HOW TO: Build a low-buck Hyper-V SP2010 Sandbox

One of the biggest challenges for SP2010 will be getting people to move over to a completely 64 bit architecture. Even those of us who are SharePoint propeller heads don’t necessarily have 64 bit systems at HOME to play on, yet SP2010 not only requires this, but it also demands that even a “sandbox” all-in-one farm live in a domain. For those of us who have thus far gotten away with SP2007 living as single-server (1 server with SQL Express Edition underneath) or all-in-one server (1 server with SQL 2005/2008 underneath) living only in a workgroup, this represents a challenge… but one I’m convinced can be readily answered with VIRTUALIZATION.

So,  in my next few posts I’m going to task myself with building a low-buck Hyper-V server for what will be a 2 VM combo farm when I’m done, and many of you for the first time will have a blueprint for your first home-based domains (instead of workgroups).

Here’s my initial blueprint (which may evolve as I work):
0. VM host: Common low-end workstation: <2GHz CPU (bare minimum), 4 GB RAM w slots for 8 GBeventually; 500 GB HD, or perhaps even SSDs if I can afford them (it’s all about low-buck, remember). As for actual host-level parameters, I’ll be trying to keep this to an absolutely minimum as well: 500MB RAM, 20 GB HD, and see what happens…
 1. VM DC: This will be the bare minimum RAM & HD -wise Domain Controller, but the goal is to completely move this role OFF of the VM which will run the SP2010 all-in-one server. I’ll be trying Server 2003, 500MB RAM, 20 GB HD. SP2010 is NOT supposed to KNOW or care what your company’s domain controller looks like, so I’ll be trying to keep this VM as “slim” as possible yet still meet my self-imposed requirement of separating domain-management roles OFF of the SP2010 server…
2. VM SP2010: This will be whatever’s left on the VMhost: 2 GB RAM, 150 GB HD

NEXT STEP: head down to the local Tiger Direct warehouse (I live only about 7 miles from the warehouse in Naperville, IL), and start checking out low-end workstations which STILL have  64 bit processors AND VT (Virtualization Technology)-enabled BIOS. This is a MUST-HAVE to use Hyper-V, or pretty much any other (I own & LOVE VMWare’s VM Workstation 7) Virtualization technology…

Stay tuned.

-MV

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