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hugonietoFlag for United States of America

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Can I have more than one server in my network

Hi Guys!

I have a network with a windows server 2008 R2 set up to handle all of the fallowing roles:

Active Directory
Print Service
Web Server (IIS)

I also have Exchange 2010 installed on this server. I think it is a lot of workload on this server specially because it only has 6GB of memory. We have a regular PC which is acting as a File Server. I would like to add a second server to transfer all the files to it and use it as a real File Server. I have never set up more than one server and I'm kind of wondering if it is possible. Is it possible to have more than one server? I know that One has to be the domain controller and be like the father of all of the others.... a second server would be a File Server, a third would be Mail Server, and so on...  

Avatar of rschnitzer
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Yes, it would be a good idea have separate servers.  You can join all the servers to the same domain.  Once you authenticate on a workstation to your domain controller, the DC will be able to grant the user the ability to access certain files on the fileserver that he has permission to.  This is a basic answer, but yes, this would be  a good idea, especially if you only have 6GB of memory and you're running Exchange 2010 on that server as well.
Avatar of Stelian Stan
Short answer you can have another server as a file server on the network. Best practices is to have Exchange running on a different box NOT on a Domain Controller.
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Thanks clonyxlro! I kind of new that it is not a good idea to have a mail server on a domain controller but at the time of the set up we had budged limitations. We will put it in a different box so it can be on its own. But first I need to have some knowledge of have to set up a second box or server and have the Domain controller and that server successfully working fine. Do you know of some good examples, articles, or How to videos?
Thanks rschnitzer!!

Do you know of some good examples, articles, or How to videos?

Thanks for the help!

The above are a few videos I found that might be helpful.  The first walks you through setting up an additional Windows 2008 domain controller.  I'm not sure if your domain is 2008 or earlier, but I'm sure there are similar videos if you have an earlier version of AD.

The first two things I would suggest is that you make sure you are making good backups of your data (Exchange database, Files, etc.).  Secondary to making sure you have reliable backups of everything, I'd suggest have a second domain controller.  It may seem silly if you don't have many users, but it's really a pain if your DC goes down, and it's the only one you have.  If you don't have many users on your domain, you could easily have your second domain controller also acting as a file server (which is where the next two videos come in).  Then your third server would be the exchange server.

The biggest hassle is that if you were to just remove AD from the Exchange server, you would essentially break exchange.  The following article might prove helpful.  It's not exactly the same since you didn't have a hardware failure, but it talks about the steps of restoring an Exchange server that was previously a DC as well.

If you don't have that many mailboxes, the easiest thing would be to export your mailboxes to .PST files, and then start afresh.
Avatar of Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP
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I would agree with leew.  I made my comments hoping that your office only has a few employees.  Even if that's the case, you'd still be better served finding someone that can do it right for you.  Find someone that doesn't mind teaching you while they're doing the setup if you're interested in growing your skills.
Thanks for all of your advice and tips guys!


Thanks a lot for your help rschnitzerl!! The server we have is a windows 2008 R2 and we do a full back up of this server which includes the mailboxes or database. We actually have around 80 users right now, I think the amount is not a lot but I might be wrong. What I have planned is to do all of these in a test environment with a cheap test server that I have  to do these kind of tests first and then after some time testing I can do it in the real server we have. This is what I have been doing with everything first before deploying it. So, I will try to create a few virtual severs and create that second domain controller and set up the file server and then take Exchange and move it from the primary domain controller just like you suggested.  This way if something goes wrong nothing is lost from our actual set up. The option of exporting the mailboxes to a .pst and start from scratch would be the last option... once again thank you so much for the suggestions and links!! I will keep you posted of what happens.


I did't hate your answer! it is an honest response which I respect and like. Thanks for the advice! I will tell you have the situation is and was when I started working here. I am the person responsible for the IT functions in this small organization. This is a non-profit organization which provides daycare services to low income families. It started around 1978... by 1999 it had 5 sites in the Chicago area. As you probably know, non-profits organizations depends on donated money from private sectors and the government. It was not until 2006 that they started using technology as computers. That was all they have through 2006 and 2010. However,  in 2000 this organization went through a HUGE budge crisis which led them to get rid of 4 sites and everything on them. The crisis left them with just one which is the one they have right now. Through 2000 and the beginning of 2010, they have not YET recovered from that crisis. At the beginning of 2010 another non-profit organization donated them an used server which someone at that time set up but he didn't know how to do it I guess because it was not right configured and it was a mess when I got to this organization. Also, for small problems with their computers, they would try to fix them by themselves  or the person with the most computer skills which was the human resources director would try to fix them. Here and then, they would call other Computer skilled person from another non-profit organization to fix a lit bit more complicated issues. So, they actually were working  with stone age technology. Right now is when they are starting to recover from that huge problem but still they are not stable with their budge.

Myself, you are totally right when saying that I'm not an IT professional because I AM NOT! I don't have the experience to be a professional YET! I'm a computer science student who has been working and studying since 2001 to this day. When in the first years of my studies I worked in many industries like restaurants as a waiter and even as a dish washer! Factories, insurance business, even in the construction field. Going through a 2 year college to get an Associate's Degree in Computer Information Systems and now trying to finish my 4 years Degree in computer science. Also, going through all of this, I would play around and do computer stuff on my own like learning how to create a small network with 5 computers with wireless or wired, play with OS's like windows, linux, know how they work and their functions because they don't teach you that in school, and take computers apart to learn their hardware etc..... I got tired of working in industries that were not what I was studying for. So, I decided to jump into the water without knowing how to swim. In 2008, a small computer business that provided computer services to incoming clients to its store and provided onsite services to residential and business gave me the opportunity to work as a part-time with them. The owners were a woman and her husband which they will have their first employee since they opened up. My job was to troubleshoot and fix computer, network, server, email, website related issues. As you mentioned ADDING AN USER AND FIXING A PRINTER JAM ARE SIMPLE.... they are! In this job I NEVER set up anything like a server, network, website, email server, etc.... Anything related to a SET UP was unknown to me. You might be asking yourself, well, if you troubleshooted and fixed server issues how come you didn't know how to set up one?  Well, I guess you don't really need to know how to set up one to be able to know how to troubleshoot issues on it. I might be wrong... but I had a friend called Google .com to help me out.

I'm talking to much already right? :) I'm almost done..... at the last month of 2010 I got this job that I have right know as a part time which after almost one year here I got the full time position. When I got here, they didn't have a right server set up not even working at all, the PC's had windows 2000, they didn't have any networked printers,  didn't have any wireless connections, just one network switch for around 70 computers around the building, a website that was HORRIBLE and DEATH, and not emails. I requested money to buy resources like windows XP or windows 7 and other resources  to have something to work with. Knowing that I didn't have any idea on how to set up a server, I suggested to buy a new server and buy the OS windows server 2008 R2 but because of budge problems I was not approved to buy those resources. So, I had to work just with an used server that had a memory of 4GB which I upgraded it to 6GB.... This server has an issue when trying to upgrade the memory to its maximum which is 12 GB.. So, I can't installed more than 6GB. That was one of the big reasons why I wanted to get a new serve BUT THEY DIDN'T WANT TO!! After learning with my personal cheap server at home how to set up a server and testing it A LOT!! I did it here and it has been working fine with active directory, IIS, DNS, and Print Service. I suggested to use gmail as their way to communicate with emails..... BUT!! The the Executive Director wanted Outlook and have our emails hosted here!! They didn't want to give me the resources I needed but they wanted to host emails in the server....... non-sense right? Ok... I did what they asked for! Through which I used to get cheap software for non-profits I purchased Exchange 2010 and ONCE AGAIN without knowing how to do it and the help of my best friend google... I set up on a test environment to set it up and test it for 1 month. After that I did here..... I knew that it was not a good idea to have it in the same server and because the memory installed was barely what exchange needs ONLY Exchange. I set up a wireless environment, set up three used printers which were donated to be in the network, all of the PC's have windows XP now, and I'm writing a new website from scratch. The option to hire a professional to come and do all of these is not an option because they think is too expensive and they don't have the money to do so. So, as you see MONEY plays a huge role on the decisions taken here. I have met a lot IT guys from different non-profit organization with some experience but they all are in the same situation as me. They are learning as they go..... WHY? because for a non-profit is cheaper to hire someone like us than hire someone with 10 years of experience because they know that those guys want a real salary. I like to take positive criticism on anything.... my personal figure, personal life, work life, student life etc..... because that's how you learn and improve what you are doing wrong and makes you  see things that you are not seeing. I really hope that this organization realize that technology is and will play a huge role in their performance when providing good service to families and children and that they will have to invest more money on technology.

Once again Thanks a lot for your response and honesty!