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Network Restructuring - Fixing Current Problems

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  • Network Restructuring - Fixing Current Problems

    Hello all, I am requesting some insight into developing a plan of attack on the slew of problems I have inherited at my new position as IT Administrator for a small business. Below is the list of problems I have discovered.

    Total Servers: 6
    Server 2003: 4
    Server 2000: 2
    1. All servers in the domain are domain controllers.
    2. Exchange Server currently resides on a DC, there is also no backup Exchange server.
    3. All the servers on the domain are DNS servers.
    4. The backup strategy is not functioning and there are no backups on or off site.

    This is a small list of the problems I am currently facing as the newly hired IT Administrator. I would like to figure out how I am going to break the problems apart and work on them one at a time.

    If anyone has any insight, please let me know, thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Network Restructuring - Fixing Current Problems

    First of all 6 DC's is quite excesive. I would keep two of the windows 2003 DC (make sure they are both Global Catalogues) and then demote the other 4 DC's. Make sure one of the DC's hold the FSMO roles (Search on this site if you dont know what or how to locate the servers with these roles)

    I would then migrate any apps off the windows 2000 servers on to 2003 member servers so all your servers are at 2003 and fully patched and service packed (Easier to maintain if all servers are at the same OS).

    Depending on how many users you have one exchange server should be fine but I would definately sort out a good back up stratergy to ensure all DC's (systems state and any data) are backed up as well as the system state and user mailboxes on the exchange server. I would install a fresh copy of exchange 2003 on a windows 2003 srv and migrate all mailboxes off the DC. It's not a good idea to have exchange running on a DC.

    And finally if possible try and keep the DC's just DC's i.e. dont go installing exchange or any other apps on there or file / print services. The most I would have a DC do in a small company is DNS and DHCP.

    Hope this helps

    Michael Armstrong
    MCITP: EA, MCTS, MCSE 2003, MCSA 2003: Messaging, CCA, VCP 3.5, 4, 5, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, ITIL, MCP, PGP Certified Technician

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


    • #3
      Re: Network Restructuring - Fixing Current Problems

      When you are playing around with the Exchange server, remember that you cannot change the role of the Exchange server once Exchange is installed. Exchange would have to be removed the role changed and then Exchange reinstalled.

      Therefore I would look at the servers you currently have, decide which one would make a good Exchange server. Then look at removing everything else off the machine, dcpromo it out of the domain and rebuild it fresh as a member server.

      Then install Exchange on to it and do a swing migration over to this rebuilt server. Once Exchange has been moved, you can reuse its old server for something else - repeating a similar pattern of DCPROMO out and rebuild.

      Simon Butler
      Exchange MVP

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      Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.


      • #4
        Re: Network Restructuring - Fixing Current Problems

        Thanks for the insight.

        I knew I inherited a nightmare when I found there to be no Organizational Units in Active Directory. The second thing that made me realize it was a true nightmare was when I turned on DHCP, one of the switches came up. Things progressively got worse.

        Two DC, my thoughts exactly, six is excessive, but the previous person didn't understand the concept of a server joined to a domain and and domain controller.

        My reasoning behind two Exchange Servers is redundancy, currently we have about 70 people on Exchange, not a ton, but it seems like each day we are adding new people.

        I guess what I am looking for in addition to the response from Michael is if anyone has a good idea what to tackle first. Thanks again.


        • #5
          Re: Network Restructuring - Fixing Current Problems

          Good point on the Exchange Server Sembee. I knew that was the case.

          Swing Migration eh, how difficult is that?