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Old 06-10-2007, 11:05 PM   #1
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Default Anyone have advice for creating a client/server network?

At the flight school we have about 12 machines interconnected in a peer-to-peer network, and the school is outgrowing this kind of setup. Myself and another guy have been given permission to set up a client/server network for the school, but I have very limited experience with this type of thing. We want a system where everyone has to log in to use each individual machine, as well as a folder designated as a storage "drive" on the server for each individual user. We also want limited privileges for each user, because we're tired of each machine getting clogged up with useless toolbars, utilities, spyware, etc. that comes with having unrestricted public computers.

From what we have researched, I am under the impression that Windows Server 2003 should give us the capability to do most of the things I listed. We're not entirely sure how the physical network should be set up, though. The server needs to be connected to some kind of switch where all the machines are plugged in, but we don't necessarily want all internet queries to go in and out through the server because that might slow down internet access (unless there'* no other feasible way to do it). We plan on building our own server machine with off-the-shelf parts from Newegg unless there is a more advisable course of action. Our machine will probably use an AMD processor (one of their AM2/Socket 940 dual cores), at least 2 gigs of RAM, and 2 SATA hard drives running RAID 1 (or RAID 0... whichever one creates a duplicate image on both drives, I forget ).

I'm looking forward to this project because I'll be making some decent money, and I also think it will be a lot of fun. If anyone has some suggestions or good resources to link us to, I would be most appreciative. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2007, 11:50 PM   #2
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Learn all you can about domain log-on, setup etc, maybe get a book, for dummies or otherwise.

Learn permissions as well. This is key.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:04 AM   #3
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**cough**
linux server ftw
**cough**
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sqela
**cough**
linux server ftw
**cough**
Yeah, yeah... I know. But I'm not always going to work at that school, and we need a system that will be easily maintained by others that come after me. The sad fact is most people don't know how to use Linux. Including me

But seriously, I know it'* a better option. Just not practical right now.
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Old 06-11-2007, 06:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Anyone have advice for creating a client/server network?

Ok, Server 2003 is one possibility. The older Server 2000 is another (cheaper to license)

First, you need one physical server. It can be a regular PC. I doesn't need to be the greatest, it just has to run reliably. Next you need a switch (to provide the interconnection between all the PC'*...you may have this already since you have PC'* talking to one another already.) And last, you need a router on the network, which you may also have already if the PC'* can get to the internet without using dial-up modems in their guts.

To set it up, start with the router and the switch. In a lightweight network enviroment, the router can do the tasks of routing to the internet, providing addresses to other PC'* (DHCP), and translating names to addresses on the internet (DNS). In a broadband home setup, the little router you have does all of this as well, just for one PC...the same thing happens in a larger network with multiple PC'*. (In a lot of cases, you can use the same kind of home router...even one with an integrated switch...as the starting point to a larger network.)

Once you have the router working, so a pc can turn on, get an address, and access the internet, move on to setting up the server.

When you set up the server, the "roles" you want it to have are (using microsoft speak) 1.) File Server (shared server folders for files)
2.) Print Server (share printers defined on the server with other PC'*)
3.) Domain Controller (Give the network a name and pull all the login names/passwords to a single spot.)

With the server setup, last stop is to go to each PC and have them join the domain (control panel, system applet, computer name tab)

At that point, the login in'* you set up on the server can be used on each pc.

There'* some other things you can set up if you choose, but that'* the basic steps to creating a local network, with common logins, and internet access via a router.


An example of typical settings for TCP/IP look like this:

The router'* LAN side address: 192.168.1.1 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. DHCP range of, say, 50 addresses starting at 192.168.1.100 (You can check the manual for the router...this is usually what they are set to when they come out of the box....which means you have less to configure later if the router ever dies and needs replaced with another one.)

The router'* WAN side is defined by the internet service provider it is connected to. (In a lot of smaller routers this setting is automatic, it will get this info when it connects to the outside world.

On the server: set a static address of 192.168.1.2, subnet 255.255.255.0, and a Default Gateway of 192.168.1.1 (same IP address the router has)...this shows the server where the packets have to go to get to the internet through the router. DNS values will be either 192.168.1.1 (again, the routers address) or the numbers provided by the internet service provider. By setting a static address on the server, the task of finding it on the network becomes easier for each PC.. like the router the address is fixed. Any network printers should also be set with static addresses outside the range of addresses handed out by the router through DHCP.

On the workstations, leave the settings on for DHCP...they will get their addresses from the router when they come up on the network. The first PC will draw an IP of 192.168.1.100, the second 192.168.1.101, and so on... you can use the dos command IPCONFIG /ALL to see what each PC drew as an address when it turned on.
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Old 06-11-2007, 06:39 AM   #6
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Damn, Curt! Thanks for the overview! That helps me get the bigger picture about what we want to do. I'll be sure to have my buddy read this before we dive into anything. Again, much appreciated!
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:14 AM   #7
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Win2k Server/Pro will pretty much do most of what you want by default.

Use the quick run-down above, and the advice on at least a "Windows Networking for Dummies" book to help fine tune everything.

I would suggest setting up a miniature version of your network (server and a couple or three WS'*) for testing before you roll it out to the public. If you don't have everything as secure as you want it, and a computer savvy person gets in on the ground floor, you may not be able to restrict them at all.
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:59 PM   #8
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Good thought on the testing, John. I'll be picking up a book within the next few days, then get started with the build when I have a reasonable understanding of the process.

Quick question... does every server OS require you to buy licenses for each client? Also, is there a way to set up the client/server framework, but still leave a provision for other computers (laptops, etc.) to access the server without being restricted by permissions and such? I'm sure I'll find all this out when I buy a book... just looking for instant answers
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:23 PM   #9
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another thought on the test idea too. not only is it a good idea for security but if you have trouble getting things figured out you don't shut them down for days while you work out the bugs. might not make to many friends if you do that.
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big_news_1
Quick question... does every server OS require you to buy licenses for each client? Also, is there a way to set up the client/server framework, but still leave a provision for other computers (laptops, etc.) to access the server without being restricted by permissions and such? I'm sure I'll find all this out when I buy a book... just looking for instant answers
Hmmm...yes and no....The Windows model uses two different schemes..by connection (seat) or by server. They typically sell Server 2000 and Server 2003 in a 5-user pack. And you should have licenses for each user. In reality, it doesn't ask you to enter the keys for each license....let your concience be your guide....the OS will never tell you you don't have enough paper license keys to support the number you told it it has.

Other OS'* do it differently. Linux servers are wide open, others are more strict about the seat count running on the server.

In my opinion, if you paid for x number of Windows XP licenses for the workstations, I would consider just setting the server into per server license mode and not worry about it (Microsoft bled you pretty well on the workstations.)

Thin clients are were you can get into screwy legal issues...the workstations don't really have their own OS in these setups..right after the hardware POST, they are doing a network boot to an image from the server, then run a terminal session on the server (i.e...the actual OS for the workstation is on the server itself, not on the workstation.) All the thin client does is serve as a smart display, keyboard, and mouse for a session...so it'* like running another copy of the server'* OS. (Try to keep track of that


Now, to answer your second question, Yes. If you want a PC to be able to talk to the domain server without joining the domain, it is possible. Set the Workgroup name to the same name as the domain. You'll appear to be part of the domain, without having to use the domain login. (It'* a built in "feature" of 2000 and 2003 server that allow older PC'* who'* OS can't support the domain login to still connect...While intended to support Windows 95/98/Me/NT & 2000...it also works with XP and Vista too...kinda handy.)

When you want to connect to a server resource, like a shared folder, you will still have to authenticate using a valid domain login. You can just type in your user name in the form "MYDOMAIN\myname" where "MYDOMAIN" is the network domain and "myname" is a valid user account. Then tell it to remember the password.
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