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Building the Foundations for a Highly Available Windows Server Architecture

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This chapter teaches you how to set up a Windows-based network around a single support server used for updates, patches, tools, installation bits, and DHCP services.
This chapter is from the book

Introduction

A lot of theory has been covered in the previous chapters. Now it's time to start implementing. This chapter and the ones to follow take what we have discussed up to now and roll it into an implementation plan for a data center that tens of thousands of users will rely upon.

First, we introduce clustering as it is accomplished on the Windows Server 2003 platform. We also discuss cluster concepts, models, and architecture. Then we implement the Active Directory architecture and network architecture as discussed in Chapter 5, "Preparing the Platform for a High-Performance Network," and lay the foundations for a highly available and reliable Web, database, and email server architecture, a network that will eventually comprise NLB IIS servers, NLB application servers, SQL Server clusters, Exchange clusters, and file and print clusters.

You can look at this chapter as the foundation implementation plan. It is what you need to follow if tasked with constructing and deploying a highly available solution. In the practical part, this chapter first outlines the process of building the forest and forest root domain, on either your lab or production network. It also covers the process of providing a resource for OS installations, tools, utilities, and patches. Then we prepare the cluster virtual server to begin hosting resources.

In this chapter, you implement Active Directory. At first glance, it seems that you are doing nothing more than setting up the usual AD network. But as you install the various cluster servers and services, you see that what is laid down in this chapter provides the solid foundation for the future systems. Then we deal with the actual process of clustering the servers, setting up cluster resources, and getting ready to activate the fail-over resources in Part II, "Building High Availability Windows Server 2003 Solutions." This is something you cannot do unless AD is well implemented beforehand.

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