Setting up SBS 2008

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by philo, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. philo

    philo Guest

    I know this is not an active group but I have a few very basic questions
    for the couple of old timers who may be hanging on here.

    I do volunteer work for a small, local NPO and up until now have limited
    my help to that of repairing their workstations...but they now need some
    maintenance on their server running Windows SBS 2008.

    The outfit that they are paying for support is doing a rotten job and
    charging them a ton of money.


    So far I've found the unit on a horribly undersized UPS and worst still
    they had the server plugged into the MOV protected outlet NOT the UPS
    output.

    They had not applied a Windows update in six months...and their Norton
    Security expired about that time too.

    Finally, they use WD Enterprise drives which had warnings in the control
    panel about incorrect drivers.


    I have all of the above now fixed...but as to how a server actually
    operates...I need some help. I also know better than to touch anything
    unless I am completely sure of what I am doing.


    They let me take their de-commisioned server home to learn more and here
    is where I am:



    I have the server in my workshop connected to a network switch and have
    a Win7 machine also connected to the switch. The switch is also
    connected to my home router.


    First thing I did was make sure the Win 7 machine and the server can see
    each other on the network and share files. That's all fine.

    The server is back to it's original default setting with the domain
    demoted and set to DHCP.


    Though the NPO is a small outfit, the firm that set this up is using a
    domain...so I wanted to duplicate that at home so I could understand
    what is going on.


    As soon as I manually apply DNS settings, the server no longer can see
    the other machine (though the Win7 machine can still see the server)
    plus the server loses connectivity with the WWW.

    Any advice on how to proceed?

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    philo, Nov 29, 2013
    #1
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  2. philo

    Joe Guest

    Here's where the action is now:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=smallbusinessserver

    You'll need a Hotmail/Live/Microsoft Account/Whatever they call it
    today in order to post.
    By necessity: SBS is *not* Windows Server, it is a network appliance
    built on a modified Windows Server. SBS *must* be a domain controller,
    and hold all the FSMO roles i.e. there can be another domain controller
    which isn't SBS (only one SBS to a domain) but the SBS must be in
    complete charge. No trusts with other domains, it is only for *small*
    businesses.
    SBS *must* be the *only* DNS server used by itself (it can have
    forwarders but not backup DNS unless replicated from itself) and its
    workstations, and should ideally be the DHCP server. If something else
    does DHCP, it should supply the additional information which SBS does,
    and the network will have a little more traffic as SBS will need to
    scan the network periodically by broadcast to find its workstations. If
    SBS does DHCP, that talks to DNS.
    To be honest, give Microsoft some more money, and also the excellent
    Charlie Russel (who may still look at this group occasionally...) by
    buying The SBS2008 Administrator's Companion. It's not all there is to
    know, but it covers a range of experience from SBS beginner upwards. My
    copy is in front of me at this moment, as I'm currently recommissioning
    a crashed SBS2008.
     
    Joe, Nov 29, 2013
    #2
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  3. philo

    philo Guest



    Ok, I think I see the problem...
    the NPO is using SBS as I've mentioned but my test machine is just
    running Windows Server 2008


    I did pick up the Charlie Russel book from Abe Books for just $3

    I will bring it with me on Tue when I go back in there and just make
    note of all settings.


    Thanks for the help and believe me if I don't know what I'm doing I'm
    not going to fool with anything...but the place they are paying seems to
    know less that I do.

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    philo, Nov 30, 2013
    #3
  4. philo

    Joe Guest

    You're welcome.. the other vitally important piece of advice is to use
    the SBS Management Console and wizards as far as possible, use the
    Windows Server Console and Exchange Manager only when you have to.

    There's a great deal of scripting going on, and there's no point in
    trying to fight it. You really can't get away with doing most of the
    things you can do to a Windows Server.

    There are a few other oddities, such as needing a /24 netmask, needing
    a private address for itself, being violently ill if you put in more
    than one network card, and... the web forum is good, and many of the
    people who were here on this group are still there.
     
    Joe, Nov 30, 2013
    #4
  5. philo

    philo Guest


    I think I am going to pursue this issue and learn how to setup a server
    before I even attempt to learn SBS.


    My most basic question is: Why does the server loose sight of the other
    machine if I simply assign DNS manually rather than use DHCP?

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    philo, Nov 30, 2013
    #5
  6. philo

    Joe Guest

    Because no other DNS server anywhere on the planet knows the address of
    workstations, only the SBS DNS server, and then only if it has either
    issued them itself or is explicitly told about them by manual entries.
    You can certainly assign workstation addresses manually, but even then
    the best way is to leave everything on automatic, and make reservations
    for the MAC addresses in the DHCP server, with whatever IP addresses you
    want.

    All sorts of things will break if the SBS isn't the *only* DNS server
    listed for itself and its workstations. This is the First Law Of SBS.
    If another server is listed anywhere, and the SBS DNS server is a bit
    slow replying, then the client (even if it is the SBS itself) will
    switch to using the backup, and will only switch back after some time
    has passed. Odd things will happen during this period, which won't
    happen at any other time, and are practically impossible to
    troubleshoot.

    If anyone raises problems with odd network behaviour in the forum,
    the first question is always: 'Is the DNS setup right?'
     
    Joe, Nov 30, 2013
    #6
  7. philo

    philo Guest

    That answers a question I had a while back when my ISP went down .


    Odd things will happen during this period, which won't

    My DNS setup is obviously wrong, so I should just leave it as DHCP?

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    philo, Nov 30, 2013
    #7
  8. philo

    Joe Guest

    Best practice:

    SBS has static IP address on its only network card, set manually

    SBS network card has *only* this address shown as DNS server

    SBS DHCP service runs, and there is no other DHCP server in network

    All workstations are set to get address and DNS server automatically

    Workstations do not have manual DNS or WINS servers configured

    Neither SBS nor workstations have any entries in the hosts file, apart
    from the IPv4 and IPv6 localhost and the comment lines

    As to this last point, if you're taking over someone else's network,
    you don't know for sure there are no entries here, so it's best to
    check. There are all kinds of reasons for making a quick and dirty fix
    by putting things in this file, and someone who doesn't know that this
    has happened can spend a long time trying to track down some really odd
    DNS behaviour. If you ever need to manually add DNS records, do it
    properly in the SBS DNS server. Most of the other points here happen
    automatically when you install a new SBS and PCs, except for disabling
    any other DHCP server, but when you take over an existing network,
    you've no idea what state it is in. Everything here needs to be checked.

    All new Windows computers are by default set to get TCP/IP
    configuration from DHCP, so a new PC will Just Work when plugged in. If
    you need any workstations to have fixed addresses, (SBS doesn't) then
    configure reservations in DHCP to do that. Chapter 19 in the
    Administrator's Companion covers DNS and DHCP tasks.

    If you have other network hardware which need fixed addresses and which
    SBS and/or its workstations need to talk to, such as printers, again it
    is best to leave them on DHCP and set reservations for them. If they
    cannot use DHCP, then set a fixed address which is outside the DHCP
    pool. If they need DNS, set them manually to use the SBS.

    If you have other network hardware which does not need to communicate
    with the SBS, such as a VOIP system, it's OK to give that a fixed
    address manually and make sure this address isn't in the SBS DHCP pool.
    This particularly applies to the Internet router, which will not
    normally be able to use DHCP, nor would you want it to. It *will* have a
    DHCP server, which will be enabled by default when new or after a
    factory reset, and this should be disabled. The router will normally
    pick up its own DNS servers on its external interface by DHCP from the
    ISP, this isn't a problem as it will never need to connect to the SBS or
    workstations by name. If you configure DNS forwarders for the SBS, it
    is best not to use the router as one, as the small ones don't tend to
    have very good DNS servers.
     
    Joe, Nov 30, 2013
    #8
  9. philo

    philo Guest



    OK I am going to quit racking my brains and just have a look at the
    server on Tue and see how it's set up.

    I suspect that for such a small operation SBS may have been over-kill

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    philo, Nov 30, 2013
    #9
  10. philo

    Joe Guest

    That is exactly who it's aimed at: businesses so small they have no
    in-house IT expertise at all, not even someone's twelve-year-old son.
    Once it's running, and has a big enough hard drive, it doesn't need
    that much attention. Exchange... now that *is* overkill, for anyone
    smaller than Microsoft itself, but there is no other MS mail server.

    I have to admit, as a one-man-band, even when I had a license to use
    SBS, I didn't. I've run a Debian Linux server for the last ten years,
    which does pretty much what SBS does, using a fraction of the
    resources, and needing even less attention.

    Best of luck, and when you have some difficult problems, try the web
    forum. I don't really have the depth of experience with anything later
    than SBS2003 to deal with most of the troubles of the later models.
     
    Joe, Nov 30, 2013
    #10
  11. philo

    philo Guest


    Well the NPO has five or six critical machines that are on the domain
    and the outfit that set it up has now quoted them $18,000 a year for
    maintenance ! Absurd of course.

    I know darn well I can keep them going unless there was a catastrophic
    failure. I am quite good at hardware repair but setting up a server
    would be a whole new area for me.


    I think I may very well see how to setup a Linux server and eventually
    go that way. I've been using Linux at least part time since about the
    year 2000...but have not had any experience with servers. Probably time
    to learn.


    At any rate, I will have to carefully document all the settings so that
    if the whole thing ever would go down, I will have less left to trial
    and error.

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    philo, Nov 30, 2013
    #11
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