TwoJ

Server Setup On A Raptor

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Hi

I've got to setup a Win2k server on a 74GB raptor which will have about 50 Clients & be running MS exchange.

I am just wondering what is the best way to partion the drive, or does it need to be partioned at all? There are other drives for storage. This computer may also host the web & FTP server as well so I am also concerned about security.

Would it be better to partition it to C & D, install the OS in C and possibly any critical softwares (MS exchange, office) in C, and any other software in D (apache, ftp server)? While this will not be used much for personal use should any documents be placed on another partition or within the C or D partition?

While this setup really needs another server this is what I have to work with, so I really could do with an administrators knowledge about what kind of setup works for security, speed, and future expansion.

Thanks

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web and ftp can be handled by a p200 running bsd/linux. i never partition my servers, i just use quotas and exchange storage limits. is this drive mirrorred? consider using small business server 2003 instead of standalone 2k products if you haven't yet made a purchase; it's $600 with a 10-user license and has more than just win2k3 server and exchange 2k3 server.

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I think it is better to use SBS Server 2003 too. You did not mention if your web and FTP server is meant for the Intranet or will be accessible by users on the Internet. If it is an Intranet server, then having all the servers on the same box is not a big issue as 50 users should not really stress the server too much if they are mainly using Office applications. A 2.8 GHz Intel Xeon or 1.8 GHz AMD Opteron machine with 512 MB RAM will be sufficient for this kind of processing.

Hard discs should be mirrored as you do not really want to be losing email databases should you encounter disc failure. If your discs are mirrored, then partitioning should not be necessary.

One other point to note - you should not install Microsoft Office on the server as it may affect the operations of the Exchange Server. I encountered errors during the beta testing of Office 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 on the same machine and Microsoft does not recommend that Office and Exchange reside on the same machine. However, if you use virtual machines (e.g. VM Ware), it should be OK to run Office in a different virtual machine.

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Yes the drive will be mirrored

Unfortunatly the licences are already fixed so I have to work with 2k.

The Web & FTP will be available on the internet but are not expected to have too much traffic at this point - If the demand is too much then we would probably get another machine to handle just that.

I was just talking with a friend who is an admin, and he said that he puts his exchange database on a seperate partition because it has more disk access and needs more defragging than the OS partition.

The matter of not installing office on the machine bothers me since I occasionally will have to use the machine and need the regular office programs (word, excel, pp). Can someone confirm this - usually MS products play happily with each other. I could see perhaps outlook having a problem with exchange being on the same machine, but still!

I just thought partitioning the drive would be good for security in terms of that some people will have access to this machine and I wanted to give them access to certain programs like the webserver or ftp server but not to the OS or exchange - I thought that would be a bit easier if they were on different partitions?

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it is a bad idea to install any office products on a server

Why?

Also SBS includes Outlook, and Frontpage (not sure if that is a real office program)

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it's outlook specifically that's frowned upon, because it installs hooks that change the way the entire system 'sees' email. there have been exchange+specific service pack/outlook+specific version combinations in the past that would make the exchange services fail after outlook was installed (and require a re-installation of exchange).

as for office apps, it's more of a philosophical thing. a server should serve. i don't like having end-user apps on my servers just because i like to have as many unregistered filetypes as possible. you can have a billion excel spreadsheets with macro viruses on a fileserver, but as long as you don't open them the server won't be infected.

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Well I can see the problem with having exchange & Outlook on the same server more than any other office program - which is probably the program which I do not have to install on the server, but I still find it odd that if there is a problem why they include Outlook in the SBS along with exchange?

Well I tend to agree, and if I had a bigger budget then I would love to have a dedicated machine just as a server, but the truth is that sometimes this machine will be needed for doing some light typical use (word, excel, email, web).

I am very cautious about security, hense the reason I wanted to partion up the drive for permissions.

So people think that I should just leave the drive as one partion and install everything on it?

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Outlook in the SBS along with exchange

MS includes the Outlook software so you can install it on the clients. What's the use of having Exchange if there are no clients to use it. MS clearly states that Office products should never be installed on a server.

Whether you partition or not is basically up to you. In terms of security, the most important thing is that you never share out the root of the drive or partition. Only share folders. To the clients they won't see any difference as they are going to be mapping to \\servername\sharename and that has nothing to do with partitions or the like.

Personally, I probably would create two partitions, C for OS and program installations, D for data, exchange data, etc.

Good luck.

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why they include Outlook in the SBS along with exchange?

for the client systems.

Well I tend to agree, and if I had a bigger budget then I would love to have a dedicated machine just as a server, but the truth is that sometimes this machine will be needed for doing some light typical use (word, excel, email, web).

and that is a terrible idea. you can get an office pc from dell for less than $300 after rebates. you can remote desktop to other machines in the office.

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I think you should forget about using Office on a server - remember, when I was beta testing Office/Exchange 2K3 I merely set out to prove MS right or wrong as I wanted to verify for myself that it would not be feasible to run the client and server together on the same machine. It was not on a production server!

If you remember, when Novell was the leader (with Novell NetWare) in PC networking, it was not possible to run any applications other than server applications on a NetWare server. There must be a reason for that restriction, right?

You mentioned that you take security seriously - well, the best security is to only run services that are absolutely essential for the operation of the server and nothing more or less. If you install Office, there will be lots of other DLLs and services turned on the support Office, and this may compromise server security.

If your organzation has old PCs - any Pentium, PII or PIII machines - just grab hold of one of them and use them for your Office work! Those machines are plenty enough for your needs.

As for paritioning, it is something of a personal preference. I usually prefer to have one partition for my OS and programs (but this is not essential) and another for data. This is to ensure that I know where all my data is stored and it makes backing up a bit more organised. Also, if I had to reinstall the OS and applications, I won't be accidentally deleting data files...

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If you MUST use the config mentioned above, add as much RAM as possible and make sure it is ECC memory. A good UPS is also a MUST as well.

For Exchange (especially with 50+ users!) we like to use mirrored SCSI OS and separate (mirrored or even RAID 10) disks for log and database files. A hot spare for EACH member is also a requirement for best availability. Yes it can get expensive but do you really want angry users breathing down your neck while you try to get an Exchange box back up?

Never mind when you have to run eseutil and isinteg to repair your database after it gets corrupted from doggy (non server) hardware. (cough}highpoint controllers(cough). What version Exchange? That 16GB limit will come fast with 50 users with the non enterprise version so you better have a strict archive policy in affect. I'm sure the real Exchange Admins (Honold?) can discuss this in more detail...

Cheers!

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I hear good things about groupwise.

Whatever, it's best to partition your disk with one partition for the OS and another for data. Where you put your apps depends. I'd put them on the second partition. Data grows and I'd hate a server going down because the OS partition is full. Sometimes a virus on a client machine can crash a server when it keeps writing data to a shared folder on the OS partition.

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