Opinions on server 2012 setup

I have a 2012 server that I need to setup. There will be only one server. I am looking for suggestions on the best way to do this. The current server runs 2003 without AD. There is no DC. The users will have there docs on this box so there is a single point to backup. I have been looking for an answer for this setup. I don't really need a domain. I would like feedback on this. So many solutions have multiple servers with each having a separate role. This one server will have all of the roles. We have a firewall/router that will handle DHCP. Copiers are their own print servers. The main thing this box will do is house data for the users. Do I need AD with a DC? and if so why?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
How many systems?  Why did you overspend?
Leroy LuffHead of IT & DIgitalCommented:
Shouldve just bought a synology storage device or something similar.

But I would create domain just for making the management on files shares easier. Will be able to use group policies to map shares automatically too.

Though I also think you overspent.

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Scott GorcesterCTOCommented:
Typically the justification for a domain is in enviroments is to create a central database of user and computer accounts for environments where there is more than ten users. This saves administration headaches when sharing resources such as printers, storage on systems other than your own and email. If you do not need this central admin capability then there may not be much to justify adding a domain. If all you need is a place to store files and provide basic access then you could use a network attached storage device or cloud storage and save the money and administration of a server.

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jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
The reason this was purchased was to replace an ailing 2003 box that management did not want to spend any more money on. They are using a Cloud based system now for the productivity but that could change and they wanted a server in place if a change were to occur. If I install it as the 2003 box is I could always add the roles to it later.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
How many workstations?

Why didn't you purchase Essentials instead - cheaper with additional benefits.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Scott GorcesterCTOCommented:
It sounds like from your last post that you installed the server in the vent the customer wanted a server in place in case they needed it? Yes I would say set it up as a basic file server and install more rolls as needed.

jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
MooseSupport - That is what we did. I was asked to get a server that could handle what ever they needed. Previously the existing 2003 server was a file/print/sql server, but it no longer needs all of these roles.
Scott GorcesterCTOCommented:
My personal preference would be to set up an Active directory even for 15 users, but that's just me. This is also something you can do later if you like.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
15 users.  The cost of Windows Server is $800+ and then you need 15 CALs at $34 each, so that's another $510.  Total Cost is $1310.  Windows Server Essentials would have been under $600.  No CALs.  Maximum users of 25.  So it appears you purchased the wrong version of server.

As for a domain or not, how familiar are you with a domain?  The key thing about a domain is centralized management and security.  You claim security is not an issue - that's fine.  But centralized management can be extremely useful.  At a minimum, it provides for you NOT to have to manage user accounts on each workstation and the server.  It can also ease your management of the systems.  For example, pay $20 per month and get a subscription to NINITE and you can update applications like Acrobat, Java, Firefox, Chrome, and others EASILY from one computer simply running the application as a domain admin.  If you have a BASIC understanding of how domains work, you'd see how beneficial they can be and how having one, at the least, simplifies your management of 15 computers.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay in getting back. Thanks for answers.
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Windows Server 2012

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