Server specs for small clients allowing for HyperV

I’ve been doing small business support for around 10 years and am starting to expand my knowledge base to better support my clients. Back in the day, we would order a server with RAID5 and 3 hard drives and be done with it. Now, I’m starting to look into using Hyper V on new server purchases, so I can make use of having 2 VM’s instead of just one physical server. Thoughts and questions I have are as follows:

Let’s assume I’m purchasing a new Dell PowerEdge T340 or T440. Let’s also assume that most of my small business clients have 10-20 users, and storage could be around 1-2TB. Am I considering 1 CPU or 2? Is 32GB RAM plenty? How many cores should I be looking at? Should one of my VM’s be a DC only and the other a file server? Both shouldn’t be DC’s on the same host, right? How much resources does the host need assuming I install desktop experience? Am I sticking with RAID5, but using SSD’s instead or going with RAID6 or 10?

I’ve already decided that the iDrac Enterprise license is well worth the cost.

Anyway, I’ve got several server purchases and swaps coming up in the next several months and I’m looking to standardize many of these questions.


We have probably over 50 servers that we support that fall under this circumstance. Our normal configuration if we know the company is highly unlikely to expand past Hyper-V VMs is the T330. Single 8 core processor, 32G Ram. RAID1 M2 Boot, RAID10 with 2TB SAS 7200 drives for data and a single 4TB drive for Veeam backup and recovery repository. DO NOT do RAID5 or RAID6. performance is crap and rebuild time is also stupid long on a failure. Not worth the small bit of additional storage. Speed with this configuration is very good. This is a most bang for your buck configuration.
We chose 8 (might be 10 core now) core because it is still very common and good performance for cost. Remember, you are purchasing Server 2019 by core so a 10 or 12 core will significantly increase your costs.
According to MS licensing NOTHING can be installed on the host but Hyper-V. So no DC. Also, because it is a member server, be sure to give it at least one public DNS server for lookup so it can check into its RMM before the DC boots. (or fails to boot)
We have chosen to combine the DC and File and print server roles for customers that have less than a couple hundred users. AD just does not use much resources. If the client does need Exchagne or SQL or an application server, those should be separate.
Desktop experience uses very little resources on the hosts. Most of our hosts stay around 3-4 gig of ram. The GUI greatly improves management ability and training of new staff. Command line and PS are great but it is like memorizing a text book vs just using google to find your answers. One is quicker, the other is more scalable.
I agree on IDRAC
30 Staff MSP
5K endpoints
546 servers supported, mostly VMs on almost exclusively Hyper-V (154 Hyper-V host servers)

1 Like

Wow, what a fantastic response, thank you.

What might I expect to pay for that server setup? I think we’ve been paying around 4K or a little less with the 'old" setup. What size M2 for the boot?

**Update, got a quote from my rep and it came in around 5.6K. M2 drives were 240GB or there abouts.

On the MS licensing, I realize you install Hyper V, but I had planned on Windows Server Backup to backup each vm from the host. Does that technically break the MS licensing?

Do you consider a secondary DC at all, or just restore from backup should something happen to the DC? Seems simple enough now that I’m learning more about it.

Thanks again.

My numbers will only be close as this was quoted June 2020 and I am not in procurement or sales .
Our cost was about 3600 at the time. Our pricing is pretty good but your quote still seems high. We sold this to our client for $4950 and still made probably 25% or better. Part of the price is likely the Server 2019 licensing. We only do volume licensing through Ingram Micro and would not have purchased through Dell. cost on Server 2019 with 8 2 core packs $870
We only consider a 2nd DC if we have a 2nd Hyper-v host on site. Otherwise there is no real point to it. In fact doing a full restore of a DC when another DC is present has its own issues.
Technically the WSB does break the MS licensing. But so does Veeam Backup and recovery that we do. the only other choice would be to setup VBR or WSB in the guests and setup VHDX files on the physical host backup drive. I think there is some gray area there as there is nothing serving out services to users.
WSB is good and we used it for many years. However Veeam Backup and Recovery using their VCP program can not be beat. We include the Veeam with our managed services agreement.

  •  3.5" Chassis up to 8 Hot Plug Hard Drives

• 495W Hot-Plug Power Supply
• Intel® Xeon® E-2246G 3.6GHz, 12M cache, 6C/12T, turbo Processor
• 32 GB DDR4 2666 MT/s ECC RAM
• PERC H730P RAID Controller
• BOSS controller card + 240GB m.2 storage for OS (240 GB x2, RAID 1)
• 2TB RAID 10 Storage System for Data (4 x 1TB SATA 7200 rpm)
• 8TB Backup Drive
• iDRAC Enterprise Out-of-Band Management
• Internal DVD-ROM
• 5 Year Next Business Day On-Site Warranty
• 5 Year Keep your Hard Drive
• No Operating System

1 Like

Thanks for the update. Definitely giving me a solid direction to go into.