windows server DC for 300 machine network

February 9, 2011 at 05:44:18
Specs: Windows XP
We have around 300 machines in a building which are placed at different floors . Say around 30 per floor. This is an academic insitution so each lab has around 30-50 machines and there are like 8-10 labs like this . We want to implement a windows server for the network.I dont think we will be able to get high end machines for this network , so just having one server for the whole network will be impossible i presume . We just need basic functionality where each user(student) gets a userid and password with a certain amount of storage capacity . This user can use his account to login to ANY machine on the network i.e. on any floor. The network cables are already in place.
We just need to know how to go about a network design . Clearly we need multiple servers as dont have high end machines for just 1 server . So is it better to have 1 server per floor , so around 6 servers.. and all the 300 clients ( computers ) on the network will have all these 6 servers added to them. So say around 60-70 users will be stored in each server and these users will be told to which server they need to connect to when they login from any client on the network. Is this how i should go about doing it? or is there a better way?
Eagerly looking forward to your inputs..

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February 9, 2011 at 06:45:47
You are thinking physically whereas network design requires a different approach.

You would need two servers since you want Active Directory failover.
You would want a beefy server for file storage

These would all be in one airconditioned room. After all servers generate heat. This would be the same room all internet/cat5 wiring terminate. This means that each floor wiring goes to that floors closet where the switch is. That switch is wired to the server room backbone switch that all the servers connect to. This is the case for each floor.

You would never wire floor to floor in series.


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February 9, 2011 at 06:54:35
Thanks a lot for your reply.. but do you think just 2 servers will do? im talking about servers with say around 3ghz processing speed and about 2-3GB of RAM.. Storage space is not an issue.. The cat5 cabling is already done throughout the campus when the building was constructed..All that needs to do be done is setting up the servers.. I have read about additional domain controllers , does additional DC mean a DC with the same name? say SERVER . So in all the 300 clients in the login screen will it show just SERVER.. or do i need multiple DCs like SERVER1,SERVER2,SERVER3 etc?like i said earlier..

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February 9, 2011 at 07:51:33
wanderer actually said 3 servers if you think about what he said and how he said it.

Two DC's (for redundancy) and a file server. The idea being, you never want to load DC's down with any extra services you don't have to.

To add to what he was saying about a data center (ie: server room) aside from air conditioning you'll also want UPS protection for all electrical devices (servers, switches etc) and if possible, a backup generator.

have read about additional domain controllers , does additional DC mean a DC with the same name? say SERVER . So in all the 300 clients in the login screen will it show just SERVER.. or do i need multiple DCs like SERVER1,SERVER2,SERVER3 etc?

They would have to be uniquely named with unique (static) IP addresses.

You can easily find all the info on creating a redundant DC by seaching MS's website or just searching on google.

The point being, if your first DC fails, the redundant one takes over with no downtime.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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February 9, 2011 at 08:15:58
Thanks a lot for your reply.. I guess additional(redundant ) servers is the way to go rather than multiple servers with different names.. UPS , air conditioning etc is all in place.. thanks for mentioning that..again will just 2 DCs and 1 file server with a config of around 3 ghz + around 2-3gb RAM each be sufficient for around 300 clients?
Thanks again for all the replies , really appreciate it..

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February 9, 2011 at 09:18:48
Just to clarify a point. Although the servers have separate names (of course) you don't log on to servers. You log on to the domain, so everyone will have the same form of logon ( - for example) and will be able to log on at any computer.

2 servers is fine for the Active Directory, plus another one or two file and print servers. For the file server at least, try to go for one with redundant PSUs and redundant NICs. It's not to important (but would still be nice) for the DCs as they are redundant anyway.

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February 9, 2011 at 16:41:13
Thanks for your reply.. so just to clarify.. in the login screen of the client , like in this pic http://activedirectorybook.packtpub... .. i will have only ONE NAME under log on to right? not multiple names ? because all the additional/redundant servers are of the same domain right? or will i have an option under log on to for each redundant server?
I also would like to know about assigning ips.. since i have over 300 machines i cannot put everything under one range , ex : 10.10.10.x .. i will need a minimum of two ranges 10.10.10.x and 10.10.11.x , i guess if i put them under the same subnet say it will work fine right?.. to make it more organized could i have different ranges for different floors.. like for ground floor ranges of 10.10.10.x , first floor 10.10.11.x , 2nd floor 10.10.12.x , 3rd floor 10.10.13.x and so on.. but all connect to the same domain? will that work? can it be done via static ip or will DHCP work?Thanks..

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February 10, 2011 at 01:16:47
You'll have two names - the Domain name and the Local Computer name. The point of a Domain is to centralize data about resources; you just have to log on to the one place (the Domain) and then you can access resources on any computer that is a member of that Domain (presuming you have permission to that resource). With Active Directory you can go even further; you don't even need to know which server a file share (for example) is located on. With the Distributed File System the shares can be accessed at a Domain level. This makes it very easy to move resources between servers in a way that is transparent to the end users.

As far as IP addresses go, bear in mind that the 10.x.x.x addresses are a single class A range. So you can have a single range (a subnet) starting at and ending at, with a subnet mask of This would give you 510 addresses. I wouldn't try to assign them by floors as that would mean manual static assignment, which becomes difficult to manage. Only give the servers static addresses. Just set up a DHCP range assigning those addresses (minus 20 or so for fixed addresses for servers). I find it easier to track workstations by name rather than IP address. So for example, workstations on floor 2 of our London office are called LO0101, LO0102, etc.

I'd recommend that you get a good book on the subject. (I can recommend Mastering Windows Server by Mark Minasi; I learnt a lot from a previous edition of this book).

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February 10, 2011 at 03:44:54
ok.. i think i got what i wanted.. thank you so much everybody who replied.. will surely come back if i have further queries.. thanks a lot...

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March 25, 2011 at 02:52:09
if i have 500 claints and domain server 1 haw can i manage if to 500 claints
pleace answere it quiqkly????

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March 25, 2011 at 03:08:07
If you have a question, please formulate it clearly and post it in a new thread. Hijacking existing threads is not helpful, and it's not possible to determine what you are asking.

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