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Trying to configure network... Do i need a domain controller?

Posted on 2005-05-03
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I am putting together a network of about 8 workstations and a server.   I want them to be on a domain though.  My question is: should I have  more than 1 server.  I was reading a book that said I should have 3 servers: 1 for my domain controller and NS1, one for my file server and NS2, and one for my web server and email server.  for a network my size do i need this.  keepingf in mind I will be running 8 workstations 4 network printers, a full time vpn to the other office.  If I do need the extra servers.  my next question is do they need to be as good as my file server was going to be?  I bought a dell 1425  thought ide use that for the domain controller, I got it real cheap.  But I might not keep it.   Im very very lost at this point.  been trying to figure out what to do all day going back and forth.  I'm sure someone just knows the right thing?????
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Question by:vekter
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924369
Hi vekter,

are you going to be hosting your own mail server or web server?

If no, then you will only need 1 server

If yes to either or both, then you could do it with 1 server, but it is better to use 2.

Personally, i like the security of 2 servers, they can share tasks and limit downtime - but if it isnt affordable (or necessary) then there isnt much point at all

For your setup, 1 server should be fine - even if you are running exchange

let us know more about your network and what you want to do

thanks

-red
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924376
I plan to run email and a website yes, but I have a little dual 2.2 xeon that i bought for 300 bucks, that when Im all done with everything else I figured Ide use for a email and web server.  Is it okay to run the domain controller and fileserver and nameserver all on 1 machine??? or should they be split up onto 2 machines plus the webserver.  the webserver will be in a dmz so it cant do any of that stuff right?
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924386
this is the server I just bought.... I bought 2 of these.... the first one has 2 160 gb sata drives, the second has 3 73 gb scsi drives.  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5771336399&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&rd=1
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924393
For only 8 users DC and File server and DNS will be fine on the same PC

you could even put exchange on there if you HAD to - but this isnt ideal

what will you be using for email?  i think it would be better to have the webserver seperate from everything else.

the webserver will be able to do DNS if you want it to, but that isnt much of a task anyway - for such a small network, seperating everything for performance isnt really an issue

seperate things to increase security for the moment

-red
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924399
If it were me I would do the following

1 server running in the DMZ for WWW - this would be the slowest server (within reason)

1 server running exchange only - not a domain controller
1 server running domain, files and dns

those machines should be able to handle that fine

-red
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924447
do i need to run microsoft exchange to provide email to my network??? It seems to be very expensive.  Is there a cheaper way to do it?  I thought I could do it with the software on server 2003 enterprise
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Expert Comment

by:al-hasan
ID: 13924457
While I agree fully to everything mentioned by redseatechnologies, let me assure you that technically your Dual-Xeons with 2.8 GHz can handle more than 8 users. Once I was working for a small company of about 50 users, where the DC, Exchange and file server were running on a single CPU Pentium of about 800 MHz, while an even older server served as a backup DC. Sure, was not an ideal constellation, but you do have enough power with your Dual-Xeons.

Regards,
has.
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Expert Comment

by:al-hasan
ID: 13924474
vekter: if you have the Windows Small Business Server, then Exchange functionality is included. With the plain W2003 server edition you will need a seperate mail server (not necessarily Exchange, although it makes sense in a Windows network).

Regards,
has.
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924477
your saying just one server for the whoole thing then
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924485
Im running server 2003 enterprise edition.
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by:al-hasan
ID: 13924514
vekter: I would do what red suggested, his advice sounds perfect. One server inside and one in the DMZ (demilitarized zone). You have two servers available, right?

Correction: the Windows Server 2003 EE offers basic mail functionality. Check
Administrative Tools > Manage your Server > Server Roles > Mail Server Role etc.
Did not go this path yet, but for 8 users it should be a reasonable solution.

Regards,
has.
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924515
can anyone help me out with this email thing....  tel me how to run email for my network without spending 1500 bucks on exchange.... I already bought server 2003 enterprise  maybe I should make this a new question
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924526
yeah ones a really crappy xeon 2.2 ghz 512 mb 20 gig only has one processor... i bought it for 300 bucks, you think thatll work, or do i need to put the other processor in it and give it some ram
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by:al-hasan
ID: 13924547
"a really crappy xeon 2.2 ghz 512 mb 20 gig"  - some years ago this would have been a top notch server. What do you expect your users to do? If they work and do not run benchmarks the whole day it will be sufficient. Put this one into the DMZ and use the Dual one for mail, file, authentication etc. - red agrees?

Any progress with the mail part?

Regards,
has.
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924556
hi,

sorry was on my way home, so without email

for email, you can use anything you like, there are a few free email servers out there - there are some cheap windows based ones too - there is always a linux solution if you want to go down that path.

but exchange obviously has a few advantages over that (some of which are in other solutions) such as calendar, AD integration, etc.

I am an administrator of exchange though, so I will obviously prefer it to another solution

out of interest, why did you get 2003 enterprise?
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924557
So  everything I need to run the email is on the software installed on the main server.   What OS should I run on the www server
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924568
i would put the lowest spec'd server out on the dmz as your webserver

then have your other one running your internal services


there is also the other option of using both servers as internal servers and outsourcing your web hosting
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924589
you can run windows 2000 pro or xp or 2000 server or 2003 server

it doesnt really matter, if price is an issue, then xp should be fine - put a good firewall on it - like tiny or zone alarm - or even xp firewall and then set it up
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924606
I just wanted server2003 but I ended up finding that for like 500 bucks so I grabbed it.... full retail.... fuigured ya cant beat that.
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924618
but we just got through saying that I dont really need two servers on the inside isn't that right?  I mean cause if i do then I will configure this a diffferent way.   everything that I hjave thus far can be returned.  except for the crappy one. haha
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924624
well, if you aren't going to use it to it's full capacity - then it would have been $500 you could have spent on exchange server - but there is little we can do about that now.

i am off for the day - i will be back tomorrow

have a look around and try to find some free email servers - or at least some cheaper ones, i will give you a list tomorrow

also have a look at firewalls, and then decide what OS your WWW server will run

good luck

-red
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924642
no i will.... ill use the email part if i can
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924671
ok but the email part is in the standard edition as well
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924683
oh... so what am i not using on it then....
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924687
why did you say we would have to look for other email servers though.... will it not work, or is it not  a good one or something?
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924691
also, if i only have one server with dns what machine do i make my ns2.... the same one as ns1?
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924695
enterprise edition is for clustering and big multi-forest things that you wont do on such a small network

let me find a link
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924706
well, windows 2003 has an email server, but i wouldnt use it

you can set up the smtp and pop3 servers on it, i suppose it would work - but i have never tried

i think it has very limited functionality


as for name servers - if you only have 1 dns server, just use 1 - you dont need a second for the clients

you can always use your isps dns server for the second, but that can cause more problems
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924709
http://www.theregister.co.uk/offers/hosting/windows_faq.html

"The Standard Edition supports up to four (4) processors and four (4) GB or RAM. It will run almost any application and is a full-featured version of Windows Server 2003.

The Enterprise Edition - This edition will support up to eight server clusters for clustering SQL Server or other cluster-aware applications. It also will support up to eight (8) processors and up to 32 GB of RAM. There is also a 64-bit version of The Enterprise Edition for use on Intel Itanium processors."
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924724
is there any way i can get your email so i can get in touch with you about getting a better email server for a small amount of $
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924745
it is best to do it all on here

i am in Australia, and if you want to contact me outside of EE - it will cost money


let me have a look around tomorrow for a cheap email server

i am off to bed now

-red
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924748
oh ya.... one more thing, how much ram should be in that server, the big one... I ordered 4 gb but im thinking about changing it to 2.  whata you think
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924754
2 should be fine

obviously 4 is better, but not much of a need
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Author Comment

by:vekter
ID: 13924813
thanks for alll the help
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by:purplepomegranite
ID: 13924839
With regard to the email facilities in Windows 2003, the built in POP mail server is fine for limited needs.  I use it on my setup (just Windows 2003 Server Standard) to host multiple domains (each domain has up to ten or so mailboxes).  I can collect my email using any POP client (e.g. Outlook, Outlook Express) from inside or outside my network.

Exchange obviously does offer more features, like calendar sharing, etc, but these facilities are also available using Sharepoint, which is now a free download from MS for Windows 2003 (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/sharepoint/wss.mspx).

To give you an idea of what a server can support... my 1GHz Athlon, with 1Gb RAM, 30Gb IDE system drive and 200Gb data drive hosts ten websites, their email, is also a domain controller and a file-server (both VPN and local).  I have three Sharepoint sites installed for intranet services, and use Apache for the external websites.  There is more CPU idle time on my machine than on my client's servers (Xeon 3.2GHz, SCSI drives) that run Exchange (one of whom has only two client machines hanging off it!)... put simply, Exchange is a huge resource hog, and could be overkill for your needs (but that is a decision you must make!).  
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by:jdroger2
ID: 13935209
OMG why pay microsoft all this $$$ for no reason?  Use linux for your www / email server.  Its free, requires fewer resources, and is the industry standard (apache).  Use one machine with your windows server for domain, fileserver, etc and use another (linux) to host your www and email.
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redseatechnologies earned 2000 total points
ID: 13941021
Hi vekter

purplepomegranite is dead right about microsoft pop3 and smtp services - the should be able to easily handle 8 users.  I usually prefer exchange, but that doesn't mean it can't work.

as for the linux solution - sure, it is better in so many ways, but if you dont know linux, then you will have to learn it - which can make troubleshooting harder.

i have searched around and found the following links to setting up your email server

POP3 Server
An Introduction to the Windows 2003 POP3 Service
http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Windows_POP3_Service.html

SMTP Server
Installation and Configuration of SMTP Mail Server
http://www.resortdata.com/Customers/Knowledge/KB-Crystal/KC00003.htm

Info
Comparing the POP3 Service in Exchange Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/library/pop3exwn.mspx

http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/File_Server_Windows_2003.html
http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/DHCP_Server_Windows_2003.html


hope that helps

-red
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