re: how to set up a network domain

GMartin
GMartin used Ask the Experts™
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Hi Everyone:

      Basically, my question has a few parts to it, but, all tie into one topic.  First, what is a network domain? Secondly, under what circumstances would one be setup?  And, finally, how is a network domain setup?  

      Any thoughts on getting started with a network domain will greatly be appreciated.  Thanks in advance for any input on this question.

      George
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Commented:
I run a domain controller (DC) on my network of only three computers.  I've only had my setup running for about a year, but as a fellow novice, here's where to start.

Q1:
The DC takes care of authenicating users and computers which means in most cases that you need only type a usr & pwd once.

Q2:
It might be a good idea to think about setting up a domain if you either have a lot of resources and permissions to track or a lot of users (especially changing users).  For instance, if you have a file server that has some music, videos, documents, etc on it and would like to allow some people to have access to different areas, you set the permissions and then they can access those files from any computer they log onto.  If you make use of roaming profiles, this means less downtime for you and transparent transitions for your users.

Q3:
My DC is set up on a 450AMD w/ 256mb and runs fair.  I wouldn't install on a machine slower than 1.0gHz if you have a chance.  Other than that, allow around 3gig for the OS and misc programs, and get yourself a copy of Windows 2000 Server (or Advanced Server or Datacenter).  There are wizards to set up active directory, dns, wins, routing, dhcp, etc.

If you decide to take the perverbial plunge, I have a great 2k server book to recommend too.

Good Luck
-- West

Commented:
Domain has two meanings:

In Microsoft-speak, it refers to a Windows Security Domain, a group of PCs which are in a "network" with each other. At the most basic level, peer-to-peer (no "server"), the domain is known as a "Workgroup". Using the NetBEUI protocol, just naming the PCs and assigning them all to the same Workgroup will create a Domain and the PCs can share resources with each other.

Still in Microsoft, when graduating to a Server network, one Server (quite possibly the only Server in that network, although you can often have multiple Servers in a network) is designated the Primary Domain Controller (PDC). With additional Servers, sometimes afar off, you could have Backup Domain Controllers (BDC). The PCC is where users and groups are setup, and passwords and security are managed from there for the network.

In the newer Microsoft networks the PDC has been replaced by Active Directory Services, but the concept of a "Domain" remains the same.

Confusion easily creeps in when you consider that the Internet also speaks of Domains, although the reference here is to Internet Domains, such as yahoo.com, experts-exchange.com, etc.

Now that Microsoft Domains, with the Active Directory Services, use DNS (Domain Name Server) instead of WINS (the old Windows Internet Name Service), you have the complication of juggling Microsoft Domains and Internet Domains.

I hope that the issue you have at hand does not take you into those waters, from the tone and thrust of your question, I infer that you are setting up a basic beginning network, in which case you may roll back to paragraph one.
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Commented:
Substitute PDC for PCC in the paragraph starting with "Still in Microsoft..."

Author

Commented:
Hi,

     I am enjoying reading everyone's feedback so far.
I am seeing references being made DNS and WINS configuration.  What is the difference between DNS and WINS?

      Any follow-up on this posted question will greatly be appreciated.

      Thank you.

      George
JJ2Technical Manager

Commented:
DNS is used to resolve domain names (such as www.microsoft.com) to IP address. WINS is used to resolve NetBIOS names (such as mailserver) on Microsoft networks to IP address. WINS is only available on Windows NT, 2000 and .NET servers and is useless for non-Microsoft clients. WINS is only needed for pre-Windows 2000 systems since Windows 2000, XP and .NET systems all use Active Directory (which is DNS based) instead of WINS even to resolve NetBIOS names.

source:http://searchwin2000.techtarget.com/ateQuestionNResponse/0,289625,sid1_cid486985_tax285114,00.html

Author

Commented:
Hi,

      Thank you so much for the follow up.  Just one more thing, would you mind discussing the difference between domain names and NetBIOS names?  I am almost ready to provide closure to this question and award the points accordingly.

       Once again, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights.  I am thoroughly enjoying reading everyone's comments.  

       Thank you.

       George
JJ2Technical Manager

Commented:
Q.  What is a NetBIOS name?

A.  NetBIOS names are given to every Windows computer on a network to  allow each computer to distinguish itself from others.  The Institute has rough guidelines regarding which names should be allocated for Private computers, i.e. Notebooks.  Normally, the NetBIOS name should be set to the main users Unix username for accountability.  It should be noted that NetBIOS names can be different to DNS/IP names.
source:http://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/help/faqs/windows/NetBIOS%20names,%20Workgroups%20and%20Domains.shtml

Q.  What is a Domain name?

A.  A name that identifies one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL http://www.pcwebopedia.com/index.html, the domain name is pcwebopedia.com.
Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain (TLD) it belongs to. There are only a limited number of such domains. For example:

gov - Government agencies
edu - Educational institutions
org - Organizations (nonprofit)
mil - Military
com - commercial business
net - Network organizations
ca - Canada
th - Thailand
Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, every Web server requires a Domain Name System (DNS) server to translate domain names into IP addresses.
source:http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/domain_name.html

Commented:
Please refer to my comment above regarding potential confusion between two definitions of "domain name". JJ2 only defines the Internet domains, ie. "so-and-so.com", not to be confused with Windows security domains, which may or may not coincide with Internet domain names.

If you are setting up a Windows network, and your NT or Win2K server is not necessarily an Internet server, which is usually the case in small networks, you would do better, IMHO, to name your "domain" something short and descriptive relative to the ownership and use of the server rather than get involved in .com, .org, etc.

Author

Commented:
Hi,

      Before I begin, I sincerely want to thank everyone for the excellent feedback.  Everyone deserves the points here.  With this point in mind, it became extremely difficult in deciding the appropriate allocation of points.  After careful consideration, I decided to direct the points to Iroy for this person's thorough breakdown and discussion of the technical network terms.  I particularly liked the "examples" given by everyone in helping to make their thoughts clearer.

        Thanks again to everyone.  Great job here!!!!

        George

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