Working with Windows Server

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Recently, I started a job at a new company (UNICAMP) and it has been a paradigm shift when dealing with the administration of services and servers for me. Basically, for the last 9 years, I’ve been working with a Unix-only environment at IFSP. Here, the default service provider architecture is based on Windows Server. Personally, I’d like to change everything to Linux again and be confortable in administrating it, but that’s not the reality for now. For those who doesn’t know, I’m actually working alone at the IT Departament of one of UNICAMP’s research centers, so I’m heritaging a 30 years-old IT Infrastructured from other people that I doesn’t met. Well, to be fair, one of the technicians that used to work here showed me the place and the people, but that’s just a general overview of all the structure, what means I’m still learning everything I need to know (I’ve been her for a week now).

So, since there’s already an infrastructure of servers based on Windows Server, I’ll be writing a little about my experience with this platform and what I’ve been struggling with.

How different is that from Linux?

One thing I like to teach my students is: if you know the underlying theory of what you’re doing, the tool you’ll be using is only a matter of efficiency. That said, I already know how to manage a domain server, I’ve been working with SaMBa for the last 9 years after all. So it’s just a matter of changing the tools I’ll be using. It’s not like I’ve never used windows server before, so some concepts like the AD DS servers, GC servers, ADSI, ADUC and other tools are well known for me.

That said, I’m getting used to Event Viewer, DFSR and some other tools that I didn’t use before. DFSR is a special case here, since there was an issue with replication of the Sysvol volume between the servers that I had to deal with. Basically, one of the servers that composes the domain tree wasn’t syncing the Sysvol volume with other servers for about a year and a half. I ended up defining which would be the “newer” server and decided to remove the dangling objects from the other, with that, I could correct the replication. It wasn’t really a big issue, there’s just a few domain users and computers in the research center, so I only had to reconfigure around 3 computers here and everything is working.

Will the platform stay as is?

I’m still too new here to make this kind of decision. There’s a lot of things I’ll have to take care before, like gathering information that wasn’t documented here before I arrived, like migrating some services and systems that isn’t really working the most optimized it could, and other things. So I won’t focus on changing it for now, unless UNICAMP’s computing center team says it’s better for me to change it to some other architecture.

That’s all for now, folks!

I’ll try to update this blog more frequently with smaller posts, maybe it will make it the work of updating it easier. I’ll try to focus on studies and new discoveries, documentation, guidelines and subject-talking to make it more flexible. I’m a little unmotivated in talking about subjects I already know, but since one of the objectives of this site is to be a blog about things I know, I’ll give it a try.


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