Windows 2008 R2 Server My Small Cloud Build

UPDATE: 3-5-2015, The Micro Enterprise Size Build your at is just about 5 years old now. I'll be adding notes to what changed over the years compared to the first setup. Basically just more VHD's and Memory added to the main IIS Server due to the fact I like Visual Basic code running my reports and it likes memory.
I will also be listing some of the mistakes that had been made mostly in the firewall configuration due to lack of documentation for this type of setup. 
It's not many that take on such a large project. 
To date all has been good, a balance or costs to reward was reached 10 months into using the server which made it nice knowing it was actually paying for itself. That doesn't mean it covered my technical time, programming and babysitting time. It just means that the hardware, software, costs of operation came into a range that it all was justified.

The project was designed to prove you can manage your own servers better and for less if you host them yourself instead of using a cloud or a hosting provider.

In the notes I compared the services listed here, you would have been looking at about $1,600.00 per month for the same setup. That would mean in one years time I could have purchased 2 units complete. Again, this isn't labor and technical time to keep things smooth. I've listed the IT time as well in the notes and if you add them all up it would be like paying for 4 months and getting 8 months free. Turn that into an investment savings of 2 months and at the EOL time you have the cash from savings ready to repeat your next Micro Enterprise Size build. I'll help you with that.

If you need me to manage your server administration and you have followed each of my steps email me and I'll setup a simple and very affordable contract with you. I'm also building systems for about $750 per server up to 75 seats. That's a very untouchable figure in the industry, but it's because I can do the work in my sleep mostly. And I only use time proven practices. No guess work here.  

 

This is my first live document with system configurations, settings and personal touches.

I'll update this document as I have time as I pull my setup and configuration logs from my library files.

If you have questions I'll be answering them and linking them from the DMS server. 

First some very basic rules:

1: Do NOT connect your server to the INTERNET. 
2: DO connect your server to a LAN that is NOT connected to the INTERNET.

Get the idea? I tested a server years ago to find out if the automated viruses that run the internet would harm one. It took 35 seconds to infect a clean install of a Windows Server. Don't connect your new server to the internet for any reason. Not until you are ready and it has the XTM 330 or better firewall setup and configured.

NOTICE: You can setup your server any which way you feel best. I am only sharing with you my setup on MySmallCloud. If you feel you need additional roles and features have at it and have fun. 

The Down and Dirty installation is to get you going and testing. You can format and reinstall everything as often as you would like. It's actually in my opinion a good practice to setup everything then format it and do it again. I've practiced the setup a few times myself. 
I'm not going to list reasons in the quick setup. I know you don't read but before you are finished you will be able to say "I've read everything Murray put into print online at MySmallCloud.Com and part of XtremeComputer.Com". If not, you're going to miss some really cool things that help you as a systems administrator. 

Windows 2008 R2 Standard edition install. 

  1. Install Server 2008 R2 from the installation DVD directly to your Disk 0.
  2. Add the following roles. 
    • Active Directory Domain Services
    • DHCP Server
    • DNS Server
    • Hyper-V
    • Network Policy and Access Services
    • Remote Desktop Services
    • Web Server (IIS)
  3. Hyper-V setup for your second Windows 2008 R2 Standard server install.
  4. Create yourself a new Virtual Machine for your 2nd Server installation.
    1. Drive size 128Gb is fine, 2 CPUs, 8Gb of Memory.
      Depending on your Physical hard drive space, CPUs and Memory. This is going to be the working part of the server, the part that really handles things. Your first setup was mostly for the core Hyper-V and a few system settings to run the Virtual Desktops we will be adding. Now is not the time to debate about drive sizes. In fact, if you are wondering why 128Gb and not the full physical drive size then I recommend you make your Virtual Server 2008 R2 the full size of a physical drive and talk to me about what you find. I know, it wasn't want I needed. Read my "Bitlocker VHD Drives Mount...".
  5. 2nd Server Roles (XYZ0):
    1. File Services
    2. Network Policy and Access Services
    3. Remote Desktop Services
    4. Web Server (IIS)
  6. Working within XYZ0 your virtual server: 
    1. Create 2 VHD drives within this Virtual Server.
    2. Drive 1 = IIS (128Gb)
    3. Drive 2 = Email (128Gb)
    4. Once built, attach them. 
  7. IIS Setup:
    1. Transfer your wwwroot to your virtual drive 1 IIS drive.
    2. Configure your self signed certificate for your testing.
    3. Check to make sure your start page loads.
  8. Email Server Setup: 
    1. Download from SmarterTools the SmarterMail Enterprise Edition Mail Server good for 1 domain. This will load up in your C:\Programs folder and create a local domain resource to your C: DISK 0 container. 
    2. Transfer the C:\smartermail folder to your DISK 2 Email VHD folder. Update the xml file for domains to point to the new folder location. 
  9. Setup a Virtual Machine in your Hyper-V for a Windows 7 Pro.
  10. Configure your RDWeb.
    1. Rest your remote desktop connection via RDWeb.
    2. You can disable or abandon the RDweb if you would like later. For now I need you to test everything. It's important that you know everything has installed correctly.
  11. From the Roles main page we need to test each Role and each Feature of the role. We aren't looking for perfect just yet. We need to review to make sure we can correct everything "Scan This Role"  

Now, work with the roles, features and scan them as you make changes. Read the logs, lots of logs, read them all. Once you read them clear the logs and go to the next role and feature. 
The best method I found was to find and correct issues as you installed components, roles and features. Scanning the roles give basic info about what might be missing or mis-configured. It is very important to fix issues before you install enter linked or supporting features or roles. Kind of like fixing one tire when you have two flat. Still not going to work well, but it will work. 

I'll add more and get you up dated information. 
Be sure to run your updates. 

Last thought, make a backup of your system after every change that successfully tested good. You will sooner or later make an adjustment that you would regret. Lucky for us this is not a production machine so mistakes are only seen by our local IT co-workers. 

For this study and build I have the following machine names. 

  1. Servers
    1. XYZ
    2. XYZ0
    3. XYZ1
  2. Desktops (VDI Pool)
    1. XYZ10 (Windows Desktops)
    2. XYZ20 (Ubuntu Desktop)
    3. XYZ30 (Ubuntu Server)
  3. IP Address: 192.168.3.x

 

Note: If you plan on using RemoteFX for better graphics and USB to Remote Desktop you shouldn't install Active Directory. In Hyper-V it just doesn't work as far as I know and have tested. 

Remember, 99.9% of all IT pro's do their best work when they are well rested and happy. Number One is to be in tune with what you are doing. 
Ask questions and when given reading material read the dang thing. 
If you're in a rush and are doing this at work hire a local pro to help you. 
I will offer my experience here online and locally for those that ask. But, the online version will come as I have time. I'm guessing by the end of the year every step will be online and I'll be moving to other server builds to help those that want to build and host their own servers.

 

 

 

 

This will be the longest process you have ever had when it comes to setting up a server. Be sure to learn each section because you'll be expected to know them as I walk you through all the inner workings of an active server.