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Need an advice, SBS 2003/Windows Server 2003

Discussion in 'Software' started by LukeP, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    Hey I'm looking at redeploying the whole messy network I got to work with. However I'm not sure what SBS limits are. My network consists of 4 different locations and approx. 20-25 users. I decided to put them all in one domain (group of companies = my employer) and seperate the in OU's in AD by companies. Companies work close together and share some resources so I think it's the best option for me.

    Right, so I have SBS 2003 and Windows Server 2003 available and I'm not sure which way to take. The way I see it is VPN to connect all branches, to have one domain with 4 domain controllers replicating from our head office one.

    Now the question is can I deploy SBS in head office with exchange and sql server and deploy windows servers 2003/2008 in branches to provide storage for local users as well as replicated AD. Or should I just stick everything on Windows Server 2003/2008 standard and get a copy of exchange and sql server?

    Also please advise if one domain for 5 companies (close together) will work better than 5 separate domains? The reason I think one domain is going to be better is because sometimes users from different companies share workstations. There's plenty of common resources, printers and it happens that employees move around between companies.

    At the moment there is 4 domain controllers, 1 for every branch and they're not connected together via VPN. I'm gonna get there slowly doing one branch at a time but as I'm starting in head office I was wondering if SBS would be tohe option for me.
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Just to get this straight, you are dealing with a maximum of 25 users here?
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  3. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    Basically yes, 25 is more or less the user count at the moment.
    There's is no chance we will hit 75 user limit of SBS anytime soon. But than again apart from Exchange server and SQL server SBS doesn't bring anything I couldn't get a retail version of (money wise). Also in case a new company joins the group will SBS support trusted domain relationship until I'll find time to merge the domains?
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  4. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Unfortunately SBS does not support trusts.

    Do you have a budget because what you are proposing is going to be expensive if you are moving to new hardware. Also you not getting a return on the cash to roll out a server at a branch office if there is going to be less than five people on the site.

    I would go for a SBS in HQ and also a high spec Terminal Server which all the users at the branch offices connect to. This means you will have a centralised location for all data which it will make it much easier for backup and also will be good for the physical security of the data.

    If you are worried about the stability of the VPN connections then make sure you check the SLAs with your current provider and many firewalls include a 3G failover option as well. Ive installed loads of these devices and it means you can reduce the amount of servers you need at a remote location as you have the peace of mind of an ADSL and 3G connection for failover. It is worth noting that even with your current design users would lose access to email if there is a connection issue even with a server on-site.

    Just to recap, SBS and TS in HQ and a decent FW in the branch offices should do the job.

    HTH mate. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  5. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    I was actually thinking of reusing the hardware I have at the moment (5 servers) to some degree. I have hyper-v platform ready with one virtual machine on it in head office. The virtual machine is hardly used so I thought I'd stick a DC on another vm and take the current hardware to another branch to deploy server 2003 there. The whole process of setting up a VPN will take a while as I have to sort out the head office network first so I can start merging the domains. I think it will take long enough to let me get at least 2 new server machines if needed.

    Also apart from 1 company which was bought off not so long ago we're not using exchange yet. So this is not urgent. We're using Goldmine (omg!), but at some point I will try to find a replacement. But first things first! We don't use SQL Server yet as well, but we use hosted mysql databases and php applications which I am going to rewrite for ASP.NET C#/SQL Server and deploy on the Intranet when I finish setting the VPN up (consider ages from now on). This is something I am really looking forward to as it will bring the company to the new level with analysis and reporting services of SQL Server (as compared to hosted mySQL).

    I need storage server in every branch regardless (it is like that now). For example one branch works heavily on large AutoCAD files and nothing else while the other works on decent sized (~20MB/file) files for manufacturing software. So hardware in every branch is approved by the management and also it hasn't been replaced for ages which I brought to their attention and they understand the need of replacing it eventually.

    I was considering TS but didn't really find the use for it as the only common software used by companies within the group is Sage all the other software used differs in branches.

    What other benefits does SBS bring, as for the amount of users the Microsoft licensing options looks really good even in retail versions (SQL Server for 5 users ~ £800, I belive). Same for Exchange.

    To be honest, poor SBS scalability pushes me a bit off. If for example the company grows and I decide to deploy Exchange or SQL Server on seperate physical machine, running only IIS and SQL Server for example I will end up needing to buy the retail version, as I understand.

    Thanks sparky, very helpful advice as always.

    Not to mention that having servers scattered around the area lets me get out of office when ever I want to and gives the reason to keep the company car :D
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  6. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    What version of Server 2003 are you currently using at HQ mate? standard or SBS? Also are you wanting to migrate to Exchange shortly.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  7. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    I have Windows Server 2003 Standard as a DC in HQ and Windows Server 2008 Standard as a virtual host with another Windows Server 2008 on it hosting remote Sage. I think of moving our DC to a virtual machine and taking the hardware to branch that uses Windows 2000 and is to be connected via VPN before other branches.

    Thing is my plan was to deploy Server 2003 on hyper-v create a new domain, set up the trust and slowly move everything to a new domain. When that's done. Take the spare server hardware to branch and set up VPN join newly created domain. By doing this I would save myself a lot of stress as everything could work as it is in the meantime and I could slowly migrate users and what's worst manufacturing software to new domain while keeping things up and running.

    I am yet to research Exchange and what are our needs. It will definately not happen until all branches are connected in VPN.
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  8. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Although you cant set up a trust with SBS I don’t see that being too much of an issue as you are only dealing with 25 users here.

    To start with you could have a SBS 2003 at HQ and then have a DC at each branch office as required. As you are developing on SQL perhaps have a dedicated SQL server in HQ as well.

    Don’t worry about the scalability of SBS, you can get a transition pack if you want to move to a full domain later on.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  9. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    Thanks Sparky.

    Although after some more reading it looks like I'll go for 2003 Standard. You pointed me in a right direction and it looks like 2003 Standard is an overkill but because of network topology and spread of the systems SBS might be a bottleneck in the future. While saying that I will get SBS up and running on Virtual machine today and see how it goes, but I'm leaning more towards standard version.

    Anyways, very helpful advice, something I've been looking for. Thanks again Sparky, you're tha man. Repped
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  10. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    No probs mate, good luck with the migration. :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010

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