DIY for Server Owners


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DIY for Server Owners - Server 2003 and 2008 Index

DIY for Server owners - Owning, Configuring, and Maintaining a Server
DIY for Servers owners - Stand alone server, put one in the closet, lock it up and forget about it. Rack mount Servers range in size from 1 U ( one unit) to a full rack! A Rack is a cabinet that mesures approximatly 7 ft high, 19 inches wide, and 28 inches deep.


Or Mine

Or a bunch of 'em

Why a DIY for Server owners?

In the computing world there are two types of computers, Workstations and Servers.

What is the definition of a server? Well the official definitions such as 2003 Server is: "A computer that serves files, applications, data, and more to multiple computers called clients."

What is the definition of a workstation (or client) such as XP: "A workstation is a computer that modifies data, be it a spread sheet, a text file, a database, a movie, a graphic, surfing the web, or playing a game."

There are different types of servers, data base, file storage, print, Domain Controllers, and web to mention a few of the most common or well known.

Note there are to distinct server operating systems listed here: Server 2003 and Server 2008

Primarily Server 2003 and secondarily Server 2008. There are a lot of similarities between the two server operating systems with a few exceptions.

Why two topics on the same index page? Because the only information I am adding is what I had to research for a long time to find an answer when starting to use Server 2008. As for the normal daily operations of Server 2008 there is an abundance of "how to0's" and "how do I" tutorials. It will be the hard to find stuff like setting up a IIS 7+ and integrating Wordpress to get it operational, or why the #include function stopped working in IIS 7+ and how to fix it. I may do a separate section on the Fix It Blog for Server 2008, I would surmise that by now most Sever 2003 installations have been upgraded to a newer version.

DIY for Server owners because very few other web sites actually have a translated it from geek to everyday English help...


I see some web sites that say you can build a "home server" for less than $30, you can but there are things you need to know about these "cheap" servers: "You get what you pay for!"

If you have a spare computer say an older desktop or even a laptop that is in good condition and you only want to experiment then this would make a good test server to learn on.

The $30 server uses a free Operating System (OS) such as a Linux version. Do you have the time or experience with the OS and hardware to make one of these? Personally I would not trust this type of sever with my data.

Server hardware (you may have to learn about computer parts)  is normally more robust than a workstation, has more hard drives, processors, and sometimes more memory and is more expensive.

Note:My custom made ERD, you can have one also, make it yourslf... or?

I had a customer for one of my e-books ask me how to turn a commercially made external mass storage device into a server.

The product he had held three 1 TB hard drives and to setup the drives you would use a web page interface such as the one you would use for most home/small business routers.

I checked out this device on the manufactures web site and sent an email to their support asking how the web page was configured. It is embedded in the firmware of the device's BIOS and can not be changed only certain parameters such as a partition size, number of volumes, and if the drives were to be used as a RAID array. There is also a low level security page where you can assign user ID's and passwords to access the data.

To access the files you would use a special FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program that is proprietary to the device. (Some are web pages; some are special programs.)

Personally if I was to spend my money on such a storage device it would be in a domain not next to my cable/dsl modem.

These computers also come in two types, Towers and Rack mount. You would use a tower when you only need one or two in a fairly small space. Most Workstations can only have up to 8 Gig of ram, a Server can be up to 1 Tetra bytes of Ram

You would use rack mount when you have more and want them to occupy the smallest space possible. You can put more than ten rack mount computers in the same space as two tower computers. The rack mount computer chassis is manufactured different than the tower computer case, no frills.

I worked in a data center that had over two thousand computers in a 7000 sq. foot space, rows and rows of computers!

How would you build and maintain a Server? With this excellent guide I wrote for the DIY for Server owners DIY for Server owners Guide, soon to be updated for Server 2008 or newer versions...

The main difference between a workstation and a server in the Windows world is how the Operating System is used. Both Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server use the same underlying engine to operate. The difference comes with how the OS (Operating System) is configured and the options that are installed. Even though both XP and 2003 Server come on a different CD or DVD the basics are the same.

DIY for Server owners

Most workstations have only one hard drive, a server can have over one HUNDRED!When you load a computer with say 2003/2208 Server you have more steps to complete than you would with say XP, Widows 7 / 8 /10. The reason is that the computer OS runs almost all programs as a service with out user intervention - in the background. Whereas XP or Widows 7 / 8 /10 run most programs where the user can interact with them - in the foreground.

A few of the things that you would do when installing any server OS that you would not do to a workstation is:

Install a 'Static IP'  - This allows the computer to be at the same IP at all times.

Install more than one NIC - This allows for what is known as Teaming, where two or more NIC (Network Interface Card) are set with the same MAC (Machine Address Code) and IP. Thus increasing the local LAN speed by the factor of the card's speed and cards. Such as two Identical NIC's running at 100 MBPS would yield 200 MBPS for the computer to communicate with other servers/workstations on the LAN. Or you can use the fall over on fail redundancy of the Team setup.

With computers you can also use the smaller condensed "Check list" to accomplish a single repair task.Install  a RAID configuration - Redundant Array of Independent Disks - To do this you require a RAID Controller, once you have the controller configured you have to setup the partitions and volumes on the installed drives for the computer. RAID controllers also come with an Accelerator, the accelerator caches the data for read/write operations making the data transfer faster.

Install any special services (Server 2008 and up these are called Roles) that the Server will preformed - DNS, DHCP, Domain Controller, Web Server, or any of the other functions the computer requires to do it's job.How many network cards does your workstation have? Some servers have over sixteen!

These articles are not meant to be a short cut past the MCSE or the numerous guides for installing and configuring a computer. It is a series of 'How to's...' of problems and configurations I have came across in my career that I had to research to resolve.

DIY for Server owners - For the most part what is written for Server 2003 applies to Server 2008+, finding the application to run for the first time is what I found to be irritating, once you have the OS installed and have set the Roles the server will have; then  your next chore is finding the application for that role. Instead of doing a walk through with all the nitfty images this is a very helpful pdf: "Installing IIS 7.pdf" found on the MS Download Center, a short search will get the link.

The only Role that gave me any problems (more like extreme irritation and heartburn) was the upgrade of this web site from IIS 6 to IIS 7.5 (that comes with Server 2008 R2). So that will be the only added page for configuring a server in this section.

I found adding the application to the start menu convenient once I found where the MS programmers hid it, such as Active Directory Users and Computers, now I click on the Start Menu and there is is.

DIY for Server owners with 2003 or 2008 owners - Index

Before you start your sever build you need to do a few things ... (both)

Pre Build Checklist for your server  (both)

Hardware considerations for a server - Processor, memory, drives, services  (both)

Hardware considerations (both)

Configuration considerations for your server - Designing your network and adding additional computer functions. Configuration considerations (both)
Configuring the RAID for a sever (both)

RAID Configurations (both)

Configuring Teaming for NIC's (both)

Teaming NICS (both)

Configuring your IP (both)

Configuring your IP (both)

Configuring DNS (both)

Configuring DNS (both)

Configuring WINS (both)

Configuring WINS (both)

Configuring a Domain Controller (both)

Configuring a Domain Controller (both)

Configuring  Active Directory Users and Computers (both)

Configuring Active Directory (both)

Configuring DHCP (both)

Server - Configuring DHCP (both)

Configuring a Web Server Server 2003

IIS 6 -Configuring a Internet Information Service

Server 2008+ IIS 7 -Configuring  IIS 7+
Software and Applications (both)

Software and Applications Installation (both)

Tools (only 2003 at this time...)

Your IT Tool Box

Did you know that a seven foot tall Rack can hold up to 40 -  one U - servers?This is a short guide not to be construed as a complete workings of server and domain functions.  If you need more help it is available with the help function. There are very comprehensive books available for a complete run down on how to use Active Directory.



There are more DIY for Server owners server configuration options in the Advanced Sever Section: Server Topics

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