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To get WinServer2003 or not to get - SOLVED


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Hello Windows Server OS groupies! :thumbup

I've been hired to set up a server for a summer internship up here in cool Montreal.

What this server needs is:

1) To be a mail server.

2) To have permission setting for specific files and directories, be it for users, groups or other.

3) To allow for version control system integration.

4) To be secure.

5) Must run in a windows environment to accomodate a windows 32-bit management system (Acomba).

|| Note from July 7th 06:

|| Due to heavy learning in the past few weeks, this list has been changed.

|| Please refer to post #18 for a more accurate list of the current server needs.

What I've researched extensively:

I know that XP w/ SP2 is a very capable OS, but up to now, I have not been able to set permissions as I need for point 2).

What I've researched also:

Point 1) (mail server capabilities)

I heard that there is a 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003. Is that true?

Edited by 1howmanyunamesaretaken?
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Server 2003 will cover most of the roles that you have listed there.

points 3 & 5 would have to be decided by the applications in questions, (the revsion control program and acomba) those would both need to be capatible with 2003, other then that the mail role can be done by 2003 but you only get POP3 and smtp mail option, for imap clients you would need to get something like exchange to install for mail. is there aleardy a network and domain in place? is it 2000 or 2003? there are alot of things you have to know and plan for before introducing something like this into an existing network

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Windows Server 2003 is a fine OS for the roles you listed. Using a Windows client OS outside of Windows 2000 Pro will lead to several problems depending on how many users you have.

Hello Windows Server OS groupies! :thumbup

I've been hired to set up a server for a summer internship up here in cool Montreal.

What this server needs is:

1) To be a mail server.

2) To have permission setting for specific files and directories, be it for users, groups or other.

3) To allow for version control system integration.

4) To be secure.

5) Must run in a windows environment to accomodate a windows 32-bit management system (Acomba).

What I've researched extensively:

I know that XP w/ SP2 is a very capable OS, but up to now, I have not been able to set permissions as I need for point 2).

What I've researched also:

Point 1) (mail server capabilities)

I heard that there is a 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003. Is that true?

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I know that XP w/ SP2 is a very capable OS, but up to now, I have not been able to set permissions as I need for point 2).

To be able to set permissions in Windows XP you need to have your partition formatted as NTFS then you have to uncheck: tools> folder options>View> Use simple file sharing (the latest option down)

Edited by XP_2600
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I know that XP w/ SP2 is a very capable OS, but up to now, I have not been able to set permissions as I need for point 2).

To be able to set permissions in Windows XP you need to have your partition formatted as NTFS then you have to uncheck: tools> folder options>View> Use simple file sharing (the latest option down)

youll also need the professional edition of windows xp

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1) The OS won't prevent that, nor really facilitate it (well, there are some utils that come with it, but they suck). It's somewhat irrelevant. You're looking at mail server software (there are tons of mail servers, for windows or linux or whatever). MS Exchange is pretty more or less the standard app for this under windows (especially because of outlook integration and features like calendaring and such). If you just want mail (and under windows), then there are plenty of other options, like hMilServer (decent, free & open source) and tons of commercial ones.

2) It'll definitely work for that. XP has file permissions (ACLs) indeed (all NT based OS'es using NTFS have that - of course XP's "simple sharing" must be disabled for one's sanity). But that's irrelevant. Using XP as a file server is directly against the EULA (low 10 device CAL limits and such) and probably wouldn't even work -- even 2003 web server ed is crippled (i.e. max 10 UNC connections) so you won't use it as a file server (why let you buy the 400$ web svr ed when they can force you to spend 1000$ for the std ed?) Samba could be an option too (if you have sufficient linux knowledge and can't afford or justify Win2003's costs for a simple/small fileserver)

3) Depends what type of version control you're referring to... If it's made for windows, there should no problems. (It's not like the filesystem has built-in file versionning or such - you need apps to do this). Don't know what for, what app exactly or such (perhaps you had something in mind?) More details needed to answer this really.

4) No problem - as long as it's configured properly (just like for any other OS). Server security is a topic of it's own... Not going to elaborate further (entire books are written on that subject alone)

5) Never heard of acomba before. Looks like a client app. I don't see what it has to do with using a server (perhaps there's a server "back-end" or such... don't know why you'd mention this otherwise).

And like fizban2 said, you don't usually just throw up a server like that (regardless of network setup/existing architecture/whatever). No idea what OS you're running on workstations (is it even windows?), if you already have some server stuff running (AD? DCs? existing mail server? etc). If it's a small shop, SBS could be an option too.

rjdohnert: care to elaborate on the non-win2k pro client problems? I've never experienced or heard of such problems before. Not sure what you're referring to.

Edited by crahak
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Ok guys, I read your replies and they are either

1) Highly helful

OR

2) Highly challenging.

First of all, I'd like to give you guys some information on the network setup.

a. Here is a simple network diagram that represents the network's current state (be sure to read the legend at the bottom). The system has around 10 users, each with their own needs, be it programming, tool design, project management or customer service. The user computers revolve around a machine which will act as a file server, backup server and application server. This machine will have to communicate with a remote machine that hosts the company's e-commerce for file tranfer. Also, the version control system is there to handle concurrent file access and modification.

b. Acomba is an inventory management, order form generating, ... , application that must run on a win 32-bit platform and is run by many users. Meg-order is an ERP-style application that will interact with Acomba and it runs on windows 32-bit.

c. As for being a web or mail server, it's for future purposes mainly and isn't urgent. Though I think that Windows Exchange server 2003 comes bundled with Microsoft Server 2003 or Microsoft small business server 2003.

d. I checked for prices at a local retailer. The prices for SBS 2003 and it's 760$Can for only 5 CALs. That's too expensive if I want 10 of them. (5 additional CALS are 270$CAN) Why did you say that running winxp Pro as a file server was against the EULA? Would it be OK with the 10 comps we have right now?

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Well, if ~1000$ is too much, you might as well just forget about the whole thing really, as there will be lots extra cost unexpected or that you're not planning onto... From server hardware and UPS to other/misc licensing costs, network equipment, man-hours spent working on it (install/maintenance/etc), user/IT dept training or books, extra hardware/licenses if you end up needing more services/power than expected (i.e. the box might not be able to handle mail server + file server + domain controller and all by itself, let alone + web server / database too) and such... And buying SBS is by FAR the cheapest way (Win 2003 standard is like 1000$ + CALs, then exchange is like another 700$ + CALs again, etc) - and you're not even getting the "nice" version of SBS even (I would *definitely* want the premium ed but it's 1500$ instead). 10 CALs will likely not be enough depending on exact setup, best case scenario you'll be one user or one client away from needing another 5 pack (there's 2 types of CALs to choose from) - and I don't know where you're getting CALs this cheap (I'm tempted to think you're mistakenly looking at upgrade CALs - a 5 pack of CALs is more like 450$, so you're already over 1200$)

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version control for documents? no. the closets thing you would get to with that would be Volume Shadow Copy, but that is really more of backup solution then anything else, you would have to look into a 3 rd party system for that, i believe windows Share point services does some limited version control but i guess it would be better if you explained more what you needed the version control for

expect to spend around $2000+ if you want to do this whole server implemintation thing. you will spend around 2000$ in software, be it SBS2003 and CALs or another OS, you also have to take in account the Hardware you need to purchase to run all of this. if this is going to truly be a server it would be better to handle all the costs upfront rather then find out 6 months down the road that this machine and software will not handle what you want it to do

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As fizban2 mentionned, the OS doesn't have version control built-in. From your previous posts, I thought you had special version control software to install on it (wasn't very clear). Sharepoint is a good option for office documents, otherwise (BTW, 4000$ + 70/CAL or so)... There are tons of systems for source code (think of CVS/SVN and all the others), but for just any files, I've never really seen anything (haven't looked extensively though). I don't know why you were even expecting things like this... And most of the versionning systems I've seen were somewhat complex. You might find software that does this, and it just might cost a lot too.

expect to spend around $2000+ if you want to do this whole server implemintation thing.

I'd say more than that... If he wants some directory service (AD/LDAP), Exchange, file server, version control and all - especially if you add web server/DB i.e. IIS/SQL Server or such, then you'd most likely be looking at 2 servers, or a fairly powerful one... (Kinda hard to estimate their use though - very small shop internal use only or internet visitors too? how much mail? etc) 2 servers would mean double licensing costs already.

Then the server(s) themselves (half decent hardware, support, enough RAM/CPU/HD space and all) is gonna be a lot of $ again. Basic Dell Poweredge 830 (w/ P4 3GHz upg, basic 3yr support, 2GB RAM upg - exchange alone can take more than that, no install, no switch, 250GB SATA upg - still not not enough for an actual file server, no extra HDs, no PERC, cd reader only - eek, single NIC, ec) and you've already hit 1800$ or so plus tax. Not exactly a monster. And you still need something to backup (basic tape drive offered is 480$, plus expensive software and 60$ tapes) and a UPS (the one offered on the page is 689$). You'll likely need more HD space, and that's not a whole lot of CPU/RAM, especially if you want the thing to last a while (don't wanna lifecycle it next year). As-is it won't even read install DVDs either. Ideally you'd get the GB ethernet switch too and the dual port NIC, and upgrade to cat5e and other switches as required... And it's sounding like the shop isn't full of IT-types, so extra support/warranty might be a good buy too. And that's still assuming one server handles it all. Nothing rackmount, fancy or anything here yet (about same CPU/RAM as most of my home PCs, but with less HD space and a CD reader only... Sure wouldn't be using this for virtual servers or anything.)

Even if you try to cut some costs (by backing up to an external HD taken offsite or such), it'll still cost a fair amount. That's why I was saying "if 1000$ is too much, just forget about the whole thing". Software, decent server hardware and all the extras WILL cost a whole LOT more than 1000$. And by the sound of it, you might as well add training to the costs. If you're getting that, you're going to need the expertise to use and maintain it. Having it sit there won't do you much good. You need someone able to administer users, mailboxes, and everything else (think windows server/active directory/exchange courses and books and such), which costs quite a bit too. And then maybe the costs of an [extra?] IT guy to take care of it (even if only part time), which still amounts to a bunch more $ (someone to backup the server, schedule tasks, do routine maintenance, fix issues as they arise, backup deleted files from tape, handle "mailbox full" issues, etc). Or perhaps you can have a consultant on retainer or such (still expensive).

A server infrastructure's TCO is far more than just the software licensing costs alone. 1000$ is just a small part of the costs, I think they'd be very surprised if they knew exactly how much it would cost in total for the first couple of years or whatever. In the server space, 1000$ is nothing, we often pay more than that for in software licenses for a single desktop. I think they don't know what they're in for. If that's how the place is run IT-wise, I'd be running out the door right now...

The only option I see left would be using linux (assuming you're a pretty knowledgeable linux guy), using samba for network shares, sendmail et al for mail, typical "LAMP" stack as web server, etc. I wouldn't even try it if you're not much into it (just peek at sendmail.cf for fun). You might get some of it running, but secure, reliable and all... You don't want this box to end up as a open mail relay or whatever.

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:) 2000$ was being on the cheap side and not scaring him... SBS has exchange and SQL built in, if this a shop with only 10 - 15 people accessing only a couple of applications Sharepoint Services will Suffice, it will run on SLQ 2005 Express (which i might add is an amazing little DB) total up SBS and Cals and you can be at aroun 2000$, you are right in the proper scenario were there is a large IT budget involved 2 servers would be the ideal solution (actaully i would go with 4 built that is a coming from a Infrstructure part of me that believes in redundency)

SBS - ~700$

Cals - 10 cals for ~ 800$

5 cals come with SBS and so 15 users will suffice but if they need more that is and added cost,

so feasibly on the low end they could do it with 2000$ for the software but it would be the minimum that they needed

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:) 2000$ was being on the cheap side and not scaring him... SBS has exchange and SQL built in

Standard ed doesn't have SQL Server (nor ISA for that matter)! That's the main reason why I truly would want the premium instead, but it's more expensive (900$ more right off the bat - and seemingly "1000$ is too much").

if this a shop with only 10 - 15 people accessing only a couple of applications Sharepoint Services will Suffice, it will run on SLQ 2005 Express (which i might add is an amazing little DB) total up SBS and Cals and you can be at aroun 2000$

But 10-15 people doesn't really mean much in terms of how much they'll need (you can't even tell for sure if sharepoint is really useful for their particular version control scenario really). SQL express might work OK for small sharepoint installs (again, if they go for that in the first place), but if they need it for hosting their website (not small intranet - on the internet) etc, then it just might not cut it... Very nice DB indeed, but it's still limited.

you are right in the proper scenario were there is a large IT budget involved 2 servers would be the ideal solution (actaully i would go with 4 built that is a coming from a Infrstructure part of me that believes in redundency)

I'm not talking about large shops or redundancy (which is always nice to have). But rather a question of usage. Like I said before, it's not like you can guess exactly how much load they'll be putting on the servers... Even for a very small shop, Active Directory + File Shares + Sharepoint + IIS + SQL Server + Exchange is *really* pushing it (exchange alone is a pretty heavy app that's very RAM hungry). If they're going to send any amount of mail, want decent speeds, host a "real" website and all (a very likely scenario), one server just won't cut it. Ideally, it would be more than 2 servers indeed... But 2 might be the bare minimum requirement (again, no one can reliably guess how much load they'd put on servers based on so little infos - at least if we knew the type of business or something...)

There's that possibility that 2000$ worth of software *might* barely suffice on the short term, but that's a bit of a gamble... I'd rather be on the safe side, and regardless, seemingly they can't afford half that, and hardware and all will cost a lot more too, so mostly irrelevant. I'm also not expecting just any shop with perhaps no IT department to just install/setup/configure/secure active directory, exchange, sharepoint, IIS, MSSQL and all by themselves with no previous experience, training or anything like that...

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allrightie, i read the initial post a few times just to be sure i had everything.

i want to ask this: why not build a high-end pc and run Win Server 2003 on it, then install Red Hat on an old PC and install Scalix? apologies if i missed something, but i am not seeing why the original poster needs to have the mail server running on the same pc that's also acting as a fileserver / running his accounting software. perhaps one day ms will tie their sql product with exchange, which is IIRC JET based right now, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon. in terms of staffing this free scalix solution would require some linux knowhow, but i'm sorta working from the whole 'it's free (as in cost) software' angle here.

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