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SBS - situation I'd like comments on

By jennyn ·
I have a client who need a server - probably with SBS 2k3. They have a volunteer (its a nonprofit) who is a PC tech with minimal network experience.

I put in a proposal for installation, including letting him work with me to learn, and even letting him play with the server for a week before the install so he can learn stuff.

But he wants to do the whole install by himself and is telling the manager that it will save them all the money if they don't have to use me.

I'm not attached to doing the work myself, but my opinion has been that since he has no server/nw background or training, I may end up having to fix his installation anyway.

My experience is with installing full version Server and exchange - not SBS.

Question: is SBS so simple an install that a PC tech with no server/domain experience and minimal peer-peer networking experience could do a successful install? or would that setup the organization for trouble?

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by LeoBloom In reply to SBS - situation I'd like ...

Yes he could probably do the install himself. I havent worked with sbs 2k3 but I did work with previous versions. As long as the hardware is decent it should load seamlessly. After the install there is screen that pops up that walks you through the setings for exchange and creating user accounts.

Having said that, they still might call for support because it is not completely idiot proof and I think they only get 1 free support call into MS.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to SBS - situation I'd like ...

if he runs the client setup wizard like he is supposed to he should have minimal problems. are they setting up exchange? sql server? web server? SBS big mistake imho...
let him do it. you can't win otherwise so this only possible way. if makes it thru the install he will need you later for verifyable backups, antispam antivirus protection and 'hardening' the os and sql server and exchange. and the printer installs. and the webserver. and probably dns. just offer lots of free advice and try to be the good guy here. you will reluctantly have to charge them of course. don't take this personal. guys are so territorial. just keep on truckin...be sure to advise putting ALL patches and updates. starting with BIOS and motherboard drivers...

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by HereInOz In reply to SBS - situation I'd like ...

If he is so intent on being the hero, all you can really do is gracefully allow him to do the job, and always be there to help out if or when the situation gets out of hand.

Let's face it, Microsoft released SBS telling everyone that a trained monkey could do the set up and maintenance, but I know of one installation where all the lovely wizards ceased working and the server could no longer be administered at all.

Will they initialise the firewall? Who knows? Will they do many things that they should do? Who knows? The only way that they will find out your value is to try it themselves. If they can do it, they don't need you. If they fail, they will certainly need you, so don't burn any bridges with these people.

It is a bit like someone doing an engine overhaul on their car. If they get it right, they didn't need the mechanic, but if they get it wrong, they most certainly do. But the mechanic can never force them to bring the car to him.

Let them do it, and stay "pleasantly close" so that you get the call when it all goes belly up.

Oh, and tell the bloke to drink plenty of water - if the installation doesn't go smoothly, or they have trouble down the track, he is sure as **** going to be sweating! :)

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by jennyn In reply to SBS - situation I'd like ...

Useful answers so far, just a couple of things
1.
>SBS big mistake imho...
Tell me why - this is not a final decision. I was feeling hardpressed to not recommend SBS for a small organization - but like I say - I'm not experienced with its up/downsides. We'll be installing Exchange.

2. Here's the conundrum The manager trusts me very much. If I say "yes he can do the install" that will be my recommendation, so if he screws up it's me that made the bad recommendation. On the otherhand - perhaps he's right and it will save them money. I'll feel like an idiot if we breeze through the wizard together and it's so easy he passes on up the line that an ameoba could have done the install and saved them the bucks.

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by BFilmFan In reply to SBS - situation I'd like ...

It depends. Yes there are wizards, but setting up Active Directory and Exchange is still a great deal more than just choosing to fill in some boxes.

Once the name for the Excahange organization is put in and OK is pushed, a reinstall is required to change it.

SBS can only support ONE Active Directory domain. Best make sure they get it right.

Will this server be exposed to the Internet? If so, is he ready to have Exchange configured to operate properly with any firewalls they may have?

It is possible for a beginner to do everything right and it to work.

There are far more cases where they do everything wrong and it crashes and burns. I'd advise your client to look at ALL the SBS related messages in this tech forum as examples of where it can go very bad, very quickly.

My advice is to let him do it himself and be available to rescue them when it goes south. That way they the opportunity to learn your real value.

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by jennyn In reply to SBS - situation I'd like ...

Point value changed by question poster.

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