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Server 2003/2008 home/small business
October 15, 2008 9:59 AM   Subscribe

IT/Networking student here and I have access to the msdn-academic alliance program. I have an extra computer and would like to mess around with Server 2003 or 2008. Both are available. I have an extra box sitting around at work and this would be for a small business think 7 computers at the max.

What are some of the things I can do with Server 2003 or 2008? I've already checked the specs and I should be able to install both.

I also have access to Exchange 2003/2008 and would like to get this working as well.

I can also get the Sharepoint server software.

I'm guessing I can get on the DreamSpark program as well

What are some of the things I can do or should do?
posted by bsexton to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You're opening up a can of worms. Do you have some MS course books over those subjects (and related exams)? They tend to cover basic configuration and routine administration fairly well, and give you some basic experience with the salient features of the product.

Also, you can download free versions of VMWare and MS Virtual PC to make test environments. This not only saves you from a lot of clutter and cabling, but can give you added experience in creating virtual machines and networks.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on October 15, 2008


Umm... in case it wasn't obvious, your academic licenses can't be used for a small business. Any type of software audit and your small business will be in big time trouble.
posted by sbutler at 10:21 AM on October 15, 2008


The MSDN-AA license forbids the use of the software for non-academic purposes, so bear that in mind.

That said, were you to get a proper license, the calendar features of Exchange (e.g., setting up meetings, seeing when people are available, etc) are handy if you are in a Windows-centric environment. Windows Server includes IIS, so you could run an intranet website. Consider setting up a wiki. I think IIS is also necessary for Outlook Web Access.
posted by jedicus at 10:23 AM on October 15, 2008


Sharepoint isn't terribly good for what it does, and it's certainly not where I would go first.

I'd try setting up Active Directory, and doing some identity management. It's harder than it looks to do it right.

Once you're past that, I'd recommend setting up MS SQL Server. It's one of the few products that they've done a pretty good job with.
posted by Citrus at 11:05 AM on October 15, 2008


Ahhh didn't think about not using it as a small business. Didn't put 2 and 2 together. Thanks for the input on that. I definitely don't want to get audited so I'll keep it at home.

I don't have any MS books. Would rather try and see if I could get it running on my own. If that fails I'll read up on it. I'll also be taking classes on it later down the line.

Thanks also for the vmware recommendation.

I'll pass on the Sharepoint for now and try and set up Active Directory & sql server.

Thank you for the suggestions.
posted by bsexton at 11:19 AM on October 15, 2008


Sun's Virtual Box is a free (open source) VM system. The UI isn't as slick as VMWare but it works fine.
posted by delmoi at 11:24 AM on October 15, 2008


A minor snag I found when I went to install the free copy of Server 08 I got at an MS event: Hypervisor, and hence, all of the fun virtualization stuff built into 08 only works if your machine has hardware virtualization support, so really, a Core 2 Duo or better.
posted by Oktober at 11:25 AM on October 15, 2008


SQL Server is a separate installation from the OS. If you have Visual Studio, I think that includes SQL Express (local connections only).

I think AD is a good way to go if you're going down the IT path. Definitely buy a book.
posted by mkultra at 12:31 PM on October 15, 2008


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