My new Hyper-V Rig

We all want new toys, right? That excitement about opening the gifts … wondering what was inside … hoping for exactly what you want … the thrill of seeing the new toy. I remember my birthday and Christmas of many prior years; the excitement of the wrapped packages; the adrenaline as the wrappings are pulled off; the joy on my face as the new thing was in my hands. Those are the same feelings that we get into today. While I may be the one buying those gifts, the joy of opening everything I get from the places I order from.

In January, I read a blog entry (http://www.expta.com/2012/01/blistering-fast-windows-server-parts.html) by Jeff Guillet (pronounced GEE-yay for all of you) about his new Hyper-V server rig for his home lab. Reading through, I was really interested in building my own rig. I have my own machine right now. It has a Quad core processor with 12 GB of RAM and running Windows Server 2008 R2 from my TechNet licensing. This has allowed me to do some testing of systems like Exchange 2010, SQL Server 2005 and 2008, Windows Server, client virtual machines, and Windows Home Server. This rig has been pretty good at providing me what I need for testing but I have to run specific machines at differing times because of the processor and memory restrictions. I also have learned how to run machines on smaller footprints; something I can't tell is a good or bad thing.

Since reading this great article, I started in on my own certification path via the "60 Days to MCSE". In this endeavor, I realized that my current Hyper-V host was not large enough to use for this. I sat down with Rick Smith (@slegsmith) from my IT team at my day job to discuss what Jeff put together. The goal of this system was to utilize as much newer technology, have a minimum of 32GB of memory for virtual machines, and responsive drives for the virtual machines as well. In the end, Rick came up with some great hardware. I was lucky enough to have a case and power supply already but had to get motherboard, CPU, memory, and storage drives. Here is the order I made:

Part Name Quan Price Part Total
CPU Intel Core i5-2500 3.3 GHz 6 MB Cache Socket LGA1155 Processor 1 $209 $209
MB ASUS LGA 1155 - Z68 - PCIe 3.0 and UEFI BIOS Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2200 LGA 1155 Motherboards P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 1 $201 $201
RAM Komputerbay 32GB ( 4 X 8GB ) DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz DIMM with Low Profile Heatspreaders 240-Pin Dual / Quad Channel RAM Desktop Memory KIT 9-9-9-24 XMP ready 1 $179 $179
SSD Samsung 830-Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch MZ-7PC128B 2 $129 $258
HDD Western Digital Velociraptor 600 GB SATA III 10000 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM 3.5 Inch Desktop Hard Drive - WD6000HLHX 3 $209 $627
  Pricing as of 6/21/12   Total $1474

I finally got this system together in late May and I fell totally in love with this rig. I was able to put it all together and start building it with Windows Server 2008 R2 as a Hyper-V host. I could have built it with a "core" install but I have run into issues in management of "core" installs in the past. Once everything was installed, I was very impressed with the performance. To verify my person observations, I ran some performance tunes and got the following results:

Storage Performance Statistics

The Samsung SSD Mirror RAID statistics were:

SSDs-WS2008R2

The Velociraptor statistics were:

Velociraptor-WS2008R2

Memory and CPU Statistics

Memory Reads

CPU

Clockspeed

In MHz

Product

 

Memory Type

Memory Timing

Memory Read
in MB/s

Core i7-3960X Extreme

3300

Intel DX79SI

X79

Quad DDR3-1600

9-9-9-24 CR2

16788

Core i7-2600

3400

Asus P8P67

P67

Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

16252

Core i5-2500

3500

My system

Z68 Int.

Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR2

15813

FX-6100

3300

Asus Sabertooth 990FX

AMD990FX

Dual DDR3-1866

9-9-9-24 CR1

14202

Core i7-990X Extreme

3466

Intel DX58SO2

X58

Triple DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

14174

 
Memory Writes

CPU

Clockspeed

In MHz

Product

 

Memory Type

Memory Timing

Memory Read in MB/s

Core i7-2600

3400

Asus P8P67

P67

Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

18438

Core i5-2500

3500

My system

Z68 Int.

Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR2

18134

Core i7-3960X Extreme

3300

Intel DX79SI

X79

Quad DDR3-1600

9-9-9-24 CR2

15095

Core i7-990X Extreme

3466

Intel DX58SO2

X58

Triple DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

12544

Core i7-965 Extreme

3200

ASUS P6T Deluxe

X58

Triple DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

12064

 

CPU ZLib

CPU

Clockspeed

In MHz

Product

 

Memory Type

Memory Timing

Calc Memory in MB/s

4x Core i7-965 Extreme HT

3200

ASUS P6T Deluxe

X58

Triple DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

214.2

6x Phenom II X6 1055T

2800

Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5

AMD790FX

Unganged Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

208.2

Core i5-2500

3500

My system

Z68 Int.

Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR2

198.8

8x Xeon L5320

1866

Intel S5000VCL

i5000V

Dual DDR2-533FB

4-4-4-12

180.5

6x FX-6100

3300

Asus Sabertooth 990FX

AMD990FX

Dual DDR3-1866

9-9-9-24 CR1

176.3

 

CPU Queen

CPU

Clockspeed

In MHz

Product

 

Memory Type

Memory Timing

Score

8x Xeon E5462

2800

Intel S5400SF

i5000V

Quad DDR2-640FB

5-5-5-15

41694

4x Core i7-965 Extreme HT

3200

ASUS P6T Deluxe

X58

Triple DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

37793

Core i5-2500

3382

My system

Z68 Int.

Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR2

32064

8x Opteron 2378

2400

Tyan Thunder n3600R

i5000V

Dual DDR2-533FB

6-6-6-18 CR1

30782

6x Phenom II X6 1055T

2800

Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5

AMD790FX

Unganged Dual DDR3-1333

9-9-9-24 CR1

27770

 

 

The tools I used were:

I had started to build my SCCM environment but ran into time constraints before I was able to go to MS TechEd. After I returned home, I reinstalled the OS with Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate and just have to say "WOW!" Instead of running the 3 Velociraptors in a RAID or as separate drives, as I had with my initial install of Windows 2008 R2, I created a storage pool across the 3 drives with parity. This makes it act as a RAID but not using a RAID card and the through put was amazing; my IOPs were through the roof. Here are the different HDD Tune Pro results:

The Samsung SSD Mirror RAID statistics were:

  SSDs-WS2012

The Velociraptor statistics were:

  StoragePool-WS2012

Clearly, the storage pool is the way to go for me in this build. I will blog again about how it is working in a few weeks.

Jared