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Old 30th March 2009, 17:20   #1
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Default Server Config + Implementation - Small Business

Hi Guys,

I run a start up in Bangalore and I am not a technologist. Thats the first

Now, I am busy trying to get our IT infrastructure into shape. We are about 10 people and should grow in 20 by the end of this year. We all run Window's based PC's and have set up a separate PC as a makeshift server. I hope this is alright.

I have a proposal in my hand to do the following:

Windows 2008 SBS Server ( I have the CD - the vendor is not giving me this).
Configuration and implementation ADS/DNS/DHCP & backup file server.

He is pricing this at INR 25,000. I think this is quite steep and wanted more feedback from other people in the industry on this. How long is this kind of job expected to take? How many hours?

I also wanted him to ensure all the PC's are connected to the server and we have an automated back up solution every 15 minutes which backs up a particular drive on each individual system. I would also need to implement an antivirus + firewall solution from the server permeating to each individual system (such that I control updates automatically from the server on computer start). I will also need to install window's and office on every PC (which is 10). He also mentioned he would clean all the PC's with a vacuum cleaner - the dust which might have accumulated.

Now everything above is extra at about 300-500 bucks a system.

We are also implementing all original software across the board. So there is no issue of playing around with illegal software.

Can I get some advice on this from the mavericks around here? Furthermore if there are any TBHP'ians who are into this business in Bangalore, I would love to have you give me a call.
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Old 30th March 2009, 17:36   #2
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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
... He also mentioned he would clean all the PC's with a vacuum cleaner - the dust which might have accumulated....

...Can I get some advice on this from the mavericks around here?...
He he. here's my advice: Make sure that your PC is switched off else all data will be sucked by the vacuum cleaner .

BTW, when you are doing this, can I get my Gypsy there to get it vacuum cleaned? It's accumulated lost of dust in the wall to wall carpeting on the open area.
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Old 30th March 2009, 18:47   #3
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He also mentioned he would clean all the PC's with a vacuum cleaner - the dust which might have accumulated.

Make sure the vacuum is set on blow and not suck, as it would pull out the jumpers from your motherboards.

I am not sure on what exactly you need a server for, is this for a back up server or an application server?

ADS, sorry havent worked on it, studied it but didn't see the need to implement this in an organsition of less than 50 people.

DNS/DHCP & backup file server is a DIY and very very easy.
DNS and DHCP is already in your router just read up a bit on it.
Backup File server use Acronis, we are using the same and extremely happy with it and love the feature of restoring a system not having the same hardware, which surely saves a lot of money.

A small advise, study thinclient computing, instead of having individual PC with individual Os to maintain and Harddrives here everythings on one Server and you have to maintain only one OS and you can stop spending money on maintaining each PC's os also the harddisks are not needed.

I am using 2x for our thin client needs 2X Thin client computing software: deploy & manage thin clients and am exteremly happy with their free version.
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Old 30th March 2009, 22:00   #4
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And if windows is not an essential, you should consider using Linux. File server, DNS (caching), DHCP, networking / routing, firewall, thin client, database server, back up, proxy, webserver, mailserver, and print server. Ugh oh. I forgot local chat.

All this from 2 or 3 (from safety perspective) PCs converted to servers.

LTSP is the linux version of thin clients.

Implementation may cost more that what you are quoted; but if you can do it yourself, it is free of cost. No "fees" for upgrade. No licensing problems. And stable. Me, a non techie have implemented couple of stand alone servers with database / web server to be accessed over the LAN. Uptime runs into weeks at times. (nah, will not do it for you for love or money or drinks/food/ spin on your exotic car - software services is not my job).
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Old 30th March 2009, 22:15   #5
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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
\can I get my Gypsy there to get it vacuum cleaned? It's accumulated lost of dust in the wall to wall carpeting on the open area.
I am definitely going to puncture your tyres next time on an offroad with my superb chinese make air pump.

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Originally Posted by Indian1979 View Post
Make sure the vacuum is set on blow and not suck, as it would pull out the jumpers from your motherboards.

Will keep this in mind.

I am not sure on what exactly you need a server for, is this for a back up server or an application server?

Actually its just a back-up server.

ADS, sorry havent worked on it, studied it but didn't see the need to implement this in an organsition of less than 50 people.

I dont even know what the heck that is. Just copied it off the proposal he gave me. Should ask him.

DNS/DHCP & backup file server is a DIY and very very easy.
DNS and DHCP is already in your router just read up a bit on it.
Backup File server use Acronis, we are using the same and extremely happy with it and love the feature of restoring a system not having the same hardware, which surely saves a lot of money.

Will read up on Acronis on google now and come back with questions if I have.

A small advise, study thinclient computing, instead of having individual PC with individual Os to maintain and Harddrives here everythings on one Server and you have to maintain only one OS and you can stop spending money on maintaining each PC's os also the harddisks are not needed.

I am using 2x for our thin client needs 2X Thin client computing software: deploy & manage thin clients and am exteremly happy with their free version.
Huh?! Are you serious? Its a bit like virtualization? It virtualizes your server OS onto multiple machines? Let me read up a bit more on this. Its very interesting if it saves me the cost of 10 licenses. Quick question - can I load any application using Thinclient and share it across people? Is that not akin to piracy?

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And if windows is not an essential, you should consider using Linux. File server, DNS (caching), DHCP, networking / routing, firewall, thin client, database server, back up, proxy, webserver, mailserver, and print server. Ugh oh. I forgot local chat.

I have a problem there. I recently used Ubuntu to rescue some files from a crashed windows set up. I loved the fact that Ubuntu was almost similar in to Windows. But the issue is I need to use IE for a critical application. It runs ONLY on IE. Does IE run on Ubuntu? I doubt it. I have the same trouble with my Mac and after a lot of trouble installed WINE (from codeweavers) and run IE though it crashes indiscriminately. Later I just got VMWare.

All this from 2 or 3 (from safety perspective) PCs converted to servers.

LTSP is the linux version of thin clients.

Did not get you on the two sentences above.

Implementation may cost more that what you are quoted; but if you can do it yourself, it is free of cost. No "fees" for upgrade. No licensing problems. And stable. Me, a non techie have implemented couple of stand alone servers with database / web server to be accessed over the LAN. Uptime runs into weeks at times. (nah, will not do it for you for love or money or drinks/food/ spin on your exotic car - software services is not my job).
Figured as much. The hassle is I need to invest the time to learn all this stuff and then implement it. For me its a question of investing this time elsewhere to make more money. That said, I dont want to burn my time in this and then find out I screwed up. Then calling someone in to fix is going to be icing on the cake
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Old 30th March 2009, 22:18   #6
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Get an Active Directory Domain using Windows server 2003 / 2008. Run the DNS and DHCP off the same AD.

Do you have several departments that need to be on individual networks? To improve scalability I would recommend getting a router or a managed switch capable of doing VLans.

A basic firewall should help controlling your network better. I recommend something from Sonicwall / Fortinet for cheaper solutions.

Linux implementation for domain authentication / DNS / DHCP can be done with Redhat / Fedora Directory services as well. This would be a much cheaper implementation.

For virtualization you could use VMWare / Redhat Xen. That works out cheaper as well instead of running multiple servers.

Last edited by moralfibre : 30th March 2009 at 22:19.
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Old 30th March 2009, 22:31   #7
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just want to tell that ies4linux is the internet exploder using wine emulator running under GNU/Linux.
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Old 30th March 2009, 22:38   #8
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Let me try and get you to the best I can...

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Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Get an Active Directory Domain using Windows server 2003 / 2008. Run the DNS and DHCP off the same AD.

Okay. I dont know why, but I will use this to set off a little research timer.

Do you have several departments that need to be on individual networks? To improve scalability I would recommend getting a router or a managed switch capable of doing VLans.

No. I have two departments who should not be able to access each others files on the server. That said, I would like nobody to access any folder apart from their own. I have a router and a switch which runs the networking for the entire office. Am I sounding stupid?

A basic firewall should help controlling your network better. I recommend something from Sonicwall / Fortinet for cheaper solutions.

Linux implementation for domain authentication / DNS / DHCP can be done with Redhat / Fedora Directory services as well. This would be a much cheaper implementation.

For virtualization you could use VMWare / Redhat Xen. That works out cheaper as well instead of running multiple servers.
Will look into virtualization. I might be keen on running some Adobe design products, Office and Windows on the virtualization platform. Does that mean I escape individual licensing?

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just want to tell that ies4linux is the internet exploder using wine emulator running under GNU/Linux.
I looked it up. Quite unstable for the application we are running. Atleast the one I try using codeweavers on the Mac is very unstable.
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Old 30th March 2009, 22:41   #9
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Windows 2008 is overkill by any stretch of imagination. Stick to Windows 2003 Server - for your needs Standard Edition is good enough. Have 2 domain controllers so that Active Directory replication ensures you have 1 DC functioning at all times if the other one goes down.

My personal recommendation is to run DNS/DHCP services on another server that is not the AD store. A small network should not necessarily mean a zero-redundancy network.

As far as the file server goes, as a concept, network-based direct user-shares are on the way out. Their manageability is inversely proportional to their size and the industry has moved to a SAN based storage over native storage - for scalability and redundancy. I would recommend the free version of Microsoft's Sharepoint Services to do content management instead.

Backup: At this time, dont go for any automated enterprise-scale solution as its not needed for your network size. Simply have LTO tape backups that run off the Windows Backup and Restore utility that can be scheduled to run once/week or twice/week.

Last edited by theMAG : 30th March 2009 at 22:53.
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Old 30th March 2009, 23:07   #10
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Quote:
Quick question - can I load any application using Thinclient and share it across people? Is that not akin to piracy?


That is why I recommended using Linux. ;-)

It is free as in "Freedom".

But then, I am taking you off topic, right? As theMAG recommended, you may want to consider some redundancy for your servers.

Quote:
Does that mean I escape individual licensing?
You better consult a lawyer on that. Last time I read them, they require separate licences for 1) The software. (depending on the number of users). (2) Running what you licensed under (1) in a virtual machine. But take your lawyer's advice. (Ok, I am a linux fanatic, so am exaggeratign when I ask you to consult a lawyer .... stick to their salespersons' advice ;-) ) If you think I am being sarcastic, I am.This licensing issue is a pucca mess that I stay away from non-FOSS software.

And codeweaver + Mac is not same thing as wine + linux. To rephrase, drinking pepsi and driving is not same as drinking whiskey in pepsi and driving.

Last edited by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR : 30th March 2009 at 23:14.
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Old 30th March 2009, 23:48   #11
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Red Liner,

Remember that Using Linux made your Data recovery task a 30 minutes Job.

Similarly, for a "small business" (small is the keyword here), Linux is actually easier to manage.

Here is the Trick:

1. Install Linux Server and setup as a "Server for everything" [I can walk you through that]
2. Install Windows XP on PCs, tell them you are going to talk to Windows Server.

You are done. Linux server will do everything Windows server does.

However, as soon as you cross the boundary of 100 odd PC/ Laptops, then Linux will start to break.

It does not have Group Policy and stuff that Windows has out of box.

Now, comes the part of backup every 30 minutes.

For that be prepared to blow 30k on a server class PC + two 1 TB Hard Disks. You will pay for 2 TB Space but will get 1 TB space. That will save data in two copies. Even if some part of HDD Goes bad, data would be safe.

That again will run as File server.

ALL users will have their Desktops + My Documents redirected to this server.

And that server will keep backup copies of ALL the files that user needs as long as it is saved on "My Document" or Desktop.

Last edited by NetfreakBombay : 30th March 2009 at 23:51.
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Old 31st March 2009, 00:08   #12
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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post

Huh?! Are you serious? Its a bit like virtualization? It virtualizes your server OS onto multiple machines? Let me read up a bit more on this. Its very interesting if it saves me the cost of 10 licenses. Quick question - can I load any application using Thinclient and share it across people? Is that not akin to piracy?
Ok this is going to be a bit detailed.

In our organization we need each user to have his own windows desktop, we have one machine with windows loaded and all their id's. Now the Client machine i.e. user has no harddisk it boots off the LAN i.e. it downloads the os file to its ram and loads it and opens a RDP connection to the server, once you logon you are on the main server. In this scenario you need as many licenses as the number of users.

Scenario two is in case your users just need one or two applications without the need of a complete desktop you can use 2x's application server where you will not need licenses for each user for windows but the application you are using might require multiple licenses.

This doesn't need a degree in computer science it needs 3-4 days of dedicated researching on the net and 1-2 more days installing and finetuning to your needs and experimenting completely before deploying it in your organization.

Once set you dont need to worry about it ever again. We have one running since a year and havent touched anything at all.

Now to your need i.e. of a Back up Server.

You don't need anything but Acronis, you dont even need a high end machine we are running ours from a 1.4 ghz AMD Sempron. Trust me just read up on Acronis.

ADS / Active Directory Service, IMHO if you dont know what it is you dont need it.
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Old 31st March 2009, 06:27   #13
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Will look into virtualization. I might be keen on running some Adobe design products, Office and Windows on the virtualization platform. Does that mean I escape individual licensing?
Not necessarily escape licensing but if you run a Windows Terminal server license then you could run your Adobe design products over a terminal server and enable access accordingly.

You need to secure your network in order to ensure that no two computers can access each other easily. Like for example:

A computer has IP address 192.168.0.1 and the other computer in your domain has an address 192.168.0.2. I can access computer two very easily using some wild cards and file share unless some pre-requisite setup policies are carried out. Active directory proves helpful in this case. Also software control and policy enforcement is better over an AD domain if all your clients computers are running windows.

What Indian1979 is explaining involves buying of Terminal server licenses and storing remote profiles of each user in your network. Only draw back I can think of is high dependability on the remote server. High availability of the terminal server is a concern in such a setup. Additionally if your terminal server is low on resources then users might experience some degree of slowness.

Last edited by moralfibre : 31st March 2009 at 06:30.
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Old 1st April 2009, 17:25   #14
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God all this stuff is freaking me out...am avoiding TBHP so I dont have to read all these things...am I a technophobe?
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Old 7th April 2009, 21:11   #15
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Alright guys, I am back with an update now.

This is what has happened so far in my company. I got a couple of freelancers to come and do this much:

Server End
  • Formatted server and installed Windows Server 2008 .
  • Created required user idís with roaming profile.
  • Created DNS [Domain naming Server ] and ADDS[Active Directory Domain Service ]
  • Created shared folders to respective user id folders , temp, dumps .
  • Created permission level security layer and assigned it to individual users .

Printer End
  • Created dedicated printer server
  • Downloaded printer driver , installed it in server with Active Directory enabling .
  • Created shared folder for individual users to access printer driver and install it remotely.

Workstation End
  • Formatted 10 desktops.
  • Installed VISTA in all desktops .
  • Added all systems to domain .
  • Configured Wireless Lan in once pc .
  • Installed Adobe in all systems
  • Installed Office 2007in all systems
  • Installed SEP in one system .
  • Worked on a particular system with low level formatting .

Firstly your feedback on the above. All okay? I have complete access to fully legal software from Microsoft. See attached file.

The QC has not happened properly and some of the users complain of not being able to log on the first time around, but after a couple of times, they do it. I have asked these blokes to come back on this Sunday to complete the rest of the job without which they are not seeing any greenbacks.

What more in store?

1. Ensure all systems have basic utilities installed and in place. FF, Adobe PDF, Messenger, Gtalk, you name it. Am making an "essential" list right now.

2. Ensure an adequate back up solution for everyone. I am gyrating between proper version control and just a basic back up where everyone's individual folders are backed up. Ensure a good back up for the server itself. Note to self: speak to Netfreakbombay for more on this back up to server bit.

3. A handbook from these guys as to how to add a new user, giving or taking away rights, different passwords, etc. I should be able to run this whole show without these guys apart from a IT audit now and then.

Is there anything else I should add, that I may have missed out on? I am wearing a lot of hats now, and I would appreciate pointers!

Leading on from Bullet point 2 above...
The issue with independent folders being backed up is, there is not control over a *single* document which might have seen multiple alterations. In essence, the whole point of *sharing* is lost if you dont know what and where the final file is.

This is essentially an issue when you do not want to work directly on the server for two reasons:
-> The server is slow. The case with us.
-> The network cable that connects to your CPU could dislodge as you are working on something. Has happened to us, and is mighty frustrating at 3 am in the morning.

I did receive some points from another thread I created specifically for this purpose so have a look: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/gadget...designers.html (Best Version Control Software for Designers?)

Though the thread above was begun only for my designers, I do understand that automated version control is a boon for everyone, and is a fantastic way of keeping documents updated at any point in time.

Some of them have talked about a process we can undertake. However, I found it a little tedious...though I will be confirming a naming convention and file hierarchy...maybe I should contact DerAlte directly and ask him what the heck he's talking about
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