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Windows Server R2

Windows Server R2

Old Jan 20, 11, 12:15 pm
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Windows Server R2

I know I should probably look for Windows Server forums, but my FlyerTalkers never let me down.

I have been running an Ubuntu file server at my dad's office for the last few years, but I want to migrate him to Windows Server. I'll be moving to NYC soon and will have a job, so I won't be able to spend hours troubleshooting things that break. I also want to centralize administration by putting all his desktop PC's on a domain. I know I can do this with Samba, but I don't want to spend the time fiddling with it and maintaining it.

He has about 12 users and 10 PC's. I was thinking of getting him a new server with Windows Server R2 Foundation, which has a hard limit of 15 users. Question: are there other services that run in the background that would count as additional users?

I would love to just buy a copy of Foundation, but it's OEM only. I found a couple copies on Amazon and Newegg, but they're for HP or Lenovo. His existing server is a Dell (and it is listed on MS's website as compatible with Windows Server), so I don't think the install programs would like it.

Basically, this server will be the domain controller and file server. It will also need to run remote desktop so users can access files and telnet into a Unix server on the network. As I understand it, Foundation does all this.

Also, can someone please explain how the licensing for regular MS Server products works? If you do per-device licensing does that mean you have no user accounts? I've read through MS's entire licensing site and still don't really understand.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 20, 11, 12:28 pm
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Foundation is OEM only so unless you're looking to also buy new hardware forget about it. That said, doing anything with a Windows upgrade is generally easier on new hardware rather than in-place so worth considering.

Do they really need remote desktop? Would they be working to get to the files remotely or just internally? If the latter then RDP as a user seems unnecessary.

Regarding Windows licensing there are a few different ways to price it. For most small businesses you end up buying a server license and then either per-user or per-device CALs. Per-user means per named user, regardless of the number of devices. Per-device means as many users as you want but a fixed number of client PCs. If you had a factory environment where everyone has access to file servers but there are only kiosk computers rather than every user having one then per-device makes more sense, for example.

Finally, there is another licensing option that MS offers which is basically renting the licenses rather than buying them. You pay monthly or annually and the costs are relatively low. It scales better for multiple servers and it includes the ability to install multiple servers without needing to keep buying the server licenses. After 3 years, however, you may end up paying more for the same software, depending on how your user base grows and your needs change.
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Old Jan 20, 11, 1:05 pm
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Thanks. I'm open to buying a new server...I've priced out some decent low-end ones with HP and Dell and they're coming in at under $1000 including Foundation.

It's a dental office, so specific users may come and go, but the number of users will stay pretty constant.

As for remote desktop, some users (me, my dad, my mom, and a couple of the front desk personnel) like to connect from home evenings/weekends to maintain files on the shared drive and telnet into the Unix server to check upcoming days' schedules, patient accounts, etc. I do this now through SSH to the Ubuntu box.

When I look at the cost difference, a new server with Foundation is ~$1000, and Windows Server Standard with 10 CAL's (which I suppose I'd license on a per-machine basis) is about $1200. Seems like a new server is the cheaper option. I can put the existing server in the staff lounge and they can use it to field patient calls during lunch.

Renting licenses sounds like it could be interesting. They really only need one server though, so I'm not sure it would be cost effective.

Thanks for explaining licensing.
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Old Jan 20, 11, 1:45 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
As for remote desktop, some users (me, my dad, my mom, and a couple of the front desk personnel) like to connect from home evenings/weekends to maintain files on the shared drive and telnet into the Unix server to check upcoming days' schedules, patient accounts, etc.
So long as it is only a user or two at a time you don't need terminal services licenses; you can just use the regular remote desktop "support" feature that is built in to the OS. Same technology but slightly different licensing.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 3:48 am
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I don't know much about Windows license stuff, but I just wanted to warn you that Windows Server 2008 R2 is 64bit ONLY. If you were planning on updating his existing server, you would want to validate that it has a 64bit capable processor.

As for remote access, there are some interesting things you can do if you have Windows Server. Some of the ones that I'm a little familiar with include Terminal Server gateway (connect to remote network servers using Remote Desktop without requiring a VPN connection), RemoteApp (run a Windows application on a remote machine, but have it appear as if it is running locally), and DirectAccess (VPN without the VPN). I mention these with the caveat that I've used the first two, but have no idea what is required to setup/maintain them.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by dyung View Post
Some of the ones that I'm a little familiar with include Terminal Server gateway (connect to remote network servers using Remote Desktop without requiring a VPN connection), RemoteApp (run a Windows application on a remote machine, but have it appear as if it is running locally), and DirectAccess (VPN without the VPN). I mention these with the caveat that I've used the first two, but have no idea what is required to setup/maintain them.
The first two are generally much more useful in larger, enterprise-wide scale implementations. They more or less compete with the XenApp products from Citrix that larger companies use to provide thin client work environments for their employees rather than the relatively basic stuff the OP is going for.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 7:09 am
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If you are thinking of what sounds like a (for their previous levels of spend) major outlay, keep in mind that SBS7 (now retitiled SBS 2011) is out soon too. If they might want or would actually benefit form any of its features (including some good remote working support last time I looked).

Eitherway, a second server (simple old hardware plus the new one) could also make a lot of sense if you are going to do a domain model, as it lets you have DCs on two different physical boxes and do some cross-back-up etc.

Having been in a similar position of unofficially remotely supporting family businesses, you are on a balancing act the more you lock things down the longer they work without assistance VS the more offen you are needed to let them do things they want to do as a result of the lock down.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 9:23 am
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Have been using SBS2003 since it came out and no problems in 7 yrs. SBS is great since it has built in wizards to do just about everything, so v easy setup. RDP function is handy too.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 9:47 am
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Thanks for the input, all. I wound up getting a cheap Dell server with Windows Foundation Server for $860. Added a RAID controller and an extra TB hard drive so that if the data drive fails, they can pop a new hard drive in and not have any downtime. I think I'll also image the system drive once I get everything set up to make recovery easy if the main system drive fails.

Originally Posted by David-A View Post
Having been in a similar position of unofficially remotely supporting family businesses, you are on a balancing act the more you lock things down the longer they work without assistance VS the more offen you are needed to let them do things they want to do as a result of the lock down.
Exactly! Though I'm luckier in that my dad knows enough to do some admin stuff. It's the front desk people who need to be protected from themselves.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by tkflyer View Post
Have been using SBS2003 since it came out and no problems in 7 yrs. SBS is great since it has built in wizards to do just about everything, so v easy setup. RDP function is handy too.
For anyone who actually knows how to administer Windows the built-in SBS wizards are a horrible PITA. They make things harder, not easier. I hate SBS.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 11:21 am
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What are you planning on doing for backups on this server? RAID protects against a hard drive failure, but doesn't help you in the event of accidental data loss or other system hardware failure.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by JClishe View Post
What are you planning on doing for backups on this server? RAID protects against a hard drive failure, but doesn't help you in the event of accidental data loss or other system hardware failure.
I've been running JungleDisk on the Linux server to remotely back up to Amazon's cloud. I'll migrate it over to the new one.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
I've been running JungleDisk on the Linux server to remotely back up to Amazon's cloud. I'll migrate it over to the new one.
Nice. I've been thinking about using that for my Windows Home Server.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by JClishe View Post
Nice. I've been thinking about using that for my Windows Home Server.
It's been running fine for the last couple years in Linux. I just upgraded the server at my dad's office to the JD Server product, which is $5/month and includes 10GB of storage space. Jungledisk runs as a service on the server and can be managed remotely via a Linux/Mac/Win client.
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Old Jan 22, 11, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
For anyone who actually knows how to administer Windows the built-in SBS wizards are a horrible PITA. They make things harder, not easier. I hate SBS.
I disagree, for those of us who don't have the experience or time it is handy for a small office environment.

More time on running the business and less time on IT overhead.
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