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Old 01-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #1
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Default Server questions

I just became the server admin (SA) at my work and really don't have much experience (working on getting training but as of now, none). So I had a few questions i was hoping someone here could help me with.

We currently have a network of around 20 computers (relatively small, including a server machine) and use the server computer/domain for file sharing. We have to get our network certified and part of that is establishing a second server computer at a different site that we can use if the normal one blows up or something. Our idea is to get a second computer and set it up with the current computer such that they are mirror images of each other with the idea that if one goes out, we will still have our data but also will still be able to access the server for everything and perform as close to normal as possible (thus a simple data backup device won't work). The current computer has Windows server 2003 on it. The SA before me ordered a second server computer but got athlon processors and a mobo that only supports opteron. They were planning on simply using Windows XP 64-bit on the second server computer. Here are my questions:

1. Can you run a server off of XP 64-bit?
2. What kind of functionality will you lose as compared to Server 2003?
3. Will there be a problem having one computer as server 2003 and the other XP 64-bit? (seeing as how it's Microsoft, I'm guessing yes)
4. Will our idea of two mirror image machines such that if one fails, we can keep working off of the second one, even work?
5. Since i have to get new processors and a mobo for the second server machine, what is the difference between server cpu's and regular cpu's? Any recommendations?

Really appreciate any help I can get.
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Server questions

1. What kind of server are you talking about running?
2. Refer to first question.
3. No it will work together. I have 64 bit Vista connected to a Server 2003 domain. Works fine.
4. Why don't you just make it a BDC? Then backup all of your data and cycles the tapes/CD's every week to your offsite location.
5. Server hardware is specifically tuned for performance and for being left on for months at a stretch. Also, since the server will be servicing a number of clients, a server's CPU is tuned for multi connections and load balancing. Basically, a server's CPU is more 'equipped' to handle huge loads.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Server questions

1. I don't really know how to answer your question besides that it's a work server that is used exclusively for file sharing and printers. If you need other info, let me know what type of things you're looking for.

3. What I was wondering about is setting up a domain using XP, having XP run the domain. Will that work?

4. After figuring out what a BDC was, isn't that not available on Server 2003 sinc eit uses active directory instead? That's what Wiki said but the basic idea could still be used right?

5. Thanks, that clears up a lot.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Server questions

1. If you are wanting to run a file/print server in a corporate environment then I highly suggest using a Server OS. I believe there is a 10 user limit with XP and that could hinder you in the future if you don't already have 10 people that would be accessing the file server.

3. You cannot setup a Domain on XP. You need to have a Server OS to setup a domain. You can add a XP machine to a Domain but you will need a server to be the Domain Controller.

When you set up Server 2003 you have to run dcpromo to make it a Domain Controller. This promotes the machine and allows you to set up a Domain for your network. Then you use Active Directory to manage that Domain by using user and group permissions and policies.

To be honest it is not going to be an easy task at all if you know nothing of how to set one up. There can be a lot of troubleshooting involved and unless you understand how a network works and how the Server works you are going to be ripping your hair out.

My suggestion is to get a book and study up on it. If you get a kit like THIS then it will walk you through how to set all of this stuff up. I also highly recommend THIS book, as it is a little bit easier to understand if you are new to this.

If you are going to be the Sys Admin for your company then studying and learning as much as you can on networking and Server 2003 (since that is what you are using), because you will need it. Granted your network isn't all that intricate, but you need to have a foundation of knowledge first before you can start to build from it.

4. I apologize I am used to using that acronym. You can still set up a similar situation in Server 2003. You just set it up as a Secondary Domain Controller.

Good luck to you.
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