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Best setup-single server and 6 users.

By dross007 ·
I have a new server and 6 client workstations to setup in a small office. What is the best AD solution to use for such a small setup if any. The website and email for this organization is currently hosted offsite. What about wins and DNS, I heard DNS is a must in 2000. If this was NT4 it would be a no brainer. Any Ideas? Thanks in advance...

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by CG IT In reply to Best setup-single server ...

To run Active Directory yes you have to have DNS service running. Since your question is what is the best Active Directory solution for a small company I'll answer with there isnt a "best" . If someone said "this" is thee "best" 50,000 others with cry out from the bottom of their lungs "NO! it's not" and some might have a point.

You want AD? heck pick up a copy of W2K server and try the thing out. has W2K server for $688.00 USD in their software section. Comes with 5 CALS. Or get a trial version of W2K Advanced Server or Trial version of SBS 2003 server from Microsoft.

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by CG IT In reply to

after you try em out, then you can decide for yourself what fits for your needs.

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by VinnyD In reply to Best setup-single server ...

In most cases the Windows 2003 Small Business Server is the better choice. It retails for $599 for 5 users.

Best of all it comes with Exchange, Outlook 2003 client licenses, Share Point Team Services. It even has a shared fax that all computers can connect to and fax using 1 fax line.

It is a full version of Windows 2003 server with DNS, WINS, etc.

Even if you do not need all the features now, there will be there for future use.

I have a 3 person office and this works perfectly for us. We even have remote access to our local desktops from home using Remote Web Workplace.

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by rasmonis In reply to Best setup-single server ...

AD is definetly the way to go even if your organization is relatively "small". The sooner you set it up and get to know it the better in the long run. No matter which approach you decide to take, plan ahead before implementing.

DNS in W2K is fairly simple to install (practically installs itself) and is an intregal part of AD.

W2K vs W2K3? I cannot say, I have not tested W2K3 yet.


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by Rabbit_Runner In reply to Best setup-single server ...

For a Win2K AD environment, you will need two (2) servers. With only one Domain Controller, if it crashes or the hard drive goes bad, you will be in deep dudu. For the second DC, use a low end system (used). It need not do any work or have any responsibility except to keep a copy of the AD data base. DNS will be required, but I will get to that in a bit.

I assume you will have an internet connection. Hopefully something other than Dial-up. Dial-up will work but it certainly lags for speed when browsing the internet. DSL or Cable will be a good internet connection. Use a Firewall (prefered) or a router (Linksys?) for your internet connection. Make your Local Area Network (LAN) a private IP subnet. Like or The mask would be The firewall or router becomes the gateway.

Important: When you install your server as a Domain Controller, DO NOT make the domain name the same as the company web site. Because this will cause e-mail problems. Use something like MyCompanyDomain.local This information assumes that the company website and email will continue to be hosted offsite.

With AD, you are required to install DNS. This only need to be for the LAN, and it should be setup to forward requests for the internet. WINS is not required if all workstations are Win2k Pro or XP. If they will be Win9x or other, then you should install WINS. DHCP? For that small of a network, it is not necessary.
As far as using an evaluation copy of Windows 2k or 2003 server, I would not recommend it except for testing only. Experience has been that when attempting to upgrade later to the full licensed version, the evaluation expiration date will still cause the server to stop working.
As stated at the beginning, you really need two Domain Controllers. The second one can be a low end computer, simply as a means to keep a copy of your AD database.

Hope these things will help in your plannning.

Michael R.

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by pgm554 In reply to Best setup-single server ...

Forget about M$.Do youself a favor and do Novell SBS 6.5.Retail @$475 for a 5 user ,Xtra user at $59.

Or you can contact a channel reseller and get a free 5 user for the cost of an install.

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