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Best Practices for Using Hyper-V with Windows Small Business Server 2008

Updated: March 10, 2009

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

  • Install a second network adapter

    It is recommended that you install two physical network adapters on your server. Hyper-V uses one network adapter, which it binds to the Microsoft Virtual Network Switch Protocol. You should install a second network adapter to help you remotely manage the system.

  • Use fixed virtual hard disks in a production environment

    When you create a virtual machine, the New Virtual Machine Wizard creates a dynamically expanding virtual hard disk by default. However, you should not use this virtual hard disk in a Windows SBS 2008 virtual environment, because some features and applications do not support virtual hard disks of this type. Instead, you should either create a fixed virtual hard disk for use by the virtual machine, or you should dedicate an entire hard disk drive for this purpose.

    Additionally, fixed virtual hard disk performance is faster, the file system is less likely to fragment, and it is easier to manage space on the physical hard disk.


You should always defragment a physical hard disk before you create a virtual hard disk.


For instructions about how to create a virtual hard disk, see “Create Virtual Hard Disks” at the Microsoft Web site (

  • Do not join the instance of Windows Server 2008 that is running on the parent partition to the Windows SBS 2008 domain.

    If you install the primary and second servers on virtual machines on a single physical computer, and you join the instance of Windows Server 2008 that is running on the parent partition to the Windows SBS 2008 domain, a cyclic dependency is created between the parent and child partitions. If this occurs, the domain controller on the virtual machine is unavailable, and it can become more difficult to manage the parent operating system. However, you can mitigate this issue if you have an additional Active Directory domain controller on a different physical computer in the domain. In this case, you can join the parent partition to the domain.

  • Configure domain controllers for optimal performance

    You can run an Active Directory domain controller in a Hyper-V virtual machine. The following best practices apply:

    • Never save state in a domain controller. Doing so can cause synchronization issues in the domain if you revert to the saved state.

    • Do not pause a domain controller virtual machine for long periods of time. Doing so can adversely impact replication. Instead, shut down a domain controller when necessary.

    • Do not take snapshots of a domain controller. Microsoft does not support this functionality in these scenarios.

  • Back up the parent and child partitions

    To ensure that you can fully restore your virtualized server in the event of disaster, you should use Windows Server 2008 Backup to back up the parent and child partitions. For more information, see “Backup and Recovery” at the Microsoft Web site (

  • Do not back up or restore different partitions at the same time

    Do not run a Backup or Restore process in the parent partition and in a child partition at the same time. Doing so causes a conflict when each instance tries to lock the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer.