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Upgrading the lab

Good day to you. Today I’ve done a little write-up about my home lab equipment. I was noticing a few slowdowns once I got around 10 vm’s running on my old “server”, which was an older gen Intel E3 1240 series CPU running 32Gb of DDR3 RAM, SSD cache and spinning HDDs for mass storage. Since the stuff was closing in on 5 years of service I thought it was time to invest in some new hardware.

This time I decided to go AMD and specifically the Threadripper 1920X with 12 cores/24 threads and 64Gb of DDR4 memory. So I doubled the RAM amount and also the RAM speed and the core count tripled with higher clocks as well. All flash this time as well did it’s thing for sure as there are now 5 SSD in a combination of SATA and M2 drives in RAID-0 hosting the VM’s through storage spaces. As far as I know, the only limitation of running Hyper-V on Threadripper is that it can’t do nested virtualization, but I haven’t verified that myself yet as it is a feature I don’t specifically need.

I did not invest in networking at all since I don’t really need more that 1 Gbit externally from the host. Everything else in my network runs a singe NIC except for the NAS, which cannot get to line-speeds anyway despite having 4 ports. I could always get a 10Gbit addon-card later if needed.

So, once the new work horse was built and Hyper-V installed, it was only a matter of settings the constrained kerberos delegations correctly and start migrating machines. Live-migration was out the window due to CPU differences so I had to make the VMs “Migration enabled”. This is done for example with Powershell:

Set-VMProcessor -VMName NameOfVM -CompatibilityForMigrationEnabled 1

Note that the machine has to be turned off for this to run correctly. Once I’ve run the Move-VM command, I just run the above command again with -CompatibilityForMigrationEnabled 0 and the move was completed.

The new machine feels very much faster than the old one and a new install of WS2019 w/ desktop from the MDT took just 4 minutes to finish. I may do some iops testing further down the road but I expect that the numbers are pretty good for consumer/workstation grade hardware.