I have a box with 8GB RAM and a Quad Xenon processor and I'm planning to use this as my development server. On this, I want at least 3-4 virtual instances consisting of 1 SQL Server 2008, 1 or 2 SharePoint Server 2007 servers, 1 or 2 misc servers and/or XP/Vista/7 client instances for testing.

Now, since I also do some AD development, and I need SharePoint AD import functionality, I must also have a domain controller.

So my question is, should I set up my box with:


  • Host: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
  • Guests: DC, SQL , SharePoint etc.



  • Host: Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 running as DC with Hyper-V role
  • Guests: SQL, SharePoint etc.

Any thoughts on this?


My personal preference would be to virtualise the DC as well, particularly as it seems its only purpose is to provide the AD services needed by sharepoint. Running active directory doesn't really take alot of resources, especially when your not using it in production, so you could run it as a pretty small VM. By putting it in a VM you get a number of benefits

  • An error or fault in AD will only cause a problem for that VM (plus perhaps any sharepoint servers in that domain) rather than the hyper-V server itself
  • Should you have problems with it, you just need to restore your latest backup, having no effect on your other VM's
  • Simplifies backup
  • Allows you to have multiple DC configurations that can be spun up when required

In my opinion making the Hyper V host a DC, in this situation, is going to complicated things, and tie your development DC to your development host, meaning problems with AD could affect all your development VMs

  • 1
    Agreed. Keep your virtualization layer as thin as possible. Gives you more flexibility. – Trondh Oct 21 '09 at 13:23
  • Thanks. Any thoughts on if I should join the Hyper-V host in to the domain? (Scenario A) – Magnus Oct 22 '09 at 7:11
  • 1
    My thoughts would be no, I would want to completely de-couple my host from the development environemnt, the only use of the host being to host the guests, which can be chopped and changed as you want – Sam Cogan Oct 22 '09 at 8:28

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