Howto Run Hyper-V 2016 Core without Domain Controller

Hyper-V offers a free version.  The catch is that it is the core Hyper-V without the Windows interface. That’s fine because none of the other hypervisors such as XenServer or ESXi have a graphical interface running on the hypervisor itself either. The trouble is that Microsoft makes working with Hyper-V without a GUI very tricky, unless you join it to a domain. In my opinion joining a hypervisor to a domain is undesirable. Either you have to run a domain controller as a VM creating a weird chicken-and-egg problem, or alternatively you have to run the domain controller as a separate physical host – who in this day and age wants to do that though?

The solution to all this is to jump through couple extra hoops and run Hyper-V without domain controller.

  1. Pick a management machine.  Let’s call it MANAGE01.  Preferably Windows 10 Pro.  In my tests I didn’t have it joined to a domain.  Add user called Admin with password xyz.
  2. Install Hyper-V 2016 on server.  At the end of the installation create a new user called Admin with password xyz (important that username and password matches exactly with step 1).   Change host name to HYPER-V01  (Optional: enable Remote desktop and enable pings)
  3. On MANAGE01 do these steps:
    1. edit hosts file and add entry HYPER-V01
    2. Open Powershell with admin privileges,
    3. Start-Service WinRM
    4. winrm set winrm/config/client ‘@{TrustedHosts=”HYPER-V01″}’
    5. Stop-Service WinRM
    6. Open Hyper-v Manager, and `connect to server`
    7. Enter HYPER-V01
  4. Done

For multiple hosts the command is

winrm set winrm/config/client '@{TrustedHosts="HYPER-V01,HYPER-V02"}'

To get replication you need to do the following:

  • netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”Open Port 443″ dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=443
  • Install self signed SSL certificates

Password expiry can be a problem when running without DC.  For that reason it’s best to disable password expiry on all hosts