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Long strides – Essential Business Server

Long strides – Essential Business Server

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So I got my hands on an Intel Modular Server MFSYS25 and had the initial joyous task of updating all the firmware and BIOS, which to be fair went of without a hitch, except for the fact it was like having a small turbine engine under my desk.

 

So using 4 blades I set about installing EBS.

1 – RRAS (As any network port here is domain joined to microsoft.corp)

2 – Management

3 – Security

4 – Messaging

You get 4 Disks in the Standard Package which are numbered as above EXCEPT DVD 1 is actually the Preparation Wizard CD!

 

Couple of things to note so far:

The Preparation CD needs to be run in the environment you are building, which is a little odd for a greenfield install, so you just have to go through the motions so it can detect that there is no existing AD, Exchange, DNS or DHCP etc. Halfway through the planning phase the equivalent of an answerfile is splurted out….. Its a .xml file which needs to go onto a usb key (or the root of server 2 – Management). It is mainly the name and IP addresses of what you want the 3 servers to be, and the scope of the DHCP etc.

Then I simply booted off the EBS DVD 2 on the 2nd Server and by the wonder of technology (and the REALLY great job the EBS team have done) the installation begins, it runs through a detection phase (using the .xml which you will need to point it to) checks the health, and begins installing a plethora of cool stuff. It allows you to use a temporary IP address to install the box which you can either configure manually, OR, use DHCP :)

The wizards are AMAZING. Once that had completed I moved to the next server, Security, and began the install…..no .xml this time, but it allows you to save a .txt of the settings you are about to apply. You go through the whole ‘configuring’ process and at the end you get to install what you have set up, cool huh! Another feature in this install (obviously not in the first) is the Domain join step, you put in the domain, and the administrator credentials and it will do that as part of the install, along with configuring email gateway and remote access.

The final phase, captains log day 2……The messaging server….

This again was all wizard driven with some very diverse options to choose from. Again it gave the join the domain step, and then configure the rest.

I did think the bulk of the install was then complete. I was partially right, I then had a “to do list” generated by the installer which covers things like certificates, external RWW access, installing WSS 3.0, adding license packs, checking firewall rules.

All in all this was a long, but very straight forward process and I have to say was quite exciting to see the intelligent software, that the EBS team have spent ages locked away in dark cupboards building, do its stuff AND work! :) Well done guys

 

One thing to note, a little gotcha from me using an RRAS setup, was that the EBS DNS boxes needed to have the forwarders added (In my case the IP addresses of the DNS servers on Microsoft.corp) without this EBS wont be able to “see out”. Thanks to Matt McSpirit for pointing this out :)

The install process obviously has many screens, and posting hundreds of screen shots wouldn’t really work, so if you have anything you would specifically like to see, let me know.

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