Deploy the Management Server in Windows Essential Business Server 2008

Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is Microsoft's answer to midmarket technology needs. Here's an overview of the Management Server installation process for EBS.

Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS) is Microsoft's answer to midmarket technology needs. While overall management of EBS is simpler than it is for larger organizations that rely on vanilla Windows, the installation process consists of a number of steps.

In part one of this two-part series on the installation process for EBS, I explained how to run the Planning And Configuration wizard, which is the initial process necessary before moving on to the step that is discussed in this column: deploying the Management Server.

Note: This tutorial is also available as an image gallery.

Begin the installation

Although it has streamlined administration tools, EBS is really just Windows Server 2008 with a set of management tools designed to simplify common tasks; as such, the installation process for EBS begins like it does for any Windows Server 2008-based system: Insert the installation media into the optical media drive on the server and power on the system.

What you see at the very beginning of the installation process is identical to what you see when you install a plain vanilla Windows Server 2008 system, so I won't go over that part here except to note that you simply need to choose an installation method, which should be Custom since this is likely to be a new server rather than an upgrade. Perhaps the most notable difference is the lack of an edition selection page during installation. Whereas a plain Windows 2008 installation asks you to choose the edition you're installing -- Web, Standard, Enterprise, Data Center -- EBS does not ask you to choose.

Management Server Installation wizard

The real installation difference comes into play after the base Windows 2008 system is fully installed. Once that happens, the system starts up and the Management Server Installation wizard begins, starting with the Welcome screen (Figure A). Click the Next button. Figure A

The Management Server Installation wizard's Welcome screen. (Click the image to enlarge.)
With the preliminaries out of the way, the wizard asks you to decide which network adapter you want the Management Server to use for network communications. As you see in Figure B, my lab's virtual machine has a single network adapter from which to choose. If your server has multiple network adapters, all of them would be listed here. After you choose a network adapter, click the Next button. Once you do, the wizard queries the selected network adapter to gather information; then, you're moved to the next installation step. Figure B

Choose the network adapter to use for communication. (Click the image to enlarge.)
The installation wizard needs periodic network access in order to achieve its goals. For example, during the process, the wizard will look for updates that improve the installation process. In order to facilitate this communication, the wizard needs to assign a temporary IP address to the network adapter; this address can be assigned automatically via DHCP, or you can opt to manually assign an IP address (Figure C). Figure C

Choose your temporary IP address assignment method. (Click the image to enlarge.)
With IP addressing out of the way, the installer moves on to ask if you'd like to download updates during installation. In order to maintain a secure system, I recommend selecting the Download And Install Optional Microsoft Updates During Installation (Figure D); once you do, and after you click the Next button, the installation wizard looks for and downloads necessary updates from Microsoft. (This step can take a few minutes.) Once the installation wizard is updated, the system restarts and the installation continues. Figure D

Decide whether to update Windows during installation. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Regardless of your selection on the Microsoft Update screen, the installer requires you to download critical updates that might affect the installation wizard (Figure E). Figure E

Installation wizard critical updates are installed. (Click the image to enlarge.)
If you're installing the management server for the first time, there is a high likelihood that you have yet to create your Active Directory domain.  On the next page of the wizard, you're asked if you still need to create a new forest and domain or if you plan to join this server to an existing domain (Figure F). In my case, I needed to create the domain, so I selected the Create A New Forest And Domain option. Click the Next button. Figure F

Choose whether to create a new domain or join an existing one. (Click the image to enlarge.)
If you're wondering if all of the work you went through during the planning phase was for naught, you're about to find out. When you get to the next page of the wizard, you'll see the Load Planning Data button (Figure G). At this point, you need to make available whatever media on which you stored the planning data from the first phase of the installation. In my lab, I added a second virtual CD-ROM drive to my virtual machine and pointed that drive to the location where my planning data was stored. You can use a disc or a USB key to store the planning data, or you can store the information at a network location. The goal is to point the wizard at the planning file that you created in the first phase. Figure G

Locate the planning data. (Click the image to enlarge.)
You've already decided that you need to create a new domain, so now you need to name it and define the password that will be used for the domain administrator's account (Figure H). After you provide the requested information and click the Next button, the wizard scans the network to make sure that the domain name is not already in use. Figure H

Provide a Domain Name and an administrator Password. (Click the image to enlarge.)
The names you use for your EBSs are important and are defined on the next page of the installation wizard. I named my management server ebs-mgmt, my security server ebs-sec, and my messaging server ebs-mail (Figure I). After you click the Next button, the wizard verifies your server names. Figure I

Provide the names for your EBSs. (Click the image to enlarge.)
IP addresses make network communication possible. When you get to the Assign IP Addresses screen, provide the IP addresses that will be used for each of your services (Figure J). Click the Next button. Figure J

Provide the IP addresses for each of your EBSs. (Click the image to enlarge.)
The installation wizard knows what you want -- it even presents a list of internal network IP addresses for your consideration (Figure K). You can choose to accept this list of IP addresses (which I opted to do) or make changes. Click the Next button. Figure K

Choose how you want to define internal IP addresses. (Click the image to enlarge.)
The Management Server can also act as the DHCP server for your network, or you can choose to continue using your existing DHCP service, as you can see in Figure L. In my lab, I didn't use EBS's DHCP server since I already have one, but in a real-world scenario, I highly recommend that you allow EBS to handle DHCP duty in order to facilitate smoother network communication. If you were to choose the EBS-based DHCP service, you would be presented with two additional DHCP configuration screens (Figure M and Figure N) on which you would be asked to configure DHCP settings, including the name of a DHCP scope, the starting and the ending IP addresses, and the subnet mask and gateway addresses for the new scope. Figure L

Decide how DHCP should be handled on your network. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Figure M

Provide details for a new DHCP scope. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Figure N

The new DHCP scope also needs DNS and address duration information. (Click the image to enlarge.)
File storage continues to be one of the most basic uses for servers; your new EBS needs a place to store its files, and it's up to you to define a volume to use for this purpose. If you have only a single volume in your server, you won't have the option to choose any volume other than the system volume (Figure O). If you know that you have other volumes in your server, click the Disk Management button to initialize and format the volume. Click the Next button. Figure O

Choose the volume on which data should be stored. (Click the image to enlarge.)
EBS includes the Remote Web Workplace (RWW) feature, which provides users with a portal environment used to access resources remotely. The Company Profile page of the wizard (Figure P) asks you to provide some information about your company; this information will be used to generate an SSL certificate for use with RWW. Figure P

Provide company profile information. (Click the image to enlarge.)
The wizard also includes questions about whether you'd like to participate in Microsoft's error reporting service, which automatically sends crash reports to Microsoft (Figure Q), and in the company's Customer Experience Improvement Program, which sends actual usage information to Microsoft to help it develop future versions of Windows (Figure R). Many company security policies prohibit the sending of this kind of information, so choose carefully. Figure Q

Do you want to automatically send crash reports to Microsoft? (Click the image to enlarge.)
Figure R

Does your company want to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program? (Click the image to enlarge.)
After you review your selections, click the Install button (Figure S). You'll see a progress screen (Figure T) that shows how far along the installation has progressed. The installation can take hours. Also, your server may reboot multiple times during the installation. After each reboot, the installer picks up where it left off. Figure S

Review your selections and click the Install button.
Figure T

A progress bar lets you know where things stand. (Click the image to enlarge.)
At the end of the installation, you'll see the Continue Installation screen (Figure U), which indicates that the Management Server has been installed but that you still need to deploy the Security and Messaging Servers. Figure U

It's time to move on to the next server installation. (Click the image to enlarge.)

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By Scott Lowe

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...