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Second domain controller on Win 2003 SB server network

Greetings,

I have a small network of 20 seats that has a win 2003 SB server.  We also have a second win 2000 server that is running one mssql application and our file sharing.  I have been reading here about how to add the win 2000 server as a second domain controller.

My question is not how to do it but is it worth it to do it?  I am trying to figure out how much of a benefit it will be to my network but I am not that knowledgable in this area.  

My thinking is that if the sb server fails I will lose exchange, but I am still using the internet based mail server as the primary mail system.  So a user at their desk will still be able to use their machine but I guess they would not be able to log into a different machine.

What I would really like to know is if there is something I can do to add more redundancy to the network with the two servers?  I know I cannot make the sql application redundant, not because I know it can't be done but just because the vendor has told me I cannot use win 2003 with the application.  But perhaps I could make the file sharing redundant?

I have another network where there are two servers and the domain controller seems to be redundant  but I am not sure that I see the great benefit to it.

Perhaps someone smarter in this area can let me know the best way to use two servers in a small network.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Sky
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Schuyler Kuhl
Asked:
Schuyler Kuhl
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3 Solutions
 
chadCommented:
the thing about redundancy is that you don't notice the advantages of it unti it is needed.
if the 2000 machine is added as a domain controller and:
the sbs dies... all domain info would be replicated to the 2000 machine on a regular basis and the domain structure will still be intact.  by moving over some of the server functions such as global catalog, dns, dhcp (if applicable), and others...

if you do not have a redundant setup and you do not back up your active directory often you may end up having to build the entire domain structure from scratch if the only server is lost.

of course, if the 2000 machine is going to be a domain controller.. it will put a bit more strain on the network for replication of data and more work applied to the 2000 machine.  
If you think the network and 2000 machine can handle both ...

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mkbeanCommented:
Hi skykuhl,

Take a look here for a discussion similar to yours.  There are some other good links to Microsoft's site in this post.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Windows_Server_2003/Q_21149940.html

Brian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
My feeling has been that if you are using the win2k server on your network then you might as well have it be a BDC.  There is little additional maintenance for it... and it allows for smoother authentication throughout the network...

For instance, if you need to reboot your SBS during the day, users will not lose connectivity to network printers (stand-alone ones, that aren't running through the SBS).  Or if you use Terminal Services in Application Mode... the Win2K server doesn't require the new TS CALs... and can authenticate on it's own if it's a BDC.

What's the downside?  Keeping a Win2K server on your network will not allow you to raise the functional level of your server to Server 2003 (if you have all XP clients).  Personally, that's a big plus for me as I don't much care for "allowing for legacy" systems or applications if it can be avoided... when you have better technology at hand, why would you want to "dumb-it-down"?  (Yes, I know there are a number of apps which you need to keep going... that's why I said, "if it can be avoided")

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Schuyler KuhlAuthor Commented:
Thank you very much for these answers.  I guess it looks like I should add the win 2000 machine as a domain controller.

A couple of things though:

1 what is the proper way to backup active directory?

2 is there some way in windows to make the file sharing redundant?  Like if there is a shared folder, to have it copied to the other server automatically, or is it just better to use some other software to do this as if it were being backed up.

3. -->  Keeping a Win2K server on your network will not allow you to raise the functional level of your server to Server 2003 (if you have all XP clients).

The main reason I put on the win 2003 sb server is to offer remote desktop through the web and shared contacts in exchange.  Will adding the win 2000 server as a dc effect this type of functionality.?

Thanks again for the info.  I would be happy to post additional points for these other questions if there is some way to do this.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Way to milk a question... :-)

1 what is the proper way to backup active directory?

The best way to back up AD, along with every part of your server is to run the automated backup which is included in SBS.  Open the Server Management Console and click Backup from the left side tree and then take a look at the links in the Task Pane on the right... specifically "Learn how to restore the server".

2 is there some way in windows to make the file sharing redundant?  Like if there is a shared folder, to have it copied to the other server automatically, or is it just better to use some other software to do this as if it were being backed up.

SBS2003 has a number of features that does this for you automatically.  First is Volume Shadow Copy which will automatically take a snap-shot view of your files at various times of the day.  (This is configured by running the Configure Backup Wizard from the To-Do list  -- which will also configure deleted email retention policies).
You'll note that with Volume Shadow Copy you can restore any file or even an entire My Documents folder to any number of snapshot-states.  This is a user accessable tool which is found by right clicking on any document that's stored in the VSC volume and you'll see an extra tab on the properties dialogue which says "previous versions".

Another good way to be redundant in your file storage is to configure My Documents redirection (click on Backup on the Server Management Console -- and you'll see the link in the Task Pane for this).  Redirecting My Documents to a server share (the default us \\servername\users\%username%\My Documents) will not only put all the user's files in a place where you can back them up... but it will enable off-line files to be activated on the client machine which will essentially mirror the server's copy of the files so that if the server goes off-line, the user will always have access to their documents.  This, of course, provides an additional recoverable copy if needed.


3. -->  Keeping a Win2K server on your network will not allow you to raise the functional level of your server to Server 2003 (if you have all XP clients).
No, keeping the win2k server doesn't not effect any functionality of a server 2003... what I was referring to is that Server 2003 comes configured to ALSO provide for legacy operating systems... it's just not as efficient when it does that... that's all.

As you are new to SBS, I would HIGHLY suggest that you get a copy of Harry Brelsford's "Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices" book from http://smbnation.com  even after 24 SBS2K3 installs, I still keep it by my side.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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mkbeanCommented:
Answers below each of your questions.

>1 what is the proper way to backup active directory?
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/Windows/2000/server/reskit/en-us/Default.asp?url=/resources/documentation/windows/2000/server/reskit/en-us/distrib/dsbj_brr_AXAL.asp

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/technologies/activedirectory/maintain/opsguide/part1/adogd03.mspx

>2 is there some way in windows to make the file sharing redundant?  Like if there is a shared folder, to have it copied to the >other server automatically, or is it just better to use some other software to do this as if it were being backed up.
The Distributed File system can be configured in a domain enviroment and allows for you to have replica copies of your shares.  I wrote a step-by-step guide here http://www.adminprep.com/forums/File_replication/m_62/tm.htm

>3. -->  Keeping a Win2K server on your network will not allow you to raise the functional level of your server to Server 2003 >(if you have all XP clients).
Keeping Windows 2000 domain controllers in your network WILL indeed limit your domain functional level however this does not impact your clients at all.  You will still be able to have XP clients and use all the wonderful features of XP.


I hope that helps answer your questions

Brian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
P. S. A better solution than redundancy is having enough resources in your server and GOOD MAINTENANCE.  By not overtaxing your server and by following the recommended daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly maintenance schedules, and by watching your monitoring reports every morning... you'll avoid problems before they happen, for the most part.

Jeff
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Brian... nice step-by-step, but it's all automated in SBSland.
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mkbeanCommented:
Hey Jeff nice timing on answering the question.  Maybe we can do that more often...what teamwork. ;-)

Brian
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Schuyler KuhlAuthor Commented:
What a fruitfull question.  This is very helpful to me.  Thank you very much.
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