 (Essentials or otherwise), especially given the EoL of WHS (though I understand we will continue to receive security updates), I've read a lot about this and will probably opt to test Server 2012 R2 first before moving the box over. A lot of thoughts seem to be along the lines of using Server 2012 if you have access to it?

 

I guess I just want a bit of advice on how to setup the drivepool in a virtual environment. I understand that for SMART I'm going to have to buy two copies and run it as in this thread, but what is the best way to set up the disks for the drivepool? Bearing in mind when moving the live system I won't want to be formatting any disks.

 

Should I set up the drivepool on the physical system (Datacentre) and monitor these drives from within WHS2011 (or WHS2012)? Or does Drivepool work better if I pass through the disks (ignoring why this is becoming a deprecated technology for a moment) and run them exclusively inside the VM?

 

From an infrastructure point of view, I don't really care where I run the Drivepool, other than having a preference for it to not be on the physical host directly, but if this is better all round, than I'll do that.

 

Also, I don't yet have an additional network card as I just haven't gotten round to getting this setup whilst I've been testing things. I will ultimately have two seperate physical network interfaces, is it best for performance and reliability to dedicate one to the Drivepool machine?

 

And on the subject of networking I'd ideally like to go down the route of teaming but with dns round robin. Any issues with Drivepool and that? Or is there a better networking solution?

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Well, if you like WHS2011, then Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials is based on the same code, plus Active Directory (domain) functionality.

 

Some of the main changes is better UEFI support, and PXE booting of the restore disk (done through Windows Deployment Services). Additionally, there is added VPN functionality for the website feature. 

 

 

Additionally, if you have 2012R2 Datacenter, and the right license, you have access to AVMA, which means you don't need a license for Essentials, as you already have Virtualization rights for Essentials/Standard/Datacenter.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn303421.aspx

 

 

 

 

As for StableBit Scanner, yes, the best option is to buy 2 licenses (the second license is discounted to $15, though, so there is that). 

 

As for StableBit DrivePool, I'd recommend passing through the physical disk to the VM, and then add them to the pool (if they weren't already).  This way, if you move them to another system or just want to use them on the host, there is no added steps to do anything.  

 

There is some overhead for passing through the disks, but it should be minimal. 

 

 

As for the network, it depends on your setup.  

However, you want to have two NICs at the very minimum.  One dedicated for the host system, to manage and access it, and dedicated NICs for the VMs.

 

However, the internal HyperV Guest NIC is a 10gig adapter. that means that the communication between VMs should be fine and shouldn't have an issue here.  But if you are planning on running a lot of VMs and having a lot of computers accessing the server, then yes, a third, dedicated NIC for the storage server would be a good idea. 

 

As for the networking stuff, StableBit DrivePool shouldn't care. 

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