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Windows Server 2012 Foundation in a domain

Posted on 2013-05-29
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Looking to migrate a 2003 server DC to 2012 essentials.  I also have another server in the domain (app server) that I was going to upgrade to 2012 foundation.

I'm a little confused at the wording MS uses in the description of foundation at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj679892.aspx:

Must be the root domain controller in a domain that has no trusts at the root of the forest. This condition is temporarily allowed for migrations, but if persistent, the system will be forced to restart.

Looking for a little explanation to make sure Foundation will fit into the domain, not as a domain controller, but just as an app server.
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Question by:pcturnkey
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by:Rsilva98
Rsilva98 earned 50 total points
ID: 39205222
can you update to standard version ?. windows 2012 foundation is for small business with limitations.
you can use Windows Server 2012 Foundation in either Active Directory® or workgroup environments to create up to 15 user accounts that can access and use the server software.

you can join to the domain as member server but i would never use it as an APP server
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39205261
Thanks for the response.
A little more info:  This is a small biz environment.  Total of 12 active users (but a few more possible).  File server will be domain controller.  The server in question, that I'm thinking about using Foundation on, is dedicated to running Peachtree and holding its database.  This program is accessed by no more than 2 people simultaneously, making me think it would work.
My concern, before I move forward, is if, because I'm not understanding the wording from MS, it will function properly in the way I'd like to implement it.
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Lee W, MVP earned 150 total points
ID: 39205471
Foundation - *IF* joined to a domain - MUST be the FSMO Master DC and the domain it's joined to cannot have trusts.

Further, you cannot have more than 15 user accounts in the entire domain (a few are excepted - the administrator account for example).

Given your description of use, this is not the idea server for you.

I would recommend either migrating your existing server to Server Essentials 2012 (which can do workstation backup and has a maximum of 25 users) OR Server Standard.

Further, buying a VOLUME LICENSE of Server 2012 will enable you do run TWO VMs if you want OR downgrade to Server 2008 R2 easily.  (I don't care what size your business, Virtualization is a must for any size business these days).
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 39205744
I would agree Foundation server is not ideal in this situation.  

For clients of less than 25 users we often purchase Server 2012 std volume license as leew suggested, but use down grade rights to downgrade one to Server 2012 Essentials.  This gives you licensing to install on one physical server:
Server 2012 as a Hyper-V host
Server 2012 Essentials as a VM
Server 2012 Std as a VM for your app server.
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39207965
Thanks for the help.  We don't think this is the right environment to run 2 VM instances on one machine, mainly because of the client.  But I think this helped decide that we will need 2012 Std as the DC and file server, and then 2012 Essentials as the server dedicated to Peachtree.

I think that's a plan.  Thanks!
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39207968
Very helpful.  Thanks.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39208323
I don't know your client but if you want to discuss why virtualization isn't right for your client or your server I'm fairly certain and I give you a GOOD and LOGICAL answer for all your concerns.

That said, Essentials, like Foundation, MUST be the FSMO master DC.  While you can likely add the Peachtree server to it, it MUST be a DC.  And if you aren't AD experts, you shouldn't be running multiple DCs in a small environment.
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39208880
What about setting it as a BDC?  Well, I guess it can't be a backup if it has to be the master (correct?).
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39208882
2012 is not compatible with NT4.  (Why are you still using NT4?)
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39208911
Another tech suggested we make the Peachtree server a backup domain controller.  They are concerned with "single points of failure".... a big reason why they don't want to virtualize (though I would love some good arguments to use.  I haven't done it before, but would like to start moving some of my clients that way based on what little I've read).
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39209007
So am I to understand we'll need 2 of the 2012 STD editions for this to work- a standard and an essentials will conflict in the same domain?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39209031
No.

Server 2012 Standard comes with TWO VMs licenses.  One of them can be downgraded to Essentials.  (this can be exceedingly difficult to do (to get the media and key) if you don't have a volume license).  Then you would install Server 2012 DIRECT to hardware.  Add ONLY the Hyper-V role.  Then install one VM with 2012 Standard and one VM with 2012 Essentials.  Make the 2012 essentials server your FSMO master DC.  (If you're not an AD expert DO NOT use multiple DCs as you could cause MAJOR problems if you ever restore - and forget about snapshots of the DC(s)!)

You can have MANY standards... but a domain can ONLY have ONE essentials server and it MUST be the FSMO master DC.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39209033
Post again to this question tomorrow if I haven't responded with an argument for virtualization (it can be lengthy and I don't have time to focus on a lengthy response at the moment).
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by:pcturnkey
ID: 39210925
I wish I could give more points to the above answer.  That last sentence cleared a lot up.  Is there any benefit to having (Virtualized or otherwise) one Essentials and one Std in the environment, or just 2 Standards?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39210985
Essentials offers features such as the Remote Web Workplace, wizards for management, and workstation backup.  For a small business, these can be VERY useful.  In most cases (the rule, not the exception) a business that fits within the preferred limits of an Essentials servers (25-75 users) I would prefer to have an Essentials server online.  

Microsoft's licensing is to assign a purchase server license to a physical system.  Microsoft then grants you the right to run UP TO 2 VMs (assuming Standard) or an UNLIMITED number of VMs for Data Center.  (Licensing in 2012 changed so that 2012 is now licensed by processor with each "copy" purchased licensed to run on UP TO TWO CPUs (NOT Cores, but socketed processors).  If you had a physical server with 4 socketed processors, you'd need TWO server 2012 licenses (which if they were Standard editions would give you up to 4 VMs on that single physical server).

Virtualizing reduces cost and better enables the company to grow.  It can also increase resiliency in a disaster - If you configure Hyper-V replica, you can replicate live servers in near real time off-site.  If the building burned down (with an appropriate replication configuration) you might only lose 5-15 minutes of data AND be able to resume working in an hour or two rather than wait for a new server to arrive, restore backups, etc.

If you don't already have a TechNet subscription, I STRONGLY encourage you to get one and start playing with these technologies.  It's rarely (if ever) a good idea to implement technologies without some practice and understanding in how they work and TechNet can make that easily done.
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