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  • Looking for advice on next upgrade

    Hello all,
    Been lurking for a while and will continue to search and read what is on these forums, but was wondering if it would be allowable to post a link to an audio screencast to better explain what it is I am trying to do. I don't want to waste your time so I thought a screen cast would be more beneficial. Is this OK? I promise not to be too long winded.

    Thanks

    Philip

    P.S. Not even sure which forum to post the link since my question is pretty general.
    Last edited by fairlane; 27th April 2009, 18:55.

  • #2
    Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

    Given the risk of spamming the board (and your subsequent ban ), IMHO it would be better to post a description.
    Also some members are not native English speakers or are using low bandwidth connections.

    I will raise this post with other mods as well
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

      Ossian,
      Thanks for your quick reply! No worries. What ever you decide is fine. I just didn't want to write some long winded description and bore everyone. I will be brief either way.

      thanks,

      Philip

      I certainly do NOT want to cause concern for spamming (wouldn't even know how to)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

        Lurk for a while and you see all sorts of spammers, normally ex-spammers very rapidly afterwards!
        Tom Jones
        MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
        PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
        IT Trainer / Consultant
        Ossian Ltd
        Scotland

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

          OK, for the benefit of those who may not have broadband, I will write my description. Hopefully it won't put anyone to sleep. I will start with my setup and then describe what I want to do:

          I'm a public librarian in New York and our library is a small-to mid-size building (with three floors) I do librarianship work (reference, collection development, etc) but am also the in house IT guy. I'm not Microsoft certified in anything and my background is mostly at the 'enthusiast' level for gaming. I can build machines from scratch (no biggie I'm sure) and have a working knowledge of Windows. (very little in Mac and a bit less in Linux I'm afraid) I'm pretty new(bie?) when it comes to networking but can set up your basic wireless networks, and connect machines to network printers with IP addresses and the like. We have about 40-50 people on staff with about 25 machines for public use, which I lock down with Windows Steady State in conjunction with a few group policies locally, and Deep Freeze. They also have time management and print recovery software to recoup some costs. Staff machines are just logged in using a User account. I'm the only one with an Admin level account and no one knows the password (not even my director) Our ISP is run through a central location so I don't have router access. I don't have any firewalls enabled but do have AV/AS software. I have all the machines auto update Windows Update.
          The machines themselves are a mix of Dell Optiplexes running 32bit winXP and Vista. Our connection is a T1 (ugh) but is being upgraded soon to a 10Mbps one. I run Faronic's Core Console to deal with Deep Freeze and I like it. We don't have a file server but I don't know if I really need one because:

          Part 2

          I am sick and tired of running around three floors installing stuff on all the machines, when we either upgrade and get new ones, or when someone asks for a program. I would simply love to sit at my desk and push a program to a machine and have it install with minimal intervention from me if it's possible, and call it a day. I don't want to have everyone connect to my machine for the program, it's fine if it's installed on their machine. So,

          Do I need a server OS for that? Is Active Directory necessary for what I want to do? I'm not in a Domain, just the default Workgroup.

          I've been reading what I can on the server client architechture, in case I do need a server OS at my desk, but frankly the nomenclature is so confusing? (Group Policy Object? What's wrong with just calling it a machine or computer? Isn't that essentially what it is?)

          If anyone is familiar with Faronic's Core Console or Deep Freeze Console, I like how I can see all the machines in my building from ONE console, but their abilities are limited in what they can do. At this point I don't have any plans (or need) to do much other than the ability to install (Assign?) software from my desk. Obviously I am willing to read up on what I need to do (books, web resources, etc) just please, I beg you point me in the direction where the information is um, For Dummies? What are your recommendations?

          Thanks,

          Philip
          Last edited by fairlane; 27th April 2009, 19:34.

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          • #6
            Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

            It sounds to me that a Windows 2003 R2/Windows 2008 server Standard AD environment would be ideal for you. You can use GPOs to roll out software that you can create, have different policies for different machines. Your current local Group Policies can be automated via Group Policy.

            I would recommend purchasing a Microsoft Press book for Windows 2003 server and/or 2008. Google also has a considerable amount of information.

            The ideal would be to have 2 servers for redundancy but it depends on your budget. 1 server would probably be sufficient but not Best Practice.
            Last edited by Virtual; 27th April 2009, 19:59.

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            • #7
              Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

              So I guess I do need a server OS to remotely install software. OK, then what are your thoughts on waiting for Windows 7 server? Is there any rumor/indication that it will be easier than previous server editions? I think my machine would be the server, I don't need 2, no need for redundancy, and there isn't any software on my machine that anyone else would be dependent on, right?

              My new machine (hopefully, if and when our budget passes in May) would probably be a Dell Workstation T7400 off of their State and Local Government Contract page, so I am also thinking of going x64 for my machine. Is there much of an issue with running an x64bit server when the other pc's are 32bit? The apps they run are pretty standard fare: Our circulation software (which has issues I've been told but not a problem for my machine, I can scoot over to the pc next to me if I need it), MS word, Powerpoint, Excel, and web browsing.
              Last edited by fairlane; 27th April 2009, 20:05.

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              • #8
                Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

                Windows 7 is a new client OS rather than server. Windows 2008 server is the latest product. Certainly get x64 hardware and as much ram as you can afford. Min. 4GB but 8GB, if feasible.

                In my opinion, I feel you need to have an AD environment and join your client machines to that. Judging by your applications, Windows 2008 Server would be ok. However, you must be using other software as well for when books are borrowed etc., so you need to double check compatibility. If you ensure the server is also compatible for Windows 2008 Hyper-V, it gives you scope to virtualise in the future, should you ever need to or want to.

                AD allows central management and software roll out.

                I would also recommend using a poduct such as Microsoft Virtual PC on a normal PC to create your own test AD environment. Either way, you need to decide whether to get a consultant in, or to take the time to train yourself and/or research via books etc. If it is planned right, it will be an easy transition. You also need to consider training for current staff, though there won't be a massive difference with the way they logon now. Just an extra choice of whether to logon locally or on the domain.
                Last edited by Virtual; 27th April 2009, 20:25.

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                • #9
                  Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

                  With 40 - 50 people on staff the SBS 2008 is a possibility. You don't need to have the 25 Public machines in the SBS network since their software is not going to change much and if they were included it would make SBS unfeasible.

                  I wouldn't be too keen on having public accessed machines on the Domain anyway.
                  1 1 was a racehorse.
                  2 2 was 1 2.
                  1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                  2 2 1 1 2

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                  • #10
                    Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

                    OK. Let me ask you this. Since I don't want any of the "clients" to rely on my machine, (I don't want them to have to log into my server so then doesn't that mean in fact, that if my machine is running a server, they have to?) then I shouldn't have a server OS for my machine, right? Since all I want to do is to be able to remotely deploy software around the building, wouldn't it be better to just find a program that can do that, intuitively? If I'm understanding the definitions of a domain vs a workgroup, I don't want to be in a domain, do i? Or does it mean that as soon as I have a server OS on my machine, I'm automatically in a Domain? Right now, all the machines (even mine which is just running XP Pro) are in the default workgroup.

                    Speaking of third party software, I came across a few products called Remote Installer, Remote Deployment and MSI Builder, from a company called EMCO. They claim that one of the features that is more of a benefit over Group Policy is that software deployments using group policy can only be done in a domain environment, not a workgroup environment. If that is true, then if I use their product I don't need a server. (which is fine too). I don't know if anyone has heard of their stuff or not. Any comments?

                    Virtual, do you mean to tell me MS isn't planning on releasing a server version of Windows 7? Isn't that crazy, or is it just me that is?

                    P.S. As far as virtualization goes, I would rather use Sandboxie if I wanted to test programs out without worrying about damaging anything. I think it's a fine program and is much cheaper than any virtualization software I've come across.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

                      IMHO, if you are trying to manage more than about 5 to 10 client PCs without a domain, you are making life very, very difficult for yourself.

                      Also note that all client OSes (including XP, Vista and, AFAIK, W7) have a 10 connection limit so you cannot share out resources to more than 10 other PCs
                      Tom Jones
                      MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                      PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                      IT Trainer / Consultant
                      Ossian Ltd
                      Scotland

                      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

                        OK but, I don't want to share, my resources, I just want to connect to the clients, install what I want, and then close the connection. Whether its to install Word, update Firefox or install something else. What I don't want, or need, is for them to connect to my machine to use word, firefox, etc. I'd rather push the software to them and leave it at that. Our bandwidth is pretty pathetic as it is, and having them connect to my machine to use apps would just hog what bandwidth we have, no? And that's not taking into effect the 25 stand alone public pc's that are downloading streaming video from Youtube, etc, all sharing the same connection. Does that make sense?

                        OK I have to help my boss figure out how to format his email for printing. LOL!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Looking for advice on next upgrade

                          For a "client" to connect to your machine to use an app you would need to have a Terminal Server setup. What you seem to need is a Domain where the staff PCs logon to a Domain Controller running Active Directory. This Domain Controller is a Server, a seperate device and not a workstation. This Server would be used to deploy applications to the staff PCs.

                          You can have the staff PCs on a seperate network to the public computers where the only part you share it Internet access. The internal network with the staff PCs could be setup on a gigabit switch. Now that isn't slow.

                          With the experience level you have with an AD setup, I think you need to bring in a Professional who can look at your present setup and give you some advice on your options. I would also do some research on what deal Microsoft has available for Libraries to purchase software from them. Some organisations can get heavy discounts on various MS software.
                          1 1 was a racehorse.
                          2 2 was 1 2.
                          1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                          2 2 1 1 2

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