right now, we have old physical servers for domain, DHCP, file share and SQL. Management decided to virtualize all services to save costs.  I like to build a small cluster with 2 Hyper-V servers and Synology shared storage. As failover cluster requires domain controller I am on the fence, where to install DC:

  • on old or buy 2 new servers

  • on Hyper-V servers

  • as virtual machine

What do you think?


Virtual Domain Controller (DC) is a way to go!


P.S. Two of them with enabled DC replication, actually.



You can easily run DC as VM on Hyper-V nodes, just run it as a local and not clustered VM. Separate servers may be the best option, if you don’t mind expenses and additional management.

The option with DC role installation directly on host with Hyper-V is against best practices and cannot be recommended. Some explanation here -


  • Why local VM and not clustered? I strongly disagree.
    – Krackout
    Aug 23 '20 at 15:22
  • 2
    Because with ONE cluster, what is the benefit of clustering it? Per specs you need 2 DC's ANYWAY - and this way they can also start when there is a problem with the cluster for whatever reason. At least the domain (DHCP, DNS) comes up. I do not need to cluster it because I have (as per MS guidelines) multiple DC anyway. And you can not have multiple DC and higher availability WITH ONE STORAGE BACKEND. Read my answer. Your disagreement is against uptime guidelines.
    – TomTom
    Aug 23 '20 at 16:19

As failover cluster requires domain controller I am on the fence, where to install DC:


Install 2 DC (as you should anyway - one dc is one thing: RECKLESS) on LOCAL storage. YOu should have smal llocal storage anyway to boot up the machines, put the DC there. A DC image on server core (yes, that works) is quite small.

I have this setup for our development. My Hyper-V machines boot from local 128gb SATA-DOM's. SUperMicro sort os super small USB stick thingy that fits into a SATA slot (so no usb). They are rated 3 writes per day, so good enough for running windows - and I have plenty of space for 2 dc's on each.

There is no reason to put that onto the shared storage and this totally avoids the question. AND gives you significantly better uptime.

  • 2
    We are doing the similar thing in our environment.2 DCs on local storage.This setup works great. We have Dell R640 with Boss card for OS and DCs.
    – Stuka
    Aug 23 '20 at 16:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.