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Is it a very bad idea if I want to give several responsibilities to a single server?

The setup: the server is a VM (VirtualBox) - 80GB HDD, 4GB RAM, two cores x 3.4GHz (i7), all can be more if needed. I want to make it a domain controller and to use it for web site hosting and additionally for my TFS server, possibly Lync server and other (stupid) srvers.

As you may already suppose it is primarily for learning purposes, it will not be online all the time and no big workload is expected. May be up to 50 people will view the site and up to 4 will work with the TFS server, but this will be the absolute peak. The website itself does not have any complicated logic or queries, but is not very secure either.


After all it seems that it is a very bad idea to combine things, even for basic usage. Thanks a lot for the help.

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3 Answers

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I can't tell if your purposes are entirely educational or if you need to get real-world business performance out of these machines. If this is anything but 100% educational with dummy data, I'm going to suggest strongly that you don't do it. To put a public website up, which is by your own admission "not very secure", on a domain controller is quite reckless.

To speak more generically about your situation, many, if not most, services and applications will play nicely with one another if they have sufficient resources. There are often no technical reasons why they can't cohabitate peacefully. The issues arise when you need to do work on service A and it affects services B, C, D, etc., simply for the fact that it's on the same box. In a work environment, it's unacceptable to tell your users that email will be inaccessible because your TFS server requires a reboot. In the end, everyone loses in that type of setup.

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Ok, great. The website will be viewed by colleagues at work and most of the times when I tell them to check it out; there is no problem if it is down for a minute, hour, a day or something else. On the other side the TFS will not be needed all the time too. My main concerns were that the resources will not be enough if I say check out my site and 50 people go and check it. The other thing is bots - the website will not be SE optimized as it is not needed, but I am afraid that some malicious bots will still try to corrupt it and also corrupt the entire server (although I will make snapshots). –  Ivan Stefanov May 8 '12 at 20:01
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I think you're going to see some serious resource contention if you put Lync and TFS on the same box. You'll need to bolster your numbers a bit for them to coexist. Regardless of whether or not you do SEO, bots will most definitely attempt to wreak havoc on your site. They don't search out websites by name, they just poke every public IP:port until they find something that's vulnerable. It really sounds like your site should not be open to the public at all. –  pk. May 8 '12 at 20:09
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Is there any reason you can not use multiple virtual machines?

That way you can isolate the domain controller (which you want really secure) in a separate VM and the web server (with I assume public hosting) in another VM. Other roles could be in yet more VMs, or shared. E.g. I see no problem with a a lightly used file server and print server in one server/VM, but the DC and the public web server should not be shared.

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The website itself does not have any complicated logic or queries, but is not very secure either. Then its debatable if it should be online at all (an insecure server on the web is a public nuisance these days). I certainly wouldn't combine it with a domain controller role.

If you must go ahead, separating the roles with virtualisation might be your friend here, allowing you to only expose the virtual guests that need to be online. Not to mention the possibility of publishing them through something like a Forefront TMG box to further reduce the risk.

I'd also suggest virtualisation as the way forward for coping with this much load on one physical system; it would allow you to limit the resources available to various services so they don't starve the other roles you want to have running... And again, making it easy to shut down things that aren't needed in order to free up resources for services that are busy.

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