I need to know more about Windows Server 2003?

  barnettgs 15:18 29 Sep 2004

At Community Centre, where I work at, they decided to get a server with Windows Server 2003 for security and backup reasons. It is because Community Centre is getting bigger all the time. There are about 10 computers with PIII 350mhz, 128mb ram and 10 GB HDD running Windows 98.

So I haven't been working on Server before but I have seen 'client' computers at College where students are given username/password to access the computers.

However, I'm curious about this Server. If I buy a Windows Server 2003 with up to 10 users licenses so it will be only 10 PCs that will become 'clients'? What about Windows 98 on each Client PC? I need to know the informations on these stuffs.

Thanks in advance

  Xzrox 15:56 29 Sep 2004

Windows 98 can be used as a client but the security relationship between it and a server with an NT core is far different to the way Windows 2000 and Windows XP (Pro) works with an NT server. I say NT because windows 2003 is yet a further development of this technology, just as Windows 2000 Server is.

In order to enforce solid security on your client machines, I can not recommend installing an NT version of windows on them as apposed to using Windows 98. Yes, 98 can log onto an NT domain (such as that managed by Windows 2003 Server) with username and password authentication plus execute log on scripts, however, policy enforcement (for many things such as disabling the Control Panel and restricting the view of drives in My Computer) is difficult to implement on 98 unless you're familiar with powerfull old tools such as System Policy Editor; but this is getting complex when improvements have been made my Microsoft to make peoples jobs exactly like yourselves far easier.

If you install either Windows 2000 or Windows XP Pro on your client machines, then they will work most effectively with Windows 2003 Server and will make your job far easier.

10 CAL (Client Access Licenses) means that only 10 computers (the clients) at one time can access your server. This applies whatever the OS - be it 95, 98, 2000 or XP Pro/Home to take examples.

If you want any more info just ask - I know lots, lots more about this but I don't want to bore you.

Actually, I can not recommend any book better for this than one from William R. Stanek's 'Administrator's Handbook' series : Windows 2003 Server Administrator's Handbook. If you click here and checkout the blurb about it at Amazon.co.uk and compare it with others, you'll know what I mean. I've had all Stanek's NT 4.0 Server and 2000 Server handbooks and I know they're _very_ good for new administrators and network managers. They tell you everything about what you need to know regarding backup, account management, data storage etc.

  hillybilly 16:00 29 Sep 2004

"so it will be only 10 PCs that will become 'clients'?"

This means that only 10 users will be able to log on to the server at any one time. With 10 licenses, if you expand your network to say 12 machines then only 10 out 12 would be able to get access at any one time. Until you increase the number of licenses.

Server software is niether cheap to buy nor easy to administer if you have no experience. You would probably be better looking at Small Business Server 2003.

Personally with only 10 PC's I think you would be better of with a peer to peer using either Win2k or WinXP.

  barnettgs 16:18 29 Sep 2004

Thanks, that is very useful information. I know it may means a little to you but means a lot to me as I haven't seen server in real life.

I understand better now about 'clients' because I thought 10 CAL means 10 computer but I'm wrong so I now know that 10 CAL means 10 users accessing at the same time.

The user using 'client' computer can not save their work on local disk so instead of that, it can only be saved to Server? I'm not sure of that, correct me if I'm wrong.

Because I was at college recently, I am aware of all computers in client/server relationship so when students tried to save the files to local disk on client computers, it won't allow them to save so instead of that, students have to save their work on floppy disks?

For Windows 98 on clients computers, our budget is limited to around £2000ish for server and Windows Server with up to 10 CAL so can't afford any more for installing Windows 2000 or XP on Client computers but even if we do, client computers need upgrading. I didn't realise Windows Server 2003 is very expensive especially adding a few more CAL.

Is it possible to build my own server like I do for PCs or am I better off buying a server? My boss would like Server 2003 to be also workstation so he can work on it, is that possible? Any good server do you recommended for a budget of our?

  barnettgs 16:26 29 Sep 2004

hillybilly, i'm not sure with peer-to-peer because we have that already with Windows 98 but I guess you are talking about better security with Windows XP (user account log-in).

However, is all about making a easy back-up, better security etc with Windows 2003 small business edition.

Back-up is important to us, I don't want to having backup each computer but I have looked at NAS (Network Attached Storage) but again, it's expensive & bit complicated I think.

Because some staffs tend to move from computer to computer at times, so they need to access their own files, thats when 'server' comes into our mind.

Anyway, I can welcome any options or changes you suggest. Thanks

  hillybilly 16:38 29 Sep 2004

I'm sure Xzrox will agree with me when I say "Server software and anything associated with it is always expensive"

Win Server 2003 costs around £500 RRP SBS2003 costs about £800 RRP but it has a lot more software included and it is desinged for the non expert user. Lots of wizards.

If youas a very experienced network administrator, they would prefer to use win 2003 server purely because they would have more control on the system. But for thr inexperienced or should I suggest the person who has not studied server software, I'm sure that SBS2003 is a far better prospect, and even that will not be easy.

  recap 16:40 29 Sep 2004

May I suggest that your committee look for a Project Coordinator (if you do not have one already). This person can then look for funding to increase your Capital and Revenue costs for the purchase of further equipment.

In the mean time here are some links for W2003 server:

click here

click here

click here

If you need any guidance on funding I may be able to help.

  barnettgs 18:32 29 Sep 2004

OK, we have the funding for it but they only pay the half. For funding, maybe u can e-mail my work mate at funding@handsthattalk.co.uk

I have been looking at Microsoft's site but the information are too much with too many links!

Someone mentioned about Novell, I have heard that name but not sure if it is a server brand name.

I can't think of any other options apart from Windows Small Business Server.

Does shop sells Server with Server 2003 installed in it?

  hillybilly 23:12 29 Sep 2004

Does shop sells Server with Server 2003 installed in it?

Yes, most of the large suppliers/manufacturers do, but you still have to set up all of yuor user accounts, deciding what level of access you give them and to which files and folders they can go. Thats why I suggested you look at SBS2003, just another thought are these users going to have email accounts? and what about Internet access?

  barnettgs 23:23 29 Sep 2004

Of course, i know how to set up network, fitting cables, configurating for network etc but i'm up for anything and it would be worthwhile for me to pick up new things as i have always do.

I just want to decide on the best options at right price. I guess I will look at Dell Server for a start.

  Xzrox 02:21 30 Sep 2004

To keep costs down you could certainly opt to build the server yourself. With only 10 users at one time, you will not necessarily need to spend a chunk of your budget on fast disk drives such as SCSI, for example. However, the main advantage, as always for small organisations, is that when you buy from a company, they should offer some kind of support and you can always fall back on a valuable System warranty if problems occur.

Hillybilly's right, all server related hardware and software is not cheap - and Windows 2003 Server is no exception. Do you _really_ need to use 2003? Windows 2000 Server will most probably be quite capable of satisfying your needs. Of course, weigh up what you really want - if 2000 has all you need, then stick with it; especially with major advantages over bleeding-edge software as 2003 in that a huge range of 'well tested' patches and drivers have already been made widely available. People will argue that 2003 will support the latest hardware, but you have to ask yourself what you are doing with the server, and in all likelyhood you will be using hardware etc that is fully supported under 2000. Marketing of 'the latest technology' always sounds good, but when there's well tested 'old' technology that can do the job too, often being more stable, you really have to question whether buying the latest technology is a high priority and can the budget justify it.

You mention users saving their work. Regardless of the client OS (i.e. this will work with 98), you will be able to execute logon scripts which map network drives to the server. This means that at logon, for example, user FRED can logon to COMPUTER_4 and unknown to him, SERVER is instructing COMPUTER_4 to map logical drive H:\ to Fred's own secure folder USERS/FRED on SERVER. You could even make COMPUTER_4's 'My Documents' folder point to FRED's secure storage on SERVER, unbeknown to FRED - so he thinks he's saving to COMPUTER_4's hard drive, but, infact, he isn't! Yes, indeedy.... all this exciting stuff, and more, can be performed with a domain server. This, with perhaps strong system policy enforced, could ensure your users will not save on the client machines - the result? centralised storage and management, of course.

By the way, Novell make a Server OS named NetWare - and it's incredibly solid - but I'd stick with Windows since it really isn't worth your while getting bogged down with the advantages, disadvantages, and the complexities of different Server OSes. Plus, with NetWare, you'd introduce yourself to a completely different way of handling not just the Server side, but the Client side too! (Personally, in your case, I'd actually use Linux with Samba to masquerade as an NT domain controller - resulting in a fully functioning domain server but without you having to pay Microsoft money for all those CALs. However, this really is far too complex for you, and you won't have any wizards or procedures to help you manage things from printing to account management - this is where Microsoft's software is really rather good when the wizards work! :-) But... to get back to the point.... I've just pointed Linux out as yet another example of a network OS.)

Recap suggests a Project Coordinator - whoever you see for any advice, particularly the salesmen, make sure they justify all their points, ask how it will benefit you in the short and long term, and kindly ask why you should have what they want you to use/buy since I know of far too many organisations, to take an example, that have bought really superb switches which, to be quite frank, are just far too complex for the job, and with added huge expansion cababilities for more computers they weren't going to get. In this example, of course, if you get more computers, you can simply buy a second switch!

It's always fun working with, and developing, networks - however, make sure you stick within the constraints of the budget. ;-)

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