British weather effects ATP Servers

I’ve had a real geeky weekend, the British weather is really pissing me off at the moment. Every time I take time off work (with Laura) or have a Saturday free it decides to absolutely chuck it down. Normally it wouldn’t bother me but I promised to take Laura for a nice walk over the mountain to the Maenllwyd Inn (for a swift beer and a spot of lunch) I have tried twice before to find the pub (but taken the wrong mountain path twice. I now however know which path to take, having travelled it with my farther) so this Saturday Sheffield Wednesday are live on Sky Sports with a 5.15 KO so that allows us to plan for a good lunch time walk (probably heading off around 10AM getting to Rudry around 12PM) lets see how the weather holds out my guess at the moment is RAIN!

So with the weather particularly bad I spent the day in the house working on my XenServer. As I have a few server 2003 licenses spare I have decided to split my network services and functions over 3 servers rather than having most of it handled by 1 server running Windows Small Business Server (SBS). Originally I had planned to have 1 Server running Active Directory (AD) along with network services like DHCP and DNS, then a secondary server dedicated to Exchange and a third server running IIS (which I though Windows Server 2003 Web Edition would be perfect for).

Keep in mind I’m doing this rather ad-hoc, as I’m used to having SBS do everything for me. AD installed fairly smoothly with minimal configuration (the main difficulty is remembering to set things up that are normally handled by the SBS install) Then it came to getting Microsoft Exchange installed which proved to be a real pig (it’s been 4 or 5 years since I lasted install Exchange) I think I would have cut down the installation time by half if I’d actually read the pre-installation notes that popped up. Having been on a 5 day Microsoft training course (dedicated to installing and managing Exchange) to say I felt pretty stupid was an understatement, luckily I was able to dig out my course material and from there on I kicked into a higher gear with memories of the course flooding back to me. One thing I was hoping to do was install Outlook Web Access (OWA) on my Windows Server Web Edition box however it turns out you can’t as the Web Edition cannot run AD. This is something I’m hoping will have been addressed in Exchange 2007, I can’t quite see why OWA can’t run on a separate box surely it could have been programmed to make calls to AD?

Email seems to be working again, I took the mail forward for the domain off last night and setup the MX record. I’m in the process of applying SP2 once that is completed I’ll run the base line security analyzer and then double check that it has been correctly secured. The only thing left to do then is to setup my mail relay (so messages don’t get rejected on rDNS grounds)

Looking at the price difference between Server 2003 R2 and Web Edition 2003 I’d recommend that anyone think long and hard about buying Web Edition 2003. For $200 (approximately if you shop around) I don’t know why anyone would limit their servers potential usage by using Web Edition, the experience has left a little bit of a sour taste but will serve as another lesson in “RTFM” I’ve not lost out financially as the license came with the TechNet subscription.
For anyone looking at getting some hands on experience with Windows Server (especially management) I’d take a look at picking up a copy of SBS, in my opinion it’s a product that is punching well above its weight.

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