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Microsoft Small Business Server 2000, Part 1
by Andy Goodman

This is the first of a series of articles on Microsoft SmallBusinessServer 2000; the latest version of SBS released a number of months ago. I had hoped to do this article on the process of an online upgrade from SBS 4.5 but I was never able to do a clean upgrade. So instead I will tell you how get it done via a clean install. Please don’t misunderstand; I think this is a great product once it is installed and running. I have been using and supporting SBS since the very first version 4.0, then 4.0a, 4.5 and now 2000. (I will never understand Microsoft’s version numbering algorithm).

To get started the first thing you need to do before you touch anything is Plan. This new version of SBS depends heavily on Microsoft’s Active Directory. One of the first decisions you have to make is the name for your Forest. This is the top level of the inverted tree that makes up the Active Directory. If you have a public domain name such as “company.com” then you will want to make the top-level “company.local”, this is to allow DNS to keep internal resources and external resources separate. Give a lot of thought to this name; it cannot be changed except with a complete re-install of SBS

The next thing you need to plan for is where you are going to put the different components of SBS, unlike previous versions, SBS 2000 lets you spread out over more than 1 drive. Even if you are using a Raid 5 Array (which I heartily recommend) you should break it up into a few partitions. At a minimum I like to make 6 partitions; 1 for the OS, 1 for the Users Data, 1 for Roaming Profiles, 1 for Exchange, 1 for the swap file and 1 for Server Based Apps. This makes backing up and system maintenance much easier. If you are not running on a Raid Array then you will want another one for the Exchange Logs on a different physical drive from the Exchange Database Files.

You are going to need to have in mind 2 username/password pairs for the installation. One for the administrator account, and another one for the Directory Services Restore Administrator. These passwords are not easily changed and will usually break something if you try to change them so pick them carefully.

Now let talk about the hardware and getting it ready. SBS is and has always been fussy about the hardware it runs on. This is due to all of the services and applications running on one box. Take a good look at the HCL which you can find at http://www.microsoft.com/sbserver/evaluation/sysreqs/default.asp and also at the updated release notes at http://microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/TechNet/prodtechnol/sbs/maintain/rnsbseng.asp I promise you if you try to slide past these minimums you will be sorry. Make sure you have an approved network card and that it is plugged into a hub or switch before you begin the install. Also if you have more than 1 nic remove or disable the one that will connect to the outside world. During the install process you only want 1 functioning nic and it must be the one connected to the internal network. As far as other requirements in the real world you will need at least a PIII-500, 512 Mb of Ram, 10 Gig of storage, Microsoft recommends 2 mirrored drives I recommend at least a 3 drive SCSI Raid 5 Array. Yes if you must, it will install to a single drive IDE system. Of course you will need a floppy dive and a CD-Rom drive. And you have to at least have Super VGA 800x600 256 colors at a minimum. Some more good news over previous versions of SBS you do not have to install a Fax Modem during the initial install. It can be added later, just make sure you get one listed on the HCL.

People always want to know what my machine looks like so here is a breakdown of my SBS2000 Server

Cal PC Products 10 Bay Rolling Tower
Intel Pentium III 866 Processor
Intel D815EPFV Motherboard *
512 Mb PC133 Kingston ValueRam
Adaptec 1000U2 PCI Raid Controller
3 IBM DDRS-39130 U2W 9.1 Gig Hard Drives in Fan Cooled Carriers
Plextor UltraPlex 32TS CD-Rom Drive
OnStream SC-50 25/50 Gig SCSI Tape Drive
2 Intel Pro/100+ Management Nics
USR Courier V.Everything External Modem

*Yes this is a desktop motherboard but for my use with only 8 client machines hitting the server it is fine. And about 20% the cost of a server board.

Next time we will go over the preparation for moving the users mail and data to the new machine.

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          **Author and/or Publisher assumes no responsibility, use these suggestions and guidelines at your own risk


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