Finally got parts to build a normal file server, Need help on server software

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by maxse, May 14, 2005.

  1. maxse

    maxse Gawd

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    Hello everyone. Well I finally got the money together to say good to my PII 350mhz file server computer. I just picked up 512MB RAM, and a sempron 2400 proc. I had a friend give me a sockaet A mobo. I also picked up the Cooler Master CM Stacker case to give me expandibility in the future when I buy more drives...

    So.. now that I have the juice to run windows without the computer freezing up every 10 minutes, I want to load 2003 Server edition. I think that is the best one for a server right? (don't know linux).

    The thing is that I am so confused with all these different 2003 server editions. There's enterprise, corporate, SBS. Which one do you guys think that I should use. I have no idea in the differences among them.

    Just to give u an overview of my setup. I have 2 desktops 1 laptop and a HTPC that will always be connected to the network. I need the server to always be running to store all my movies so that I can access any time on the HTPC. I also need to be able to share partions and map them as network drives... In addition I want to have some folders to only be available to my computer so tha tno other computer on the network can see it. In addition I would like to be able to log in to the server and make changes any time as I please form a remote PC. ( I am doing that right now with ultraVNC but as I understand 2003 Server edition is specifically made for this purpose). I am really excited about the new server and I am completly new to all this. I look to finally set up my home network the right way once. Like a small business would. Please make comments, suggesitons, and please help me out with this. I appreciate everone's contribution and time. Also I believe Verizon FIOS is coming soon to my area so my crappy DSL conneciton will go, and its upload time! Thanks everyone again and sorry about the long thread.

    *EDIT* Sorry guys but one more thing I need ot be able to do. I think 2003 server does this at least one of the version sright? I need for the server to automatically download the latest virus definitions from norton and all the updates and automatically update all the computers on the network (Ill make sure that they are all using the same version of norton). Also if possible to do the same with windows updates. The thing is the updates on 2003 server are probably not oging to be the same as for XP Pro which all of the computers are running right now. Thanks again guys. Hopefully I can get some help on tihs.
     
  2. DougLite

    DougLite [H]ardness Supreme

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    You are going to need the help of some MCPs (MS Certified Professionals) to help you make your OS choice. I am one myself (only on 2000 at present), but most of them hang out in Operating Systems, which is where I'm moving this thread. While they will gladly advise you and help you answer some of the tougher questions, it would save all of us, and most importantly yourself, quite a bit of time if you pick up some MCSA and/or MCSE books for whatever product you decide to implement. It will also be a tremendous investment in yourself to learn how to make a server work, rather than simply setting it up however someone else tells you to. Furthermore, it will also be significantly easier for you to troubleshoot if you design a system and use practices that make sense to you.

    For an answer specifically on which version of 2003 to get, check out this chart which shows the differences between many of the versions. Looks like Standard is a good call for you, although I am not 100% familiar with your needs. Cost will be a factor I'd imagine, and I don't think you need the web services and/or increased scalability of the premium versions.
     
  3. OldMX

    OldMX 2[H]4U

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    Symantec Antivirus Corporate has server and client versions, you can configure server to download updates and deploy it to all clients on the network.

    0ldmX
     
  4. Pixeleet

    Pixeleet [H]ard|Gawd

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    To do the update thing you're talking about, you're going to need a Systems Management Server program (SMS). Microsoft has one, and so do a few other companies, but they're mainly for corporations. A bit more tedious way to do what you're doing is to use group policies to send out the packages. To learn about group policies is trying to teach someone how to use a computer; the best way to learn is just mess around.

    As far as what version of Windows to use, Standard or SBS will work just fine. You definately don't need anything found in Ent.
     
  5. maxse

    maxse Gawd

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    ok great. Now I am have been doing some research and found some people reccomending Win2K server instead of 2K3 because its more stable and less bloated. What do you guys think? I would love to pick up some books and learn all about this stuff but I really do not have the time right now. I will learn as much as I possibly can from you guys searching, and online artciles. Thanks everyone for your help hopefully I can get some good replies to steer me in the right direction. Like if I get the server version of norton will it matter what OS im running it on. I need to make this decision ASAP since I already have all the parts for the computer and the only thing holding me back as choosing the OS. Thanks.
     
  6. rcolbert

    rcolbert Gawd

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    I think that's the worst crock-of-shit advice I've ever heard. Those are the people that took 5 years to come up to speed on Windows 2000 and they're panicking because 2K3 isn't exactly the same.

    2003 is a major improvement over 2000 in many ways.
     
  7. Fint

    Fint [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you had to get someone to give you a motherboard, do you really think you can afford a LEGAL copy of 2000 or 2003 server? Be prepared to cough up several hundred dollars in software. From what you are wanting to do (share files) you don't need Windows 2003 Server for that; a much cheaper copy of Win2k Pro or WinXP will work just as well.
     
  8. Canon

    Canon 2[H]4U

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    I agree with the above poster.

    From the needs you presented in your orriginal post you don't need Win2k3 server.

    Basically for the file sharing the limitation you have is that only 10 computers can connect to the share at the same time (with XP Pro), in Win2k3 server you can purchase more liscences to allow more than this ($$$).

    You didn't mention needing to server a website on the internet or have a domain in your home environment (which probably would be cool but really neccessary for less than around say 10 computers).

    I would highly reccomend that you get windows XP Pro unless you find a specific feature that you need because 2k3 server is not cheap... quite expensive in fact.
     
  9. mbrewthx

    mbrewthx [H]Lite

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    WINDOWS SERVER ENTERPRISE 2003 $3,269.90
    WINDOWS SERVER SMALL BUSINESS PREMIUM 2003 $1,398.99


    Downloading Linux, installing it your self, Learning lots in the process PRICELESSS!!!!!

    I use WIN Server Standard and Enterprise at work, and also use WIN Standard at home to test solutions on.

    With Linux just set up SAMBA file sharing works great. And after you learn LINUX you'll be l33t!!!!!
     
  10. Darkstar850

    Darkstar850 [H]ard|Gawd

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    :rolleyes:
     
  11. hity645

    hity645 [H]ardness Supreme

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    My school district decided to use one of our spare servers to do the Windows Update thing, its early in the morning and i forget what its called, but anyways...To do the windows update you need to install SUS i belive its called, and then it downloads ALL patches for Windows 2000 to 2003. That takes alotta hard drive space, i don't think you'lll want to do that, and you said you had dsl right now...that might take alotta time to download.
     
  12. GreNME

    GreNME 2[H]4U

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    If you want to build a server on the cheap, use Linux (choose your flavor).

    If you want a Win server, you have a few things you need to decide on:
    • Are you going to just be connecting to it with a few machines (< 10)? A client version should work fine for that if you aren't going to use any Active Directory.
    • Are you on a budget? If so then the server line is unnecessarily expensive for a home setup. If you have the licenses already this isn't a problem.
    • Are you going to be trying to do the "everything and the kitchen sink" stuff with your server? If so, SBS would be good for that, since it has nearly everything (and the kitchen sink) all rolled into one.
    • Are you going to be doing a few specific things? You might want to start with Standard Edition and get the components you're going to use as you need them
    • How are you going to be connecting to the server from any given computer? This is something to keep in mind, since you'll be dealing with different things if you want to use AD or just plain sharing or whatever.
    • Are you aware that none of these is going to be easy?

    Which OS you use is more up to you than up to us, because we're not using your network. This is something you need to look at critically, find out exactly what your needs are, then work out which OS best fits your needs. Asking people here to sit and list all of the capabilities of each OS is not only way too time consuming a thing to ask us, but is back-asswards in terms of evaluation. If you want to find the right tool for the job, you need to know what the job is before looking for the tool.

    The funny thing about that is if all those guys with the 2000 experience were to get themselves a copy of 2003 to work and play with, they would find that the two are similar enough that almost everything still applies, and the only thing different is the placement of some controls and layout (for the better).
     
  13. maxse

    maxse Gawd

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    hmm so I guess just get 2k3 server SBS huh. Yea I want to play around with setting up a dopmain to log into. Its just cool because I can have a "real" network at my house. Can any1 point out some benefits of having a domain log in? Thanks.
     
  14. Kaos

    Kaos [H]ard|Gawd

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    for one it would be more "secure" but you have to understand the network is only as secure as the location of the server.

    Network Security is an oxymoron just like microsoft works.

    The major advantage is that youll learn alot. Mess with DHCP, RRAS, RADIUS and things like that, setup groups and learn to make GPO's if you have the extra pc's setup different internal networks and learn to route them together.

    the things you learn will be invaluable for a future career (if thats your goal) in administration and networking.

    Get a cisco router simulator and mess with it.

    Ive learned more just messing around with stuff than by reading books, but thats only a supplement, you should still read up on things that interest you and things youre clueless on.

    Im trying to learn about voice/paging and pbx systems now and im pretty interested and you would be surprised at how many techniques and standards apply to different categories of technology.
     
  15. GreNME

    GreNME 2[H]4U

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    Actually, I think 2003 Standard would be best for you. It has the Active Directory stuff and the remote capabilities (really, RDP kicks ass), and it doesn't have the stuff you are likely not going to use. Trust me, you really do not want the "kitchen sink" package unless you're going to use it.
     
  16. maxse

    maxse Gawd

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    what exactly is the active directoey stuff I kaeep reading about?
     
  17. Pixeleet

    Pixeleet [H]ard|Gawd

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    Active Directory is everything that makes Windows servers famous. Domains, roaming profiles, group policies, etc. It's really kind of useless for any network under 10 computers imo.
     
  18. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    I had it running at home for a while, with only 3 client machines, and it did pretty much turn into a waste of time. It was much easier just to have the same local accounts on all machines, and leave them in a workgroup.
     
  19. S1nF1xx

    S1nF1xx [H]ardness Supreme

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    Usless? Kind of
    A waste of time? Yes
    Overkill? Yes
    100 x what you need? Yes.
    A bitch if your server goes down? Yes.
    A total hassle when you want to hook up someone else's computer? Yes.
    A valuable learning resource? Yes!

    That kind of sums up my domain at home. :D


    To the OP:

    It sure was nice when I was studying for the 70-270 exam. It was a lot of fun getting RIS up and running (and even more fun when it worked). It's helped me learn quite a bit about the MS server model, but it is a lot of extra work.

    If your primary goal is just to share files, just use Windows 2k on that machine.

    One thing people confuse a lot is the definition of the word server. Just because it doesn't have the word server in the OS name, doesn't mean it can't be one. A server is a computer that shares/manages resources on the network. So even a lowly DOS machine can be a file server.

    http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/s/server.html
     
  20. rcolbert

    rcolbert Gawd

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    Opinions vary.
    :rolleyes:
     
  21. GreNME

    GreNME 2[H]4U

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    Here's the measuring stick you should use with things like AD: if you don't really understand much about it, then you don't need it.

    Also:
    No way. In situations where its capabilities are used, it's worth plenty.
    Only if all you're doing is fucking around.
    Not when you want the benefits and have the resource overhead.
    Only in homes. Not in a business.
    Funny, cached profiles seem to solve that problem for me just fine and dandy.
    Interesting, since I am still able to hook up my cheap little XP Home computer to client networks to do some light troubleshooting via RDP even though I'm 1500 miles away from the site. Your hassle sounds more like a personal problem. Is it a hassle to give them AD privs? Also no, but it's more work than necessary when all they're really doing is using a few resources that simple authentication can handle just fine.

    ++

    A server does not have to be such a big deal in a home.
     
  22. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    Why is everyone jumping down his throat for saying a single, at-home file server doesn't need AD? I guess everyone can yell at me too, because for my 5 computer home network, I felt AD was overkill and useless as well. Give the guy a break.
     
  23. rcolbert

    rcolbert Gawd

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    If you have a server, you might as well run AD on it and have everyone join the domain. You can setup a home AD environment from start to finish (including dcpromo, DNS, joining all the PC's and setting up users, group policies, and logon scripts) in about an hour. It doesn't cost any more money. I don't understand the objection.

    Of course your wives might understand and navigate workgroup computing environments flawlessly. I, on the other hand, married for looks, not brains.
     
  24. S1nF1xx

    S1nF1xx [H]ardness Supreme

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    Calm down there cowboy. ;)

    I was talking about MY domain, not domains in general. I spent a lot of time setting it up, learning the ins-and-outs, and learning how to manage it. I love my domain, and I'm glad I invested all the time into it. Hence my last comment being "A valuable learning resource? Yes!".

    The point of my post was to offer the OP a different view on the subject, not to start a flame war.
     
  25. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    It can bring about a host of problems that frankly, I don't have the free-time at night to work on. Some of us don't always want to go home and sit in front of a computer, after doing it all day. So, in keeping with most logical arguments, just because you can do something, doesn't always mean it's the best to do.
     
  26. rcolbert

    rcolbert Gawd

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    If my setup ended up consuming a significant portion of time, then I'd rethink it. As it is, it was set it and forget it, and the amout of time I spend supporting my wife (on computer related matters) has been reduced substantially.

    I'd guess that I've spent about 30 minutes total supporting AD (at home) since I installed it late last year, and mostly that was just dorking around.

    Am I just that good? :D
     
  27. mrmagoo_83

    mrmagoo_83 2[H]4U

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    Well, I already have a copy of Win2003Server Ent Edition. My file server needs help though, lol. Its just barely running WinXP right now.
     
  28. Haven

    Haven I Only Post Important Stuff

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    I find this comment very interesting.

    I have AD at home. I am a Network Administrator durring the day. So I work on computers all day. When I get home, I don't have to do much with my AD setup. I spend time doing things with it though so I can learn more and do my job better.

    I am one of the lucky ones, I have turned a hobby into a career. I love what I do, and that makes me good at it.

    As far as what the OP should do, well, I haven't seen him answer a simple question. Why?

    Why are you doing this? Is it just to share a few files? If so, sure W2K Pro, or XP Pro will work.

    Are you wanting to get into computers as a career and see networking as where you want to go? If so, then setup a ful network with a AD tree. Hell get an older box (rebuild the P3?) and put Linux on it, and mess with that too. Play with Samba. Not being tied to one technology makes you a better tech, and better able to find solutions for whoever you are working for.

    Hell, I love what I do so much I will play with anything just to see how it works and expand my knowledge of my chosen profession.
     
  29. GreNME

    GreNME 2[H]4U

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    Well, I was looking at it from a perspective a little further outside the home.

    But the rest of what you say is true. If you want to take the time, it can be a great learning resource.

    I'd rather be lucky than good. ;)

    Actually, that's what has me moving to an AD setup currently (with SBS as the directory tree). My girlfriend does web development, and while she's great with design and some scripting languages, she just wants the rest of the stuff to work. It's gonna be a little tricky getting the first little Linux box (for her in-house dev environment, as if our own dedicated wasn't enough ;) ) all working nice and friendly, but it won't be a huge bother since no one is going to be logging into their profiles on that machine. And later on, when one of us is on the road (we periodically travel for our jobs... my next stint is six months in airplanes and hotel rooms) the setup will help us keep track of all our "stuff" in one tidy spot.

    The benefits are definitely there. It just depends on whether you're gonna use them (whether for practical or learning application). Most people won't.
     
  30. talley

    talley Limp Gawd

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    Not entirely related to the thread starters question, but how and what is need to centralize all the applications and use?
     
  31. GreNME

    GreNME 2[H]4U

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    Space, cost, resources (like machines able to run them), etc.

    There are more reasons depending on specific situations, but those are the big ones.
     
  32. t00thless

    t00thless Limp Gawd

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    to the OP, if you have the time and money, go for it.

    if you can afford 2003 server (its 2003 server, not server 2003 :eek: ), do it.

    i almost have my server box built for home and a copy of server 2000. i only have 4 machines at home (one linux).

    create your own domain, go for it.

    this might help you hack your network at work :D .
     
  33. rcolbert

    rcolbert Gawd

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  34. t00thless

    t00thless Limp Gawd

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    ^ burnt, lol.

    i read in a book the other day (not M$ book) it was 2003 server not server 2003.

    /goes and hides
     
  35. maxse

    maxse Gawd

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    guys can I use 2003 server just for its stability and not use the active direcotires part. Because I really dont want ot waste a lot of time doing it. And it is not going to be my profession. Can I simply share some drives and then map them on the workgroup computers. I am only using the server as a media server to hol dmy movies for my HTPC. Also plan to run Azureus on it :)
     
  36. SJConsultant

    SJConsultant 2[H]4U

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    Yes, but you can do exactly the same with XP Pro, no need to run a server OS if your not going to use the features of it.
     
  37. maxse

    maxse Gawd

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    Its supposedly more stable than XP. In addition I want to be able to log in from the web to remote control my server. and I believe that is one of the features built in to 2003 server. Also can asome1 comment on the differences between 2000 server and 2003 for the uses I will be needing?
     
  38. Frobozz

    Frobozz [H]ard|Gawd

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    IMO it depends on what the motivations of the OP are.
    If it's a learning experience, then go for the 2k3 box.. setup a Domain, play with AD, read up on group policies, SMS, and all the other fun stuff that you may find interesting. run, skip, be merry.

    If it is to just reach the objective of a storage server (just a box with storage and that's it). Pick your favorite OS of choice that will mount all of your storage correctly. (personally think that 2k or XP will serve you best) Setup your shares, map your drives and away you go. If you setup terminal services (remote desktop) then you dont even have to have a keyboard/mouse/monitor. Windows Update and your Anti-Virus should have scheduling. Just stagger them over the course of the week to automatically update and you're good.

    so.. exploring/learning vs I want some flippin network shared storage now.
     
  39. Frobozz

    Frobozz [H]ard|Gawd

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    You can setup terminal services/remote desktop on XP (built in) and 2k (may be a free download from MS) . Then you can just use the Remote Desktop Connection app to connect to them (would have to forward port 3389 on your router to do it from outside of your home network).
    In addition.. there is also an ActiveX web client for what it's worth. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/tools/rdwebconn.mspx

    What's fun is when you have multiple computers on your home network with TS/RD installed and you can remote into the one with the port forward, and then use that to remote into the others.. havnt seen how many times I can remote around before it gets silly. :D
     
  40. fibroptikl

    fibroptikl [H]ardness Supreme

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    I was at work, Remote Desktop-ed into my home PC. From there I RD-ed to my extra computer for backup stuff. Then I connected to the VPN on that machine and RD-ed to a test box I have here.