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  • Consolidation of Services

    I manage a Windows 2003 domain for a small non-profit organization with two locations permanently connected via VPN. Recently I have been tasked with goal of consolidating services in order to save physical resources. Currently at each location I have two DC's and one file/print server. The main DC at each location hands out DNS, DHCP, AD, and WINS, the second DC at each location is primarily used for keeping a working copy of the schema, and could quickly be configured to provide the same services as the main DC in case of catastrophic failure. The file/print server at each location primarily hosts site to site DFS-RDC. No services provided are particularly resource intense and could easily be hosted on one server per site. I am looking for opinions regarding the pros/cons of this implementation before moving in this direction!

    Thanks, Greg.

  • #2
    Re: Consolidation of Services

    Ideally, have DNS installed on both DC's. Same with DHCP except you configure the scope of each according to your needs.

    It is best to have these in place before a failure otherwise the client PC's will not be able to access the network until you set it up again.

    DNS and DHCP are not particularly resource intensive - how many clients will be authenticating against the DC's?
    A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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    • #3
      Re: Consolidation of Services

      My setup is exactly as you have described. We have approximately 12 computers per location that authenticate against each respective DC. In order to save resources I am considering moving the print server/DFS-RDC roles to the DC's and eliminating one server per site. My primary concern is security issues if all services are consolidated to one server per site. Opinions?

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      • #4
        Re: Consolidation of Services

        Well, you could do away with your file/print server. Print services work fine from a DC (as do sharing files), but I would ensure that the DC's are more than capable of handling the load of DC/Print server/File server.

        All posts from MS usually start with the caveat that it is not recommended practice to use a DC as a file server and while you can do this, I would consider what the future plans of the charity are. If it is a growing charity then their client PC base will get larger. What sort of files are we talking about here - some applications are more 'network intensive' and demanding than others and will require more from a DC. Is the software that is used likely to change, or will their computing needs remain as they are?

        If the charity is going to be in the same state in a couple of years time as it is now, then consolidating your services may a good thing.

        I would ensure that you have the capacity to expand. However, is it likely to make such a difference by getting rid of one machine from each site? The risk to restoring the network if a disaster occurs is higher if you lose a DC and file data as opposed to losing just file data (that can be restored from a backup), or just a DC (that can be easily rebuilt and added back into the domain). It's the time it takes to restore the services that will matter. The more centralisation of resources that occurs, the more complex will be the restore, and it will take longer to bring the network back up.
        A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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        • #5
          Re: Consolidation of Services

          I don't understand the goal here. You're trying to save physical resources? What does that mean exactly?

          Do you mean that you're trying to consolidate your services onto fewer physical servers?

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          • #6
            Re: Consolidation of Services

            Pre Hyper-V there was Virtual Server 2005. This runs on Server 2003. I used VS 2005 to run a Print Server and keep the printers off the DC (even though VS 2005 was running on it). By doing this, it enable me to reboot the Print Server if it stopped printing without taking the DC offline.

            HOWEVER, on July 14 (this year), Server 2003 reaches End of Life. Even though you have a small non-profit organization, for security reasons alone they should be upgrading to Server 2012 at a minimum though you may be able to pickup legal bargains on eBay or similar sites. With anything above Server 2003 you have the wonderful addition called Hyper-V. Bloody marvellous it is.

            You seriously need to put forward a case for upgrading from your present dinosaur 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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