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I want to set up a File Server role on a Hyper-V VM on a Windows 2012 Server host. What would be the best way to set up the system in terms of handling the underlying storage disk?

The scenario's I am concerned about listed below:

If I add a physical disk to the VM, what happens if the host or VM using it dies irrecoverably?

  • Will all the data still be intact and can it just be added to another VM with all data intact and accessible?

  • Can it be used in a completely different host machine with all data intact and accessible?

If I add a virtual disk, created on the host, to a VM, what happens if the host or VM managing it dies irrecoverably?

  • Will all the data still be intact and can it just be attached to another VM with all data intact and accessible?

  • Can the virtual disk be used in a completely different host machine with all data intact and accessible?

From this article I understand that under normal circumstances, moving a virtual disk should be a trivial: Copying and moving virtual disks

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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Recoverability will be strongly influenced by the underlying storage subsystem. Use a VHD file for the VM. There's no performance advantage to passing through the disk itself to the VM and you're way ahead in manageability, flexibility, disaster recovery and backup with the VHD.

If you store the VHDs on reliable storage (a file server cluster, a SAN, etc.) then you'll be able to recreate the VM no matter what happens to the Hyper-V host. It literally won't matter if the host catches on fire and melts. If you store the VM configuration there, too, you wouldn't even have to recreate the VM.

If you store the VM and its VHDs on local storage within the Hyper-V host, then what happens when the host dies depends a lot on whether it takes the disks with it when it dies. A power surge that fries the motherboard may also fry the disks. Then you've lost everything since the last backup.

If you don't have reliable storage of some kind, then look at Hyper-V Replica for your file server VM. Use another host to guard against the failure of the primary host.

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