Today we start Chapter 3: Installing SBS 2003

Hey there – I am the author of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book and my name is Harry Brelsford (www.smbnation.com). Over the next 100+ days, I plan to post up my entire SBS 2003 book before SBS 2008 ships! Today we start chapter three on installing the product. Enjoy!

Chapter 3 Small Business Server Installation

The time has come to actually install SBS! The argument could be made that installing SBS is nothing more than swapping four SBS discs and performing a few reboots along the way. However, such an oversimplification of the SBS installation task is incorrect. You have already invested significant time defining what SBS is, performing a needs analysis, and planning in the prior chapters.

BEST PRACTICE: As you might have guessed from the last chapter, you will implement SBS 2003 based on the SPRINGERS methodology. That is how this chapter is constructed, after many hours of editorial design. By way of a disclaimer, let me say that your specific SBS implementation may vary slightly based on machine types, components installed, and so on. Furthermore, after I walk you through the step-by-step installation process under the broad jurisdiction of the SPRINGERS methodology. I then present some advanced setup topics in the second part of the chapter. If you are an advanced SBSer who is interested in these advanced topics, you may look at those now before you start the setup process or, preferably, follow the setup process under the SPRINGERS methodology, and then read the advanced setup topics, taking into account the advanced knowledge that will be imparted for your future real-world SBS setups.

I assume that you are using a new server machine for SBS. If you are using an old server machine that will be redeployed as an SBS server, many of these steps, such as unpacking the server, do not apply. Ditto for same-server machine

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SBS upgrade scenarios. In the case of SPRINGERS, the firm has purchased the following hardware and software shown in Table 3-1. The following table is used to verify that everything ordered was indeed received.

Table 3-1: SPRINGERS Hardware and Software

 

Item

Description

Server

HP/Compaq ML-350 Server for SMB/SBS, tape backup unit,1 GB RAM, 60GB HD, 17” VGA Monitor, SCSI-based internal tape backup device, internal CD drive

Modem

US Robotics 56K External

Network AdapterCards

Intel Pro 100+ PCI EthernetBCM5730 Gigabit Ethernet

Printer

HP Color LaserJet 5M with HP JetDirect Card

Other Hardware

APC UPS with PowerChute

Software

Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) version 2003 5-userversion, 5-user SBS client access licenses (CALs) , VeritasBackup Exec Small Business Server Suite (tape backupprogram), Trend OfficeScan Suite.

Miscellaneous

Modem cable, extra CAT5 patch cables, telephone cable,power strip/power tree

 

BEST PRACTICE: Note that Appendix D contains information on how to set up SBS 2003 on a Compaq laptop (e.g., Evo N800c) using Microsoft Virtual PC or VMWare. This would allow you to have the entire SPRINGERS network on a laptop for learning and demonstration purposes. It’s very cool!

All of this required hardware adheres to the Windows Server 2003 hardware compatibility list (HCL) discussed in Chapter 2. You can find updates to the Windows Server 2003 HCL at  http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/hcl/default.mspx. If you are an SBS consultant who regularly installs SBS for different clients, you are encouraged to monitor this site regularly and look for changes to either the

HCL or System Requirements. If you are a business person or otherwise a non-SBS consultant installing SBS as a one-time discrete event, which it typically is for a single system at a single location, just initially verifying the hardware you intend to use for the SBS installation at http://www.microsoft.com/hcl is sufficient.

Note that you should acquire the most current Windows Server 2003 drivers you will need for the SBS installation. One example of this is to make sure you have on hand any needed SCSI or RAID drivers which will be needed if your SCSI or RAID controller isn’t supported natively by the underlying Windows Server 2003 operating system. At the first step in the character-based setup phase (later in the chapter), you will be provided the opportunity to select the F6 key and provide these mass storage SCSI or RAID controller drivers (a very important step if it applies to you).

If you have a RAID-based system you would need to perform the computer manufacturer’s steps to prepare the hard disks in the RAID array for use by the operating system. In the case of my server, this is accomplished by selecting CTRL-M when instructed by the computer during the character-based POST setup phase of the computer boot cycle. This process will vary by manufacturer and computer model, so kindly use your very best judgment and consult the documentation that accompanied your computer.

Also note that while a SCSI-based tape backup device is the preferred hardware option, non-SCSI tape backup devices are supported via the ATAPI device driver in Windows Server 2003. But be advised that non-SCSI tape devices run much slower than SCSI tape devices. Ouch!

Notes:

Preinstallation Tasks

You need to perform several tasks before the actual setup process commences. Failing to perform these tasks will certainly result in failure.

Unpack and Connect

Assuming that your infrastructure, such as cabling, is in place and the server you have ordered has arrived, it’s time to unpack the server and its components from the shipping boxes. If you haven’t built a computer before from boxes, it’s quite simple. Many name brand servers have color-coded guides so that you know which port the keyboard and mouse attach to. If you are still unsure of yourself, don’t hesitate to hire a computer consultant to help you attach and build the computer. In fact, consider hiring a competent high school or college student who is both computer literate and seeking a few extra dollars. Again, putting together the computer from boxes is quite simple.

After physically building the server, make sure the following items are properly attached to the server box:

                      A monitor or screen (be sure to attach the monitor to a power source). In the case of SPRINGERS, this is a 17-inch monitor.

                      A keyboard

                      A mouse

                      A power cable

                      External modems (if applicable; your modem might be an internal ver­sion, which, by the way, isn’t recommended by myself – nor do I rec­ommend USB modems either)

                      A tape backup device (could be internal or external). Remember SCSI-based tape backup devices deliver higher performance.

 

 

                      Other external devices that connect directly to the server (printers, Zip-or Jaz-type drives, scanners, and so on; and, if applicable, don’t forget to gather the needed drivers before starting setup)

                      A network cable (attach the network cable to both the network adapter card port and the wall jack; this connects your server to the network)

                      Uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) (you can connect the power cables to the UPS, but do not connect the serial cable from the UPS to the serial port on the server yet; see my BEST PRACTICE next on this matter)

 

BEST PRACTICE: If you have a UPS, do not attach it to the server at this time. UPS devices are attached to the SBS machine via COM ports (the same type of port used by modems). However, SBS tests each COM port as part of the installation of modems. Granted, modems are now an optional installation component during the setup of SBS (the Shared Fax Service will install without a modem attached). What I’m getting at is this: If you elect to install a modem as part of the SBS setup, an attached UPS can cause the SBS machine to become confused during this installation period. Bottom line: After SBS is installed, you will hook up the UPS.

If you are interested in developing expertise as a hardware technician to supplement your SBS consulting practice or skills as an SBS administrator, you might also consider studying for and taking the A+ certification exam. The A+ certification is oriented towards computer maintenance from a technician point of view. It is a well-regarded designation created and managed by the Computer Technology Industry Association. For more information on the A+ certification, see http://www.comptia.com.

BEST PRACTICE: Assuming the power is off and unplugged from the computer and external devices, and you are wearing a grounding strip on your wrist to discharge any built-up static electricity (before you touch an electronic component), take a moment to open the SBS machine and reseat all of the adapter cards. It has been my

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experience that a new server shipped across the country can arrive with loosened cards, cables, and even memory chips! That’s not to be critical of my friends at HP, but such loose cards have wreaked havoc with some of my early SBS installs when the internal network adapter card couldn’t be detected during setup because it had become partially dislodged from its slot. Another experience I have had when working with new computers is that the ribbon cable located inside the server machine (used to connect internal devices to cards or the motherboard) can come loose. If you need to reattach a ribbon cable, remember this rule of thumb: the side of the ribbon cable with the red line always points to the power supply.

After you’ve completed the check on the system, plug in the power to the computer and the devices in order to proceed with the setup. And don’t forget to verify (sorry to be a pest by mentioning this again and again) that you have sufficient power protection through surge protection power strips and UPS.

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