Windows Server 2012 R2 Setup Considerations

Posted on 2014-10-08
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell Poweredge T320 server with dual NIC's and I am installing Windows Server 2012 R2. The server will be a DC with AD and DHCP and will act as a file and print server.

I have a few other questions I will be posting as I move along here and will spread the points around by asking separate questions instead of trying to get everything answered in one post.

So my first question has to do with configuring the NICs. I want to provide Internet access to 25 clients through the server connected to our Comcast gateway/router. So I need to know the best way to configure the two built in NICs.

I am not a super technical person, but I understand a lot of the process and can follow directions. I would just like some guidance and assistance with getting the server up and running.
Thank you in advance for anybody who has the time and patience to help.

Question by:Craig Gallichotte
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Expert Comment

ID: 40369655
The main reason servers have dual NICs is to provide redundancy. Same reason they have dual power supplies. You don't necessarily need to use them at the same time, however it is safer for you. Especially for the power supplies :)

From the description of the network you are in (25 clients), I would like to think you would be comfortable with one of the NICs being the primary one e.g. (Enabled) and the second one to be fall-back one you would use in the event of a hardware failure on the primary one. You could leave it disabled until something went wrong and at that time put it to use, using the same IP address in the primary NIC.

The other way you could do is to 'team' the NICs so the server sees the two NICs as one virtual interface, which you give a set of static details (IP, Subnet, Gateway, etc). I know Intel has software which you can use to configure teaming of their NICs. Not sure if Dell provide the software tools for this though. As I said, this is if you want to go fancy with your network.
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Khawaja
ID: 40369745
What do you mean by "I want to provide Internet access to 25 clients through the server connected to our Comcast gateway/router."  Are you trying to install a proxy server?  If you want users to have direct access to the Internet, on your Comcast gateway/router, disable DHCP, assign a static IP address, configure DHCP service and use the Comcast gateway/router as the default gateway.  Ensure to use the gateway/router as the default gateway on all computers including the DC.
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Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 40369783
The main reason servers have dual NICs is to provide redundancy.

I very much disagree with this statement.  Virtualization.  NIC Teaming.  THAT'S the main reason there are multiple NICs in servers these days.

First, multi-homed DCs are not recommended.
Second, putting the DC as your router is an extremely bad idea for security reasons.  No professional would do this for any of their clients.
Third, if you install to the hardware and make that a DC, you are THROWING AWAY an $800 license.  If you virtualize, you can run TWO servers in VMs.  The Host can ONLY have the Hyper-V role installed and then you can install support software to manage Hyper-V and your VMs.  Then you can run TWO installs of 2012 R2 in VMs.  One can be your DC and one can be your file server.  Or if you INSIST on using Windows as a router (WHY?) you could do a dedicated Windows Server install for that.  I have several clients and myself included running Untangle as a VM and that is my Router, Spam filter, and VPN server (among other things).  It's FREE.

Honestly, I cannot imagine a competent professional ever recommending someone who declares themselves as "not a super technical person" design and implement a server solution for a business.  Hire a pro who has experience and knows what they are doing and then you can be the person to manage it with the help of forums.
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Expert Comment

ID: 40369914
Slightly harsh words above but I agree 100%. If you are unsure of what you are doing and you are new to this sort of project then it's best you at least use practice labs. You can start off here:

If you've at least installed and built a server before, as well as have experience with the various management tools then I think you'll manage to do this yourself with some help from us EE folks.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40370320
Allow my to say that I can be more... blunt... in forums than I am in person... but that my comments were not intended to offend either craigceg or anyone who is truly a professional consultant (and there are many of us here answering questions).  I've seen people here trying to help others blindly construct a network - I used to - and have realized that you really want to get it right the first time and a lack of experience in building networks/upgrading them can lead to a HUGE mess that costs far more to clean up and hurts company productivity.  This is usually when people start complaining that MS software doesn't work and the real problem is that MS software doesn't work well when not implemented properly.
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Expert Comment

ID: 40372327
I can agree with that Lee. No offense taken here.

craigceg - a lot of this will depend on your skill set and understanding of Windows Server and its various technologies. If you're not confident it may be best you employ the services of a professional consultant.

Author Comment

by:Craig Gallichotte
ID: 40372984
Thank you all for your suggestions. I have taken Lee's advice and hired a professional to setup the server.

Author Closing Comment

by:Craig Gallichotte
ID: 40615621
I thought I had closed this question months ago. Thank you again for all your help Lee.

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