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Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
Hello everyone, I am just starting to implement a server at my volunteer ambulance co. and I am trying to determine the features that I want to install to get the most out of my server.

Server Specs:
P4, 3Ghz
1 GB Ram
2 250gb HD on RAID 1
Windows 2003 Enterprise
DL-DVD+/-RW
2 Network Cards

Network Setup:
Verizon DSL connected to Linksys wireless router connected to 16 port switch which goes to a smaller switch in another room with about 5 computer and 2 printers with the intention to expand. (I only felt like running one wire to that room, is that detremental to the network?)

--Least important, but more for fun and "awe factor" --

For future expansion I would like it to be possible for people to bring in their wireless devices (laptops, PDAs) and be able to login to network (Starbucks or McDonalds style). Would I need a seperate Access Point, which software on the server is used for this?



--Most importantly, for productivity and data security--

I would like people to be able to login to their account and have their own personal share on the server, I'v seen before where users would have a "My Doucments" folder on their personal share and most programs recognize that it as their home directory.

I would also like the dispatcher program to be centrally located on the server as well and have an icon on everyones desktop pointing to the program.

I have 2 250gb hard disks on a RAID 1 array for data safety. The server 2003 is installed on that drive, its the only ones I have in the server. Would it be wise of me to create a partition on that drive to seperate it from the shared files/folders and the OS? If I do, how much room should I leave for the OS to expand?

I would appreciate any advice, all I really need is to be pointed in the right direction, not so much step by step directions, although I wouldn't be upset if someone drop some links to tutorials here. smile

Thanks a lot
Mark

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Let see....where to begin?

Just leave your access point unsecured and then laptops with internal wireless adapters should automatically detect your wireless internet access and then be able to use it with a click of a button. This is how starbucks does it. If you want the laptops to be able to print and access files on the server then you'll have to secure the broadcast and go through the process of setting up a wireless LAN. The link below should get you started with some background info on how to do that...

http://www.ececs.uc.edu/~sinhaam/tr/wireless/wlanwifi/

Once you setup DNS and DHCP on your server you will need to add a file server role to it in order for users to have a "home" directory that they can sync with.. Click the start menu then click "manage your server"  From there click "add or remove a role" and then choose file server.
Click through the wizard and then you've got it.

You only need about 10 gigs on c:for the OS to "expand"...as long as you install your apps elsewhere. Can likely even work with less then that. Sharing apps across a network is different from app to app. Licensing sometimes wont allow an app to be shared across the network unless you pay for the network version (which is charged for on a user basis). From their the process of sharing the app is proprietary.

Linking two switches like that should be ok. As long as you dont bottlekneck the line or run it to far (attenuation) you'll be ok.

By the way, make sure the workstations have xp pro installed.

Hope this helps at least a little...

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

question...did you just omit the  tape drive / backup device from the server specs, or do you really not have one?

CCNA, CCDP, Net+, A+
Work Smarter, Not Harder....

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

qweasdzxcqweasdzxc's (mouthfull) advice is good but i would be tempted to leave 15 Gig for the C: drive on a 2003 server, with a drive as big as the one you have theres no sence in leaving your self short you just end up with fragmentation and performance issues.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Quote:


I would also like the dispatcher program to be centrally located on the server as well and have an icon on everyones desktop pointing to the program.
I would suggest you contact the program makers to see if this is possible.  For a program to utilize the server's CPU significantly, you would need the application to be able to run with a server component and probably a web interface.  Otherwise, there will likely be at least a client application to install on all the workstations.  If the dispatching program is not very advanced, then you may have to employ Terminal Services (in which case SBS, which I mention below, is not appropriate for you unless you get a second server).

Second, Why are you getting Enterprise Edition?  That's not inexpensive.  Is there a reason for it?  Standard edition can access 4 GB of RAM - your specs aren't close to that.  Were you planning on clustering two servers?  

Next, how many potential users?  As a volunteer organization, I can see you having 5 people - or 100, each available for a few hours a week.  I don't know how you operate, but if you have 50 people or fewer, you should probably be going with Small Business Server (SBS) and NOT Standard with Enterprise Edition?

Then there's the server itself... RAM is fine... assuming all it's doing is running as a active directory/file server.  If you wanted to run Exchange, then 1 GB is border-line and I'd say you should be thinking of 1.5-2GB. The drive space is probably fine - and a partition of 10-15 GB, for a PROPERLY configured server, should be fine for the vast majority of servers installed.

As for the wifi - leaving it unsecured is foolish.  And frankly you could be setting yourself up for hefty regulatory fines and lawsuits if unauthorized people get on the network (assuming you have ANY files related to people's medical or financial information).  What I would recommend is a router with WPA2 encryption - and even then, place the router OUTSIDE the regular LAN, then setup the server with a VPN server so that users, in order to access the potentially  private data, must first connect with VPN.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

As for backup, I suggest you read over my backup comment - it was a comment posted on another site until it grew so much I decided to turn it into a web page:
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
I was planing on using the DVD RW drive for backup.

I think I will put a hold on the order for Enterprise and go for SBS.

The program, I made it from filemaker, perhaps I need filemaker server edition.

We will only have about 20-50 users on the net, and only 5-10 at any given time, if people bring in their laptops.

For the wifi, I would like it to connect, but when internet explorer is accessed it would redirect you to an internal webpage that you needed your username and password for to access the web and/or personal files if that is possible.

I'm fairly new at this so any adivce or suggestions would help.

Thanks

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
does the domain have to be in '.' format or can it be just a single word?

eg:

server.local, server.net
||
server

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
Update on my work,

So I just ordered Windows Server Standard 2003 for $100 with 5 CALs. Hope I don't get ripped off, here is the link if anyone is interested

http://www.oem-softwear.com/w2003.htm.

I just got off the phone with verizon and ordered a static IP aswell.

Question: Do you think it is wise to have the internet provided to the users through the simple linksys wireless router, or throught the server?

I wonder this because I feel its much easier to reset a router (plug and unplug). Also, if the server provides the internet access and assigns IP addresses to the machines on the network should the modem be plugged in directly into one port of the server or can it be connected to the switch.

I feel that it is a waste of resources to have all the internet packets go through the server. Please correct me if i'm wrong.


Thanks for your replies

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Use the router as your internet gateway but if you use DHCP i would have that running on the Windows box so dynamic DNS is updated correctly.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

$100 for a W2K3 Standard server seems very, very low.  I live in Canada and just paid $950 CDN for a W2K3 Standard R2 license.

Also, OEM software, which is what they are supposedly selling you is supposed to come with qualifying hardware.  It not legal to purchase and OEM CD on its own.  What hardware comes with the CD?

What country do you live in?  I'd be leary of the site.  Their retail store is in Hong Kong (nothing wrong with that in and of itself) and I don't see any mention on the link that you provided as to what qualifying hardware they are shipping with the license.  Its the combination of the location of their retail store, the price of the software, and the lack of a mention of qualifying hardware that has me wondering if this site is selling legal MS software.

Cheers.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

That does sound low for SBS but remember if it's a charity or gov you get reduced rates, an education licence for 2003 standard in a U.K school or college costs £55 approx $100.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
reduced rates huh, hmm ill check on that then.

Ill also let you know what they send me in the mail.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
Those prices look to good to be ture, but we are 501(c)3 so I guess I can order the software from them, thanks smile

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Read the restrictions before ordering.  And keep in mind these are DONATED software packages, that's why the prices are low (they are "reselling" them to support the site at DRASTICALLY reduced pricing).

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
Do I want Server 2003 standard r2 or SBS Premium R2?

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

(OP)
So I ordered SBS Premium for $68, extra 5 pack user licsenes for $20, MS Office for $20, and Foxpro for 26.

I ordered all the extra software because I wont be able to make another Microsoft order for a year from today, I'd figure I might as well get it now.

Ill fax them all the requied documents and I should recieve the CDs via mail.

A special thank you to lwcomputing for refering me to that great website. smile

Thanks again

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Quote:

...an education licence for 2003 standard in a U.K school or college costs £55 approx $100.

On the web site at the link that y2kmental provided it states:

Quote:

Full version (not an upgrade or academic version).

Cheers.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

Oops, I hit the "submit post" button too quickly.

I meant to add that, according to the web site link, the software is W2K3 standard edition which should be around $700 - $1,000 US.

Cheers.

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

I am setting up a server for a church and we were able to to get win 2003 standerd R2 with 10 licences for under $300.  I can see if I can get the place where we purchase the licences.  I know we pay around $8 a cal

RE: Ideas on creating the best server environment for users

oem-softwear.com is a conterfiet.  Get your money back now.  I have ordered xp pro and they look very real but i got the verdict from microsoft you can't activate it. They are a high quality conterfiet.  I am spreading the word, you know the saying it is to good to be true, then you know the rest.
I hope you can get your money back unlike me.
Michael

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