Tag: Hyper-V Lab

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Intel NUC Windows Server

Building a Windows Server Lab with an Intel NUC

With the release of Windows Server 2019, which includes a ton of Hybrid Cloud integration features, it was time to build a new lab environment. The plan is to create a lab and demo environment for my presentations and workshops. Until today, I was still using my hardware from 2011, which was built from Cisco C200 and HPE ProLiant servers. This was, more or less, datacenter grade hardware, it was using a lot of electricity and made a lot of noise. Not really the thing for a home lab on your desk. With some pretty good deals out there, I decided to buy a brand-new Intel NUC. NUC stands for Next Unit of Computing, which is a small, light, cheap and not very noisy computer, which gives you the latest Intel CPUs and ports. Mostly used as desktop or media computers. However, the price and the features, are also making it a great option for a lab running Hyper-V.

If I look at the hardware our customers are using today, there is not really a good way to build a cheap home lab based on datacenter hardware. And with my workloads mostly running in Azure anyway, the Intel NUC seems to be a great option. For most of my demos a single server running Hyper-V should be enough. For demos on Storage Spaces Direct or Clustering I can still use Azure with Nested Virtualization.

Intel NUC Windows Server LAB

I decided to get an Intel NUC NUC8i7BEH – Bean Canyon with the following specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8559U
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB M.2 Samsung 970 EVO
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • Gigabit LAN
  • USB-A and USB-C ports
  • Thunderbolt 3 port

Unfortunately, the Intel NUC is limited to 32GB of RAM and this version does not have a TPM chip. The good thing, it runs Windows Server 2019 and Windows Admin Center just fine. So far I don’t have any issues, except that there are some missing drivers for Windows Server 2019. We will see how it works out in the next couple of months.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.



Building a new Hyper-V Private Cloud Lab

Two years ago I created my first real IT Lab with some HP ProLiant ML110 G5. I used this in the past years to test new products and projects. The Lab at this time was very limited, no storage, no cluster, not much RAM and weak CPU performance. Not much help if you work a lot with Hyper-V Clusters and System Center products.

I was looking around for some time now to find a cheap offer for new servers. In the last week I found a offer from Cisco with c200 M2 servers and I couldn’t resist to buy two of the for my Hyper-V Cluster nodes. The offer was a special deal which was even cheaper than building the servers by my own, at this point thanks to my former employer Atlantis Informatik AG.

Now what I will do is creating a new Hyper-V Cluster friendly environment with two Cisco C200 M2 Hyper-V nodes, one HP ML110 G5 as Storage Server and one of my old HP ML110 G5 servers as Hyper-V Server which all my Management servers and Active Directory will run on.

Lab Overview

If you want to know more about Hardware you can use for a Hyper-V Lab I recommend the posts of Carsten Rachfahl on hyper-v-server.de (german).

Hardware Configuration

Hyper-V nodes:

cisco c200 m2

2x Cisco C200 M2 – Intel Xeon 5620 2.4GHz Quad Core, 16GB RAM, Remote Management, IPMI, 6 Networkports

Storage Server:

ml110g5

1x HP ProLiant ML110 G5 – Intel Xeon E3110 3.0 GHz Dual Core, 8GB RAM, 4x 500GB Raid 10, 3 Networkports

Management Hyper-V node:

ml110g5

1x HP ProLiant ML110 G5 – Intel Xeon E3110 3.0 GHz Dual Core, 8GB RAM