The Bank Holiday Weekend

I spent this bank holiday weekend learning all about Windows 2003, and how NOT to upgrade it. For instance:

  • You cant add more than one Windows 2003 small business server to a network, as it ALWAYS wants to set up DNS from scratch

  • Adding a new Windows server to an existing AD environment. Did you know that Active Directory comes in many flavours - Native, 2003, mixed. And to convert from one flavour to another is a non-reversable step.

  • If you try and "upgrade" your AD environment to 2003, remember to go through EVERY SINGLE AD administration tool, removing any references to any old windows 2000 servers you might have EVER put in there. For instance, I couldnt upgrade my AD as there was an old "connection" document pointing at a removed windows 2000 server. Thats right folks, the AD had allowed me to remove the server reference, but left broken references all over the place.

  • Even when you've tidied up your AD environment, you still have to run "ADPrep" on the Active Directory, in order to allow you to add a new Windows 2003 R2 (What on earth is "R2" ? Who cares) server to your AD. Lovely. Is this reversable ? Dunno. Wonderful, eh ?

  • After all that, you cannot make DNS servers "fault tolerant". It still needs the primary 2003 server to run, and the secondary one just relays that. So no clustering then.

  • DHCP Servers. Well. No, You can only have one MS one in a network. Ever. Period. So no fault tolerance there then.

  • I recall when I did my NT MCSE that you could (after some considerable pain) get the replicator service to replcate directories between file servers, so at least there was some form of "warm" backup. Either I cant find it anymore, or this feature has been "removed".. Feature "un-creep" ?

  • If you have a non-IDE drive in your server, then for gods sake DONT think about doing ANYTHING without a floppy drive in there. A floppy drive ? Serious ? I've not used a floppy disk for FIVE years now. I had to go to the shed (at 3am!) to dig one out of a dead machine in order to get Windows 2003 to load drivers from the floppy disk. Drivers for an Adaptec RAID drive. And here's me thinking that as Adaptec was "tier 1" supplier, the drivers would be on windows 2003. Especially on this amazing "R2" server. (Perhaps "R2" means "Another chance to charge the customer money for features they dont use ? ")

  • All in all - to "upgrade" a windows 2003 WEB server to a windows 2003 STANDARD server took about 12 hours. 12 hours of my life wasted.

Compare and contrast. Upgrading my fedora core v4 to fedora core v5. 2 hours. Came on one DVD, installed the OS, development environment, office environment, networking, file sharing (including windows). Did I mention that I have SAMBA running on this machine, acting as a file server in the AD Domain ?

Remind me again. Which one is most expensive, is supposed to be easiest to install, and has a nice GUI to make maintenance easy ? Oh yeah....