Soon I starting to work a day a week in a Special Secondary level school. Their existing network has been put together by a local IT company and currently consists of an unbranded tower server running Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise? Edition Server. This poor old server sits in a particularly hot in Summer staff room, it has a decent back up set up - which currently doesn't run properly, a cheapie UPS and fufills the whole curriculum role. No Group Policy seems to be present everything running from a series of script files.
The school has something like 70 students and I'd not be surprised if an inventory found close on 100 devices (mainly PCs running XP Pro but also a couple of machines running Windows 7 RC! photocopiers, notebooks and printers make up the remaining devices), connected to the network.
I have been asked to recommend a way forward - including replacing the server - what to go for Server 2003 which I have some knowledge of or Server 2008 - untouched by me so far, relocating the server - perhaps even to a secure Air Con served room. Then arranging the transfer /set up of the new server.
The budget is healthy and I'd like to get it right with a system that does the job and is as secure as possible! Recommendations and advice would be hugely welcome.
Build for the future not just for today. Depending on the budget I would go for a good expandable relyable solution which does mean a server in a climate controlled locked area. I would also suggest Server 2008 as it has been out for ages now and there is no sence in putting in a new system that is already one revision of software behind. This way you are much more ready for Windows 7 when it comes out than with a 2003 box. I would also look at standardising the OS and policies applied to them to make it more managable. If that means getting a MS school license and putting them all to XP with Office 2007 for the time being until 7 is out then so be it depending on the timeframe of the project.
Look your inventory and see what machines are where and how many need replacing/ how soon. I would also look at the network infrastructure as the switches may be old and the fastest server on the planet is not going to make up for some rubbishy old 100mbit switch in a dusty closet somewhere.
Id probebly go for a DELL server with onsite support, look at a second to load balance and act as a print server maybe reusing the old server.
Not used Server 2008 yet, but you could fire it up and see whats different.
I know there are quite a few changes with regard to adm's, but if I had any concerns wouldnt be too unhappy about using 2003.
Look at the switches and try to get a gigabit backbone in place.
A file server to store Home folders and do backups, maybe be a WSUS or AV deployment server.
Get the room secure with cooling.
Thats how Id start, due to the low amount of users it should fair them very well.
Whatever you have left can be spent when at specific areas once its all up and running.