Why use server software like WHS instead of Win7 or other OS?

Discussion in 'Windows Server' started by RobsTV, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. RobsTV

    RobsTV MDL Novice

    Aug 19, 2009
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    Somehow this seems like a dumb question to ask, but after hours of Internet searching, I still am lost.

    With a Technet account, I can get all this software, so it is free for my evaluation usage.

    But why run special server software with home or small business?

    Have 4 PC's running all the time at home with Windows 7.
    Using Acronis for regular backups.
    Also 2 hard drives in RAID 1 configuration.
    Using one HTPC as the main server for storing data, including downloads and external HD's.
    All works well.

    What advantages are there to move from normal OS software in a PC as a server to specialized server software?

    Currently using MSE on each PC. Can not use that with WHS, but can still use it on clients.

    Have a similar setup at the office, with 5 PC's + dedicated PC as a server, all running WinXP and networked version of Peachtree Constuction version, as well as Symantec Client Security Corporate Edition. Again, all seems to be running great!

    Also running PCAnywhere and can access all home and office PC's from laptop when on the road.

    What am I missing out on?
     
  2. HSChronic

    HSChronic MDL Expert

    Aug 25, 2007
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    security. Ease of setting up users that have access permissions on every PC not just one. Good corporate in house e-mail solutions require AD, if you want Exchange you need AD. If you want to deny permissions on shares, or set up DFS or use any sort of SSL you need a domain. WSUS doesn't run on WHS or XP or whatever. Group Policies are a bitch to set up at the local level and you have to do everything on each PC, a domain eliminates this. Acronis is crap seriously it is who wants to image a PC with all the updates and applications and then just turn around and have to do it again on the next PC. Then if you change an app out you have to redo the image. Want to push software out to PC's? Can't do it without a domain. Local user rights are very easy to set up at the domain level you just create a template user and then duplicate that user.

    I try to discourage people to have a "server" that is nothing more than a workstation, you know how easy it is to hack that thing? Seriously really I mean XP or WHS for a "server" in a business. So you have it RAID'd great your data is backed up, but still not even close to secure. What about malicious employee's? Joe Bob is getting fired tomorrow and he knows it so what does he do he wipes his laptop and deletes all his files when he comes into work then goes to the "server" share and does the same thing, or worse steals the files and sells them to a competitor. Why? 0 security. If you had a domain his account would have been disabled and you would have policies in place to prevent users from even logging into the server.

    90-100% of malware targets consumer grades OSes and there are no measures in place to prevent this. A Server right out of the box comes pretty secure and has the wizards in place to lock it down even further, something you will never find in a consumer OS because it is consumer targeted.

    As far as AV you are one the right track using SEP (I assume you are using SEP not the POS that is Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition), at the very least you need a good endpoint protection software and get admin rights away from your users if you want to keep your headaches down.

    I also found a product called Persystent Enterprise Suite, that will let you keep your user data safe and take care of a lot of problems by taking delta images, so if you install an update and it goes south or a user gets a nasty spyware infection you just roll the computer back to the last delta and everything is just like normal. It also does imaging and migrations too, so if you user gets a new laptop you can migrate their profile and settings from one PC to another even through OSes. Saves me a good bit of time. It is worth the money in my opinion and I have been using it for a few years now.


    If you are serious about IT administration then start looking into MCITP course work, it will help give you the info you seek on why a server and domain are better for small to medium business. Also take a look at Small Business Server 2008 as compared to something like XP as a server.
     
  3. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    #3 sebus, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
    As HSChronic said, at home you can have whatever you fancy to serve your files, but in ANY kind of busines do not think of using XP as a server
    Can I ask what firewall you are running in your business?
    Hopefully not ONLY a Netgear router...

    @HSChronic, there is also life beyond M$ domain (eDirectory - ofcourse not really for home use...)

    sebus
     
  4. RobsTV

    RobsTV MDL Novice

    Aug 19, 2009
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    For XP, Symantec Client Security Corporate Edition, which includes Symantec Client Firewall, along with a Linksys router.

    Also, the small 5 PC business is family owned and run.
    XP will be changed out to Win 7 in next month or so.

    Besides Raid 1, also using Acronis to do Differential backup to one of the other PC's as a third method of backing up (as well as local partition on one of the Raid drives).
     
  5. HSChronic

    HSChronic MDL Expert

    Aug 25, 2007
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    You are better off getting a Cisco SB router/AP. The RVS4000 is just a gigabit router (4 port you don't need anything more just get some decent switches to plug into it), that is the best I have seen. It also has VPN (so no using PC anywhere) built in so you are good to go there.

    As for other LDAP solutions I know there are other ones out there but I have the most experience working with AD so I tend to promote it more.
     
  6. RobsTV

    RobsTV MDL Novice

    Aug 19, 2009
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    #6 RobsTV, Feb 22, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
    (OP)
    Thanks for the replies.

    On the other end of the scale, away from security and reliability for a moment.

    Like most things in life, this is all about money.
    With that in mind, if I wished to use the free evaluation software available to me through Technet, what would be a good choice for server use. Something that will have no additional expense, and will not be slower than current XP (or win7) as a server system.

    Forget about Windows server 2008 R2.
    Because it is 64-bit only, it will not work with current Peachtree software.
    Money again prevents upgrading to 64-bit compatible 2010 version, since 2009 was just purchased.
    x86 will be used for at least the next couple years. Please, let us not debate that aspect.
    Also, the only true app multiuser running on the server would be Peachtree x86.
    Nothing would be 64-bit anyway.

    With nothing to base this on except experience comparing XP to Vista, seems like Windows server 2003 might be better than windows server 2008 (which is based on vista crap). Or, does the latest SP improve server 2008 to now be the best choice for x86 server?

    Again, it is probably cheaper and nearly as effective to just continue to use a normal O.S. for a server in our situation, but for learning purposes, real server software testing would be nice. Money involved for additional parts or required compatible software , and forget about it at this time.

    thanks again for all the advice.
     
  7. RobsTV

    RobsTV MDL Novice

    Aug 19, 2009
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  8. ZaForD

    ZaForD MDL Expert

    Jan 26, 2008
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    I don't know this software, but I have plenty of 32bit software running on both Vista/Windows 7 x64 and SVR2008 R2
    Most recent 32bit software works fine.