I have been working as System Administrators since 2003. I recently started working as a FreeLancer and was amazed to find out that very few people are taking full advantage of their Windows Server Machines.
Microsoft Windows Server comes with some great free tools that can increase the ROI on your investment.
In this article I will be discussing briefly three of those features that I have found useful for me.
1.Microsoft Share point Foundation Server
In Windows 2003 Server there was a little known service called Windows SharePoint Services, it was free and was an excellent tool for document management. Back then Microsoft provided many free templates that could also be used with it.
Now the upgraded version of this tool is called Sharepoint Foundation Server. Small organizations can use this for document management and workflow designs.
2.Active Directory Rights Management Server
AD-RMS is a cool and easy way to encrypt data. The problem that I always had with encrypting files was that there was no central management of encryption keys (I am talking about free software). With AD –RMS you can encrypt MS-Office files and PDF files and decide which users will have access to it.
The best thing about this software can be illustrated by this hypothetical situation that I love to tell to my clients
“Suppose there is a director of your company or say your HR Manager he has access to all those sensitive data which he needs to complete his job and one day he gets fired you don’t want him to take all those sensitive data with him. You cannot do anything about it as all those files were in his laptop and you don’t know that he have copies of it right? If you have RMS this is not an issue.
With RMS every time a protected file is opened the user is first authenticated from the AD-RMS server and if you want to revoke the access of you HR manager just revoke his access rights from the server and now he cannot open any of those files.”
Great feature? Best of all its free.
I think most of you will be familiar with Hyper-V but the point I would like to discuss is the licensing cost. I know the software is free, but not everyone knows that you can install multiple copies of an OS for free in Hyper-V. Let me explain what I mean.
If you buy a Windows 2008 Server Enterprise License you can install four copies of this software on virtual machines, and if you buy Windows 2008 Data Center Edition you can install unlimited copies in virtual machine as long as they all are on the same physical machine.
Now suppose that Windows 2008 standard license cost you 1000$ and enterprise cost you 4000$ you can buy one enterprise license and install four windows 2008 machines in virtual environment.
Get my point?
These were just the three common features that when I discuss with my clients get a great response. I hope you find this article useful.