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Please ignore licensing questions here.

Is there any technical reason not to "only" use Hyper-V Server (the free version) to run a Hyper-V cluster? From a pure feature comparison it looks like the Hyper-V-Server is as capable as the other servers (while the pre r2 version had missing features) for a pure hyper-v role.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

From a capability standpoint, Hyper-V Server R2 is essentially the same as the Hyper-V role on a Windows Server 2008 R2 installation.

From a "technical limitations" standpoint, going with Hyper-V server is actually better than going with Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard. Hyper-V Server R2 supports up to 1TB of memory and 8 (multi-core) CPUs. Windows Server 2008 Standard supports up to 32GB of memory and 4 (multi-core) CPUs.

If you compare memory/CPUs to Windows Server 2008 Enterprise or Datacenter, then Hyper-V starts to fall a little short. Enterprise supports 2TB memory and 8 CPUs, Datacenter supports 2TB and 64 CPUs.

I know you said to ignore licensing - but the other big factor is the included free guest licenses on Windows 2008 Server. Hyper-V Server includes none. Standard includes 1 free guest OS license, Enterprise includes 4, and Datacenter allows unlimited. You need to do the comparison between purchasing guest OS licenses or purchasing the "upgraded" host OS and using the included licenses.

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Actually licenses are to be ignored because you can always install hyper-v server and "assign" an enterprise license to the server - so there is no difference here. I work in an environment where the server is licensed under SPLA anyway, so licensing can change every month - and want to keep freedom. Hyper-v server allows me to relicense the server "free" should only linux run on it in a given month. So, licensing is non-issue for the selection - actually I will mostly pay for datacenter. –  TomTom May 21 '10 at 15:12
    
@TomTom: are you sure that is true? Based on the Hyper-V FAQ "What sorts of upgrades are permitted?..." I would say it is not. microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/faq.aspx –  MattB May 21 '10 at 15:32
    
It is nto an upgrade, and rules under SPLA are different. Basically I RUN physical hyper-v server, PAY (monthly) physical Datacenter Edition and use the datacenter virtualization rights. This is not an upgrade. Actually in THIS case, the whole EULA is void - relevant for me are the SPUR (Service Provider Usage Rights), a separate 2xx page document for everything licensed under SPLA. –  TomTom May 21 '10 at 15:44
    
I am mostly concerned "falling short" in technical capabilities. But yes, looks like unless I go more than 8 sockets (which I do not) it is identical to datacenter in all the rest. So, I will use it ;) –  TomTom May 21 '10 at 15:45
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Well at least the answer will serve as good info for google users who are finding this question, who most likely won't have SPLA licensing. :) –  MattB May 22 '10 at 15:35

As Sam Cogan mentioned, it will be a core install. Make sure all of your drivers, network card utilities, backup solutions, etc will work just fine on Core before going ahead.

Also be aware that managing Hyper-V Server outside of a domain (aka workgroup) requires a lot of extra configuration (I believe this is the same for Server 2008 Core but only have experience with H-V Core).

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If all you want to do is run Hyper-V then I do not believe that there is any reason not to just use Hyper-V Server. Bear in mind that is a core install, so no GUI just cmd line. Obviously most of the work you do on it will be from the Hyper-V mmc, so that's not too much of an issue.

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Actually the other servers would be enterprise upward core installs also - so that is a total non-difference (who installs full servers in larger scenarios?). I am mostly concerned about things like memory limits etc. coming back and biting me in half a year. –  TomTom May 21 '10 at 11:13

technical reason not to "only" use Hyper-V Server (the free version) to run a Hyper-V cluster? From a pure feature comparison it looks like the Hyper-V-Server is as capable as the other servers (while the pre r2 version had missing features) for a pure hyper-v role.

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Does this actually answer the question? Feels more like just a comment. Can you add some more details to make this more? –  slm Jan 25 '13 at 12:57

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