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Workgroup or Domain???

Posted on 2004-04-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I'm setting up a new network for a very small subsidiary (10 people). The mother-company wants to set up a new network as well and they want to setup a global ADS.
They ask me now to set up a workgroup on the server instead of a domain. This I have never done before...what would be the disadvantage of a workgroup vs a domain? Will I still be able to use DHCP and DNS the way I am used to?

Would it not be much easier to setup a domain and become part of the forrest as a child domain?

Please advise!
Question by:EVeuger
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 10757634
Kind a strange they ask you to set up a workgroup. Off course it is better to create a child domain instead of a workgroup. But it might be a problem with synchronisation. They maybe don't want you to become a member of their domain.

In a workgroup you can work with DHCP and DNS. But you have to add all the computers in the same workgroup (with the same name). Also you have to create a DNS naming setup.

Would like to know the outcome of this one...

LVL 11

Accepted Solution

kabaam earned 1500 total points
ID: 10757645
Hi EVeuger,

Workgroups and domains explained
It's important to understand the similarities and differences between domains and workgroups. Both are ways of grouping computers on a network. Unlike workgroups, domains are controlled from a central location and require central authentication before you can join them. Workgroups, in contrast, are much simpler. As long as you know the workgroup name, you can add any computer to a workgroup
happy trails

Expert Comment

ID: 10757677
>>As long as you know the workgroup name, you can add any computer to a workgroup

Which of course makes it a less secure solution then using domains.

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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 10757689
points of interest from previous post:
1. domains are controlled from a central location
   When a computer is part of a domain, the server remembers and keeps track of all the users of that computer.
   when in a workgroup, each and every potential user of the computer neeeds to have a user account setup on all computers.
   With 10 computers it isn't that grand of a job... but as employees and computers grow... major hastle.

2. you know the workgroup name, you can add any computer to a workgroup
   security is a bit limited when any computer can join the network.

You can still share files, folders, printers, and other resources in a workgroup but it is a bit more difficult to do for each share.

Once a domain is up and running, it is much easier to create shares and run adminstratively.  Setting it up is alot more work intensive than a workgroup.

Author Comment

ID: 10757768
Hmmmm...I asked them now for a valid reason (other then mistrust) why we can't use a child domain. In my opinion a trusted domain will only increase communication throughout the global company...

Will I have problems with off-line files and/or DFS in a workgroup?

Thanks for the help so far!
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 10758056
offline files... no
dfs requires acitive directory (domain)
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 10759944
>>As long as you know the workgroup name, you can add any computer to a workgroup

Maximum of computers joining a workgroup = 10, which apparently you are going to be maxed out.

- Info

Author Comment

ID: 10763445
The plot thickens....

They came back with the answer that they have future plans to inlcude us in one global ADS Domain, so no child domains...
So, the workgroup would be  a temporary measure.

They claim that it would not be possible for us to join their domain after we have set up a domain here (with ADS)...is that true? Can our domain not be added simply to theirs? I thought if I demote our server I can stick it in any structure I want to..which functionality would I loose in that case?

I know I can't change the plans of "big mama", but for my client I want to find the best way to start of their subsidiary...
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 10765426
changing domains is possible...it could get messy though.  I have seen a few times where all old domain info was not removed and problems came of it.  If it is done properly.. USUALLY not a problem.
Setting up a domain takes a bit more planning and administration than it would be to set up a workgroup.
In a small 10 person workspace where connectivity to the main ADS domain is still being planned, it makes sense to go with the workgroup for now.  Instead of the admin of creating a domain, working with the domain, disassembling the domain, recreating another domain, and getting the users comfortable with that one.... setting up a workgroup and later down the line joining an already structured domain is usually alot easier and smoother.  Of course this would depend on how much down the line they are planning for the joining of the domain.

>>>Maximum of computers joining a workgroup = 10, which apparently you are going to be maxed out.
I have not heard this, is it true?  I know that XP pro and win 2k pro only allow 10 concurrent connections but this is new to me.
I haven't had a workgroup with more than 10 nodes before but, I thought it would be possible..

Author Comment

ID: 10765501
Thanks Kabaam for the help,

Allthough I am really reluctant to start a workgroup for what seems to be 6 months, I don't see enough arguments against it that might convince the company to elect for a different domain structure.

You get the point and the glory ;-)

Expert Comment

ID: 10765553
>>I have not heard this, is it true?  I know that XP pro and win 2k pro only allow 10 concurrent connections but this is new to me.
Haven't heard that before either...

I've been scourging the net to find an answer to that and I haven't found anything that even implies that there should be a maximum number of computers allowed in a workgroup.

Can you shed a light as to where you have got this information from infotrader?


Expert Comment

ID: 12960274
This should prove to be useful for setting up workgroups and limitations.  You may also run into problems with printers in a workgroup environment if you they are doing some heavy printing.  

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