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Simple Domain Setup Question

Posted on 2004-09-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hello Experts,

Thanks very much in advance for your patients and understanding while I try to teach myself Server 2003.

My question is this:  How do you setup a domain on Server 2003 and what are the reasons to go that route instead of just using a simple peer-to-peer setup.

KD
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Question by:smokin
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WerewolfTA earned 200 total points
ID: 12029567
 The question as to how to setup a domain on Server 2003 is as simple as getting dns setup correctly (see my post under the link below for more info on that) and then run dcpromo.  However, to do it right and get all your group policies setup, everything secured, and appropriate automation is going to take a serious investment of time on your part.  I did nothing but research and documentation, full-time, for the first 3 months of our AD project.  I spent several more weeks setting everything up in a test environment and testing that.  Even then, the currently working version is not the initial version I set up on our live network.  The more complex the network and requirements are, the more time it's going to take to get it right, and you should expect problems, especially if you give a hoot about security, which you should.  Most of our post-deployment problems, and we were smart and rolled this out in stages so that we were only dealing with individual departments instead of the whole place, have revolved around our security being too tight.  Better to go too tight and then loosen up rather than the other way around, though.  Get yourself a book (I like the Mastering series, Minasi does Server and is good) and some test equipment and expect to spend some time doing this right.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Windows_Server_2003/Q_21056758.html

You're also going to want to pick up the Server 2003 resource kit and deployment kit.  You get those from microsoft's web site.

There are several points to consider when trying to decide between running a domain and a workgroup, but it pretty well comes down to the size of your network.  Workgroups are recommended for around 10 or fewer computers and domains for more than that (although you can run with larger workgroups with varying degrees of success, we had one with up to 50 workstations, which was manageable but barely so and only because we were running 98.  I worked in one that had over 200:  not manageable).  With the workgroup, you get ease of setup and it's easy to manage when it's small.  As it grows, it becomes less manageable with each node added, especially if you use an NT-based workstation rather than 9x.  You get much greater centralized control with a domain, but with extra expense and a time investment.  Use the right tool for the job.  Is your network small?  Is a spider small?  Do you need a high-powered rifle to take it out?  No.  You just stomp it, easy and taken care of.  Can you stomp an elephant?  No, you're going to need that rifle to take care of it.  If you have a large network, you need specialized tools and centralized control and security to keep everything running smoothly.

That's my two cents.  Those are pretty broad questions, not easily answered with a couple of sentences.  If you don't know why you'd want to run a domain over a workgroup, it sounds like you're pretty new to the subject of networking.  That's one of the first things covered in any network+ or networking essentials book.  You may want to study up on that and any other basic topics (the stuff you'd cover for A+ certification) that you don't know before you try to jump into something as complex and easy-to-screw-up as an Active Directory domain.
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