Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Start-up Sequence for VM’s in a Hyper-V Environment

I’ve had customers phone me several times with regards to powering up their servers after an outage.  If not done properly you can run into a situation whereby you cannot log onto a host to start a VM, because the virtualised DC is still down.  Not good.

So, if me or my clients are recovering from a shutdown I usually do the following:

  1. Power on the Hyper-V server hosting the VM that holds the PDC emulator FSMO role.  The VM should preferably also be a GC and DNS server and refer to itself for either primary or secondary DNS
  2. Sign on to the Hyper-V host using a Local Administrative Account.
  3. Start the VM.
  4. Log out of the Hyper-V host once the VM has booted successfully.
  5. Log into the Hyper-V host using a “proper” Domain Account.
  6. Start any other virtualised DC’s / GC’s you might have.
  7. Ensure you have at least one DC / GC running in each AD site.
  8. Boot up the rest of your environment

Another option (pointed out to me in the comments section), is to set startup delays on your VM’s so that your DC’s starts up before your other servers.  This seems very basic, but it’s amazing how quickly common sense goes out of the window when the pressure is on to get an environment up and running. 

Another way of dealing with this (my preferred way) is to have the PDC FSMO role on a physical machine.  If you go this route also ensure that your physical machine is a GC.