Dearest Best & Brightest, Microsoft Server-Software Gurus Out there!,
I've got some purely conjectural, 100% theoretical questions for setting up
a simple (or whatever the most basic type of server there is known to
humankind)... And I don't even know how to ask the question, since all I
have is a theory of what I'm trying to aim for...
This may seem like a bizarre question, but I'm trying to do some research on
Win2k Server (actually, Windows 2000 Small Business Server, for the
completist) and for purely hypothetical reasons (extra credit homework, not
a test mind you!), I was wondering if it was possible to install Win2K
Server into a pre-existing Peer-2-Peer LAN which is server-less (about 10
My main question is, can I deploy such a basic workgroup or application
server without promoting it to the role of Primary Domain Controller (PDC)
yet still setup naming conventions and user profiles for
low-to-moderate-security user logins?
HYPOTHETICAL LAN BACKGROUND:
And let's assume this will be the only application/file server on the
10-user P2P LAN, and it's not a member of any Domain nor Backup Domain nor
Department, etc, since there are no PDC's and no BDC's and no Departments,
just a few P2P users in a small room that needs the simplest form of a
server available (more like a dumb-network attached storage unit, but with
the brains of Win2K server installed for current rights & permission
management, basic profile creation, (and possible future role promotion...
So it's kinda like a dumb server (with the brains of Win2k Server), no DHCP,
no Active Directory (since it's not a DC), just the core components of Win2k
Server (which I'm told is at the heart of Win2K Small Business Server 2000
The remaining systems are fully-functional and fully self-sufficient
stand-alone Win XP Pro workstations (2.4 GHz Athlons, 512 DDR Ram, etc)
situated in a peer-2-peer configuration and laid out in a star-topology
connected to a 24-port switch, which connects to a 1-port firewall/router w/
DHCP services turned on, and that to a DSL modem and so on outside to the
world wide web beyond.
The workstations mentioned above rely on this "hypothetical" non-domain
server only for photo asset management and long-term digital photo storage
through use of a fictitious server-side application which requires that
users will need to log into the server (don't worry, they would have all
necessary CAL PAKS at their disposal and be properly licensed per-seat to
log into the NOS) from each client workstation, then upload the digital
photos stored in temp dir's on their own harddrives every so often per day,
and every no and again, one will opt to run a server-side-only application
such as a single copy of Microsoft Word XP (which these users would also be
made licensed in a per-seat way [kudos to the piracy watchdogs out there
guarding Mr. Gates wallet for him! I'm sure he appreciates it!] ;)
Anyway, since I'm in the total newbie beginner Win 2003 class (but we're
still using Win2k Server until Winter term!) and all I hear from other "know
it all's" is chatter about PDC this, BDC that, Active Directory this and
I wanted to come up with a possible argument against deploying Windows 2000
Server in a domain-less, controller-less environment, a simple whatever
server (as explained above) WITHOUT using all of that Domain-based hierarchy
stuff since we're talking 10 users on the only server for miles (if
anything, it's primary role is to store files!).
Is it even possible to run a single-server without always being forced to
promote that server to a Domain Controller? If so, what kind of server-model
would that be? And would it still be able to function as a server, or would
it crash and burn without Active Directory management?
Here's an argument in my favor for instance -- an odd one I suppose too, but
Because this server is the ONLY SERVER in the room, would I still be forced
to promote is as a DC or PDC because that's inherent to the operating
system, or could I do otherwise and never have to promote it, and just run
it as a basic, stand-alone server with only a few server-side Office
applications, perhaps a LaserJet printer attached, but mostly a whole bunch
of SCSI storage for photo asset management, and constant upload/download to
and from various workstations.
I suppose this might be called a
hybrid-Peer2Peer-Domainless-Client/Server-memberless-workgroup type Network.
Didja get all that?
And I said this "might work" as an argument because there aren't any
SUBORDINATE servers (BDC's, Member Servers, etc) of which this otherwise
forced-Domain-Controller server would have to 'CONTROL' so why bother
promoting it to PDC, always PDC!!! when a role such as PRIMARY-DC isn't even
(or never will be) needed since this hypothetical server is simply a
DUMB-SERVER that "happens" to have a powerful Network Operating System
installed on it, so my imaginary users figure to themselves...
"Hey, let's throw on some of this software laying around onto the
dumb-server in the corner! We could turn it into some sort of an
application server and force it to not only "serve" us photos all day, but
make it do other nasty things like serve us Word documents all day, and
without ever installing Word on our own local client workstations!"
2 cents anyone? Is something like this at all possible? If not, how did
single-task servers run before Domain Controllers were invented? What was
that network model?
Any URL's or advice would be much appreciated for further EDU-tainment.
Seriously, my teacher would probly know if this were possible, but I won't
see her until Monday and she's the biggest proponent for us (students) to
ask around, and try to find the most unusual ways to install Network
Operating Systems we can. Since everyone seems so bent on PDC, PDC, PDC,
there's gotta be a more simplistic way to run a server-base operating
system, in a more non-conventional way.
I suppose if you were to assume all of the above, and assuming that Win2k
COULD NOT be installed into, no as a part of, nor as a Domain
Controller-Domain-Anything itself -- Hypothetically-speaking, let's assume
for a moment that part of the OS was ripped out of the code, or never
existed and the OS forces instead users to run it in a very basic way, like
a Win2K Professional OS, with simplistic server-like application extensions
so as to give it basic server connectivity and functionality, but nothing
more. What then would a server like this, if any, be called
PRE-PS: Rather then messing around with some strange threaded forum or
newsgroup out there (TechIMO, Computing.net, TechRepublic, etc), I thought
I'd come right to the source and see what the good 'ol folks here at the
Microsoft User Forums had to say since I've read some great posts here in
the past few months, sometimes even more fun than reading the Sunday morning
funnies! But I don't think anyone else out there in the public would take
any of my hypothesizing seriously anyhow. It's not that I'm NOT serious, I
just don't know how to best ask a series of questions like this because my
server knowledge is still very, very limited, to the point of being in its
infancy and I don't yet have any teeth in which to bite into a really
I'm at the stage of ignorance still, where I have to INVENT a PROBLEM, then
INVENT a HYPOTHETICAL technology SOLUTION before I can ask whether or not
such an item exists, (and usually it does) at which time I can then figure
out a better way to ask questions about it's functionality, since moments
before that, I never even knew it was really a networking method, server
device, or a thingabobble? Make any sense?
I know in time my knowledge will change, but for now, I'll play the fool and
ask the stupid questions while I can still be new enough to always be stupid
anyway! Nice outlook, eh? At least I get my moneys worth in class...
In any event, please reply if you find in in your heart to help me learn! I
really do wanna know if any of this alternate -non-DC-server-stuff is even
possible with Win2k Server, or if I've lost my mind completely (tell me that
too!) Kudos to those who've managed to read this entire post! That alone
has gotta be worth some praise! ;) You people rock!!
Clackamas Community Collage Student