Finishing the SBS 2003 installation and a guest column (book excerpt)

Hi gang – I am harry brelsford, the author of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best PRactices book. Each day I am posting up several pages of the book to have it completely posted before SBS 2008 ships or I will eat a floppy disk!

Today we COMPLETE the SBS 2003 installation and read a guest column from Frank Ohlhost!


Harry Brlesford | CEO at SMB Nation |

I am a Small Business Specialists! (SBSC)

# # #

BEST PRACTICE: If for some reason you’ve had a faulty installation with failed components, the Components Messages screen will be displayed describing the failure. After reading this screen, click Next to continue.

If your SBS installation was unsuccessful, you must stop and troubleshoot the failed components. Typically, a reinstallation of the failed components will cure the problem. However, I’ve had to call Microsoft’s Product Support Services (PSS) in the past to solve the really tough ones!

Specific to SBS 2003, I had a failed installed in a test lab where the second disc wasn’t detected correctly and Exchange didn’t install on the first pass. I reran the SBS 2003 setup and Exchange correctly installed on the second pass. But shortly thereafter, I noticed that the new cool company-related Public Folder (Springer Spaniels Unlimited Archive) and the company contacts (Springer Spaniels Unlimited Contacts) weren’t created because the script to create those apparently doesn’t run on a second pass of the SBS 2003 setup wizard. So I manually created these Public Folder objects (which I discuss much more in Chapter 6) and all was well. The only other setup oddity I’ve experienced to date derives from this same second pass scenario. Apparently, the Shared Fax Service, which did correctly install on “round two” wasn’t completely whole. When I clicked the Configure Fax link from the To Do List, the fax configuration wizard failed because it said the Shared Fax Service wasn’t installed (even though it was installed and running at the time). I share these insights with you so you’ll not fall victim to your own imagination if you encounter setup problems (that is, you’re not imaging what is happening to you because it might have happened to me!).

30.       Click OK when notified that setup must restart your computer. The core SBS 2003 setup is now complete. Take a bow!

BEST PRACTICE: Be sure to remove the fourth disc from the disc

drive at this point and store it safely with your other SBS 2003 media.

So assuming otherwise that all went well, let me be the first to say congratulations! You have now completed the base installation of your SBS server machine using the SPRINGERS methodology. Now, more configuration items await you.

BEST PRACTICE: After the computer restarts, SBS performs some background housekeeping duties. Don’t be alarmed. These are one­time configuration events.

SBS is completely installed. When the logon dialog box is displayed, provide your username (Administrator) and password (Husky9999!).

Time Flies (Not!)

The basic SBS setup process from Phase A to the end of Phase D should take anywhere from 90 to 240 minutes, depending on the speed of your computer. I’ve noticed installation time breaks down as follows:

Phase A — Windows 2000 Server Character-Based Setup: 15 percent

Phase B — Windows 2000 Server GUI-Based Setup: 20 percent

Phase C — SBS Installation and Setup: 60 percent

Phase D — SBS Completion and Initial Boot: 5 percent

Guest Column

CRN Test Center Review: Small Business Server 2003

By Frank J. Ohlhorst

With the release of Small Business Server 2003 expected on Oct. 9, Microsoft

has fired a shot across the bow of the SMB server appliance market. The new,

slimmed-down version of SBS 2003 standard edition offers everything most

small businesses would need, and at an attractive price point, making the product

an alternative to low-priced, proprietary server appliances.

Microsoft has gone to great lengths to integrate key back-office applications

into SBS 2003, without overly complicating the product, reducing initial setup

to less than 15 minutes when purchased with OEM server hardware bundles.

Aggressive hardware bundling deals from leading server vendors should bring

the overall cost of a new five-user SBS 2003 standard edition server to less than

$1,500, while the reduction in administrative and setup chores helps to greatly

reduce installation costs.

SBS 2003 standard edition combines Windows Server 2003 with Exchange

2003, Share Point Services, networking, faxing, a network health monitor and

several other components aimed at easing administration and setup. The premium

edition adds ISA Server, SQL Server and a specialized edition of BizTalk 2004. Both versions of SBS 2003 are limited to single-server installations and 75 users.

CRN Test Center engineers put SBS 2003 standard edition through its paces and were impressed with the improvements offered. Starting with an HP Proliant server configured with an OEM install of SBS 2003 standard edition, Test Center engineers were able to set up a basic SBS 2003 network in less than 45 minutes, including configuring Internet access, VPN connectivity and five user accounts.

The basic installation process shows that Microsoft has accepted the fact that many businesses now use broadband connections that leverage broadband routers.

The Test Center used a D-Link DI-624 broadband router connected to a cable modem as the interface to the Internet. SBS 2003’s installation wizard recognized that router using universal plug and play and then offered several scenarios to best integrate the device into the network. Test Center engineers chose to have DHCP assignments remain with the D-Link router and then configured port forwarding on the router to pass specific services on to the SBS 2003 server.

The key advantage offered by that setup is that solution providers can leverage an existing hardware firewall, without overcomplicating the deployment of an SBS 2003 network. Furthermore, solution providers could choose to integrate a broadband security appliance into the mix to perform content filtering, ant-virus filtering and antispam technology. In the past, most of those services were installed directly on the server, impacting performance and further complicating deployments.

Setting up VPN access was just as easy. Test Center engineers simply used the “configure remote access” wizard found on the setup “to do” list to add VPN functionality. That wizard offered to use DHCP assignments from the D-Link router, further simplifying setup. The only caveat concerned setting up appropriate port forwarding on the router to pass PPTP VPN traffic on to the server.

Solution providers looking to support SBS 2003 networks remotely will appreciate not only the ease of VPN setup, but also the inclusion of remote desktop support. That feature can be set up to work with or without VPN

functionality. Furthermore, SBS 2003 offers the ability to establish remote desktop connections to Windows XP professional workstations located on the network. That feature adds the ability to establish a remote workforce or to remotely troubleshoot desktop options. Microsoft could have scored big if that connectivity could have been extended to Windows XP’s Remote Assistance capability, a true remote control application suitable for remote training and support. For those wanting true remote control, products such as PCanywhere or GotomyPC will be required.

One of the limitations often encountered by broadband users is the lack of a static public IP address. That limitation prevents the registration of public domain name that can be assigned to the SBS 2003 server. Test Center engineers overcame that problem by using Tzolkien’s TZO service, a Dynamic DNS provider. That service runs as a small client application on the server and associates a domain name with the assigned public IP address and updates that association whenever an ISP issues a new IP address to a broadband connected device. For those looking to host Web sites, or use services remotely, Dynamic DNS becomes a key add-on element.

Simplicity abounds throughout SBS 2003. Wizards to add users, set up shares, modify security and many other tasks ensure that even a technician with basic knowledge can deploy SBS 2003. The product’s enhanced simplicity does come at a cost for solution providers: a reduction in billable installation and configuration hours, along with a reduction in billable support costs. But, that is also the case with most server appliances on the market at this time.

For most businesses, the combination of the standard edition of SBS 2003 and a broadband router should be adequate and offers probably the best platform for business tasks. Solution providers should only consider the premium edition if there is a distinct need for SQL Server or if it is possible to leverage business-process management chores using BizTalk. All things considered, SBS 2003 hits the nail on the head when it comes to networking small businesses.


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