Not All Network Servers Are Alike

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A Subtitle for this post could be “Not All IT Professionals Know How To Setup A Network”. Then of course I could call the post, “What in God’s Green Earth Were You Thinking?”

Let me explain myself, please. I recently went to a new client who wanted the simple task of adding a new user to their server, adding him to email, add a printer, add shared drives and set up his sync folder. Not a hard task you say? That is what I thought, but from the roadblocks I saw and ran into I really feel for this company. The people that set up this domain did not have a good grasp on Active Directory, Exchange Server, Print Servers or much of anything that goes into setting up a network server. I do not want to go into details of my visit because of privacy and client privilege so I will go through best practices of network setup.

  • Use the least amount of trees possible in a forest and use very descriptive OU names.
  • Don’t setup an Exchange Server unless you are going to use it.
  • Use standard names for all users.
  • DO NOT disable the domain Admin account, just make it real hard to break the password.
  • Do set up a Print server.
  • Login scripts are NOT for first time initializing of an account.
  • Map Drives with a login script.
  • Set up a Sync Folder by using the Profile for an Home Folder.

One last thing, WRITE IT ALL DOWN. It’s a map, it’s called the “If I get hit by a Bus file”. If you no longer work for the company, go out of business or for whatever reason are not supporting someone then be considerate of the next person that has to work with what you started.

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2 thoughts on “Not All Network Servers Are Alike

    Kara Haas said:
    February 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for posting these best practices! I particularly like the “Don’t set up an Exchange Server, unless you are going to use it!” I think of how many times things are set up without a plan – and we install and apply things for the mere reason our neighbors use it and said it was a good idea.

      Ray Ebersole responded:
      February 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks! I agree, though they are all important for different reasons, this one is the “well it’s there why not install it” syndrome.

      As an IT professional, I believe in making it as easy as possible on the end user, so cutting down on login time is #1 to the them. Then, my big one is make it as simple as possible.

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