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Workgroup or Active Directory?

    Question

  • This question is about Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard.  The server is being setup in a small company with 12 employees.  Each employee has their own computer.  Some of the computers are desktops, and some are laptops which the employees take home with them every night.  All of these users computers are running XP SP3, but they will be upgraded to Windows 7 Professional later this year.

    The sole purpose of the new server is to act as a central location for all company files.  Each employee will have a userid and password to the server to access these files.   Appropriate levels of permissions will be given to each employee to grant or restrict access to certain shared folders on the server.

    My questions are these:
    1.  For this environment, would it be better to setup a domain with Active Directory, or would a simple Workgroup suffice?
    2.  If I use a domain with AD, how will this affect the user when they power on their laptop computers at a remote location and they are not connected to the domain?  Will I have to train the users to logon to their local computer when they are out of the office and then logon to the domain when they are in the office? 
    3.  All other things being equal, does it take any longer for a computer to boot up as a member of a Domain vs. as a member of a Workgroup?
    4.  Are there any roles I need to add to the server other than the "File Sharing" role?  My thoughts are to keep it simple and only add the roles I will be using. 

    Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts on these questions.  I have done, and continue to do research on the internet to find answers to these questions.  However, I would like to benefit from the collective "real world" expertise represented here!
    Monday, February 22, 2010 6:40 PM

Answers

  • I wouldn't say there's *no* going back. I don't think you or the org would want to. When / if you go to a domain you'll want to provide DNS and DHCP services from the Domain controller(s). DNS and AD Domain Services are tightly bound and DHCP is just a natural fit.

    12 employees is a nice entry point into Small Business Server and provide Exchange email, remote web workplace, and sharepoint colaboration on a single server with the premium edition tossing in a second server license and a full blown SQL 2008 server as well.

    Have a look at the MS product site to see if beter fits the orgs needs.

    http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/server/default.aspx#overview

    /kj
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:25 AM
  • I'd configure DNS on the server and add the ISP DNS addresses to forward lookup zone.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc759550(WS.10).aspx



    Regards, Dave Patrick .... Microsoft Certified Professional -Microsoft MVP [Windows]
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:20 AM

All replies

  • 1.) I'd go with AD/domain setup. It will make life easier from an administration stand point.
    2.) You can always logon with cached credentials when not connected to domain. (article is for 03 but is basically the same)
    Cached credentials security in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, and in Windows 2000
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/913485
    3.) Shouldn't make an appreciable difference.




    Regards, Dave Patrick .... Microsoft Certified Professional -Microsoft MVP [Windows]
    Monday, February 22, 2010 10:14 PM
  • Concure with the AD Domain Services. Also likely will want DHCP, DNS which will come with AD, and possibly WINS. You may want to add centrally managed printers, and eventually Sharepoint too.
    /kj
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 3:13 AM
  • Dave and Kevin ...

    Thanks for your helpful replies.

    The more I think about it, I agree that AD/domain is the way to go.  Especially if the organization grows much beyond their current size.

    I assume that, once I select AD then there is no going back?

    Kevin, you mention DHCP and DNS.  Currently, the client computers get this info form the router.  Is there any reason for this to change?  I guess what I'm thinking is this --- if the server is down, at least the users would still be able to access other devices on the network as well as the internet if I keep the router in charge of DHCP & DNS.


    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:47 PM
  • I wouldn't say there's *no* going back. I don't think you or the org would want to. When / if you go to a domain you'll want to provide DNS and DHCP services from the Domain controller(s). DNS and AD Domain Services are tightly bound and DHCP is just a natural fit.

    12 employees is a nice entry point into Small Business Server and provide Exchange email, remote web workplace, and sharepoint colaboration on a single server with the premium edition tossing in a second server license and a full blown SQL 2008 server as well.

    Have a look at the MS product site to see if beter fits the orgs needs.

    http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/server/default.aspx#overview

    /kj
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:25 AM
  • I'd configure DNS on the server and add the ISP DNS addresses to forward lookup zone.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc759550(WS.10).aspx



    Regards, Dave Patrick .... Microsoft Certified Professional -Microsoft MVP [Windows]
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:20 AM