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Windows Server Network Upgrade, Basic Q&A RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm looking into the idea of upgrading an existing server network from an old Novell based system to Microsoft.  The current set up is across 7 buildings.  The VPN is only connected by the server machines via remote access, no direct connections to the actual network otherwise.  The server computers run on Windows Server 2003 SP.2.  The actual computers are Intel[R] Celeron[R] CPU, 420 @ 1.6GHz, 1.75 GB of RAM.

    The overall set up is both sporadic and sloppy.  The computers that aren't in the hard-line LAN of the main server computer cannot even access the relevant assigned disk drive by any means (they can use remote access to get into the actual computer, but can't access the drive without doing so), and storage is rather limited.  The buildings are in very distant locations from each other, but modern networks generally don't have such restrictions anyway by my understanding.

    I have some basic questions before I bring the idea up to everybody else.

    Are the current computers fast enough to handle the new kind of network set up?  What OS would be recommended to put on them such as MS Server or MS SQL Server, differences between those two I've never been clear on (and would we need 7 copies or is there an EULA option to purchase one copy for that amount of uses?).  I'd like to have as much info on requirements, paperwork, and costs as possible.   We've got our own tech's that can do this, I just can't reach them easily.  Thanks in advance to those who offer advice, and to those who may tell me this is the wrong forum, please include the correct one so that I can actually post there instead of taking another mildly educated guess.

    I know I may be seeking fairly obvious information, but as commercials put it "what has search overload done to us", and the fact that this is the only site where I find information I know I can trust, I'd like actual answers instead of 30 links to possible answers that I can't verify before it's too late.  Better to get details up front than to need them after the fact.


    May the fleas of a thousand camels feast happily on the lower regions of your enemies. And may their arms be too short to scratch!
    Monday, March 7, 2011 1:24 PM

Answers

  • How many users on the servers and what are the services you need to provide?

    The computers will have no trouble accessing a new network as long as they have an ethernet card, you should be all set.

    From what I can tell, the recommended server platform would be Windows Server 2008 R2.  It will give you many capabilities to work over a slow link.  Things like Read Only Domain Controllers and BranchCache come to mind for starters. 

    MS SQL Server is a database platform not an operating system so that is only a play if you have databases that you want to upgrade.

    If the specs you provided are the server specs then they are pretty low end and would not support Windows Serer 2008 R2 because 2008 R2 requires a 64 bit processor. You can find the requirements at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/system-requirements.aspx. It is hard to say for sure but it looks like you may be able to run Windows Server 2008 server.  The requirements for that are at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/cc196364.aspx. Without knowing what services you need to provide and how many users you are supporting on the server and an idea of how the servers will be positioned (one per building or all in one place) it is hard to provide much feedback.   

    From a licensing standpoint, you can save some money by using Volume licencing. I am pretty sure if you are buying 5 or more of a license, you can use volume licensing.  More info on that can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing.   If you are a school or non-profit there may be more options for you that are even cheaper.

    Monday, March 7, 2011 4:37 PM

All replies

  • How many users on the servers and what are the services you need to provide?

    The computers will have no trouble accessing a new network as long as they have an ethernet card, you should be all set.

    From what I can tell, the recommended server platform would be Windows Server 2008 R2.  It will give you many capabilities to work over a slow link.  Things like Read Only Domain Controllers and BranchCache come to mind for starters. 

    MS SQL Server is a database platform not an operating system so that is only a play if you have databases that you want to upgrade.

    If the specs you provided are the server specs then they are pretty low end and would not support Windows Serer 2008 R2 because 2008 R2 requires a 64 bit processor. You can find the requirements at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/system-requirements.aspx. It is hard to say for sure but it looks like you may be able to run Windows Server 2008 server.  The requirements for that are at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/cc196364.aspx. Without knowing what services you need to provide and how many users you are supporting on the server and an idea of how the servers will be positioned (one per building or all in one place) it is hard to provide much feedback.   

    From a licensing standpoint, you can save some money by using Volume licencing. I am pretty sure if you are buying 5 or more of a license, you can use volume licensing.  More info on that can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing.   If you are a school or non-profit there may be more options for you that are even cheaper.

    Monday, March 7, 2011 4:37 PM
  • Current set up is 7 Server computers, one in each building, most of the buildings are in different towns.  There is an old db program tied into the network, but it's DOS based, written in Clipper back in '89, and depending on upgrade circumstance, it's my intent to just import the old databases into a new Windows program I've been tinkering with, customized to requirements.    It's a weird combination of Windows Server 2003, Novell, some kind of firewall, and an antiquated database manager.

    Currently the only service really needed is just service upgrade, the system is too old to handle much more than Remote Desktop, and then just to get into that db program.  The only part of the server network accessible without remote log in is the server drive.  Anything else would count as an optional luxury, but a great bonus would be if on the main server(located in the office) we could save to the specified drive and it would be visible to other buildings.  Right now only the name of the drive is common, the actual drives seem to be standalone to the individual stores.  If I save a folder on the server drive from my desk, I can't view it in any other building.  End number of users....each building has 3-5 computers, users won't need individual IDs.

    Would it be better to keep the current layout with each store having a computer, or could one main server machine be set up to access those computers via the Internet?  The only reason the VPN exists in its current state is the database system currently in use.  That program is literally the only thing common to the entire network.

    Thanks for the info!  That's about the exact summary I was hoping for!

     


    May the fleas of a thousand camels feast happily on the lower regions of your enemies. And may their arms be too short to scratch!
    Monday, March 7, 2011 4:57 PM