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Learning Windows Server Products


dummptyhummpty
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As soon as I get some extra money together, I'm planning to build an ESXi white box and installed different Windows Server products on it to try and get to know them better and understand how they work and fit together. Are there any websites or books I should read that might have some exercises I could practice? Also, since I won't be able to start this for a few months, is there anything I could do to start planning while I wait? BTW, I have access to all the Microsoft software through my university's MSDNAA.

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Start by building a domain, then and stuff like DHCP, Exchange, Fileservers, a WSUS, WDS etc and learn group policy management. Get hold of some course material for the MCITP Server Admin and Enterprise Admin series of exams.

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Start by building a domain, then and stuff like DHCP, Exchange, Fileservers, a WSUS, WDS etc and learn group policy management. Get hold of some course material for the MCITP Server Admin and Enterprise Admin series of exams.

Ok, thanks. Are those services usually run on separate servers or on one machine? I've got some experience with AD, GP, Exchange and WSUS, but most of our clients are small business so it's usually all on one machine since they can't afford multiple servers.

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Learn on different machines, its what bigger firms will do. Even if you have to adapt to small budgets, you still want your stuff to scale. Usually you would see DE-DAR-DC1, DE-DAR-DC2, DE-DAR-DHCP, DE-DAR-WSUS and so forth, if one box/vm craps out, you only loose once service rather than DELTA going down and you having no DHCP, fileserver or DC.

Also, learn Hyper-V, it is *significantly* cheaper in terms of TCO compared to vSphere (ESX), and your clients will thank you. While its not as mature as VMwares offerings, Microsoft are on to a very strong product with Hyper-V.

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Learn on different machines, its what bigger firms will do. Even if you have to adapt to small budgets, you still want your stuff to scale. Usually you would see DE-DAR-DC1, DE-DAR-DC2, DE-DAR-DHCP, DE-DAR-WSUS and so forth, if one box/vm craps out, you only loose once service rather than DELTA going down and you having no DHCP, fileserver or DC.

Also, learn Hyper-V, it is *significantly* cheaper in terms of TCO compared to vSphere (ESX), and your clients will thank you. While its not as mature as VMwares offerings, Microsoft are on to a very strong product with Hyper-V.

Thanks a lot. You've been a lot of help. Besides what's in your previous post, do you have any information on best practices for splitting things up?

In regards to Hyper-V do you think I should use that instead of ESXi to host my virtual machines?

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I work in an enviroment where I have 70 production servers, multiple EMC arrays and we're also using 6 dual Quad 2.5GHz ESXi servers with 32GB of RAM along side 2 dual quad 2.5ghz Xeon ESXi servers with 16GB of RAM in our comms room alone, with multiple branch offices and 2 other large offices with a lesser amount of the same kit. I have access to over 2000 server licenses for 2008 and 2008 R2, and an unlimited amount of server 2003 licenses. What works for me may not work for you.

In our environment we are running seperate services on seperate servers or vm's. Our branch offices use a single server running ESXi containing a Server 2008 Core RODC (read only domain controller), a Server 2008 Core print server and a Server 2008 file server.

This being said, ideally seperate services should be running on seperate machines, with the obvious exception of domain controllers and DNS. I preffer this approach because you have more redundancy, something I don't think you can ever have enough of personally. For a lab, you can get away with a lot more concurrent services as they won't be used a great deal and often its important just to have it running.

As for ESX/i vs Hyper-V, you should be familar with both but personally I think VMwares stuff is better. But the vSphere package is expensive, running to around $9000 per host in licensing costs alone. Hyper-V is cheaper by far, but a less mature product.

Best Practices make good templates, nothing more.

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I work in an enviroment where I have 70 production servers, multiple EMC arrays and we're also using 6 dual Quad 2.5GHz ESXi servers with 32GB of RAM along side 2 dual quad 2.5ghz Xeon ESXi servers with 16GB of RAM in our comms room alone, with multiple branch offices and 2 other large offices with a lesser amount of the same kit. I have access to over 2000 server licenses for 2008 and 2008 R2, and an unlimited amount of server 2003 licenses. What works for me may not work for you.

In our environment we are running seperate services on seperate servers or vm's. Our branch offices use a single server running ESXi containing a Server 2008 Core RODC (read only domain controller), a Server 2008 Core print server and a Server 2008 file server.

This being said, ideally seperate services should be running on seperate machines, with the obvious exception of domain controllers and DNS. I preffer this approach because you have more redundancy, something I don't think you can ever have enough of personally. For a lab, you can get away with a lot more concurrent services as they won't be used a great deal and often its important just to have it running.

As for ESX/i vs Hyper-V, you should be familar with both but personally I think VMwares stuff is better. But the vSphere package is expensive, running to around $9000 per host in licensing costs alone. Hyper-V is cheaper by far, but a less mature product.

Best Practices make good templates, nothing more.

Wow, impressive setup. I think I'm going to go with ESXi, but I'll figure out away to get some Hyper-V experience. Anything else I should know?

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Wow, impressive setup. I think I'm going to go with ESXi, but I'll figure out away to get some Hyper-V experience. Anything else I should know?

Learn Server 2008 /R2 Core, a lightweight server variant with no GUI. Everything is done via cmd line stuff.

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