Guy’s Litmus Test: Do you use client server networks?

Professionals run a client server network with Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 clients

Amateurs run a Peer to Peer network of XP and Windows 98


The decision to use a client server network or a peer to peer network is really a ‘no brainer’.  The benefits of central administration and single user logon far outweigh the cost of a server.  I would stick my neck out and say that no company is too small to benefit from a server on their network.

One client spent ages grappling with problems of XP acting as a server with Windows 98 clients.  Each is designed as a client and neither works well as a server.

How many servers do you need?

Having made the case for servers, it is interesting to see the server philosophy in large companies.  I keep wondering whether having hundreds servers is a badge of success or mark of inefficiency.  Each case must be taken on merit.  A small server in a branch office, can be much better than a using a slow link to authenticate at corporate HQ.  Even this decision is not straightforward as fast WAN links get cheaper.

On the other hands 10’s of small servers in a large building can be efficiently replaced by one or two powerful servers.

Factors to consider

  • Network speed (LAN and WAN).
  • Server scalability e.g. extra RAM, another disk rack.
  • Server characteristics e.g. DC, GC, DNS, DHCP services to well together while email and databases are best having their own server.
  • See more network litmus tests.

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There are so many good gadgets; it’s like having free rein of a sweetshop.  Thankfully the utilities are displayed logically: monitoring, network discovery, diagnostic, and Cisco tools.  Try the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset now!

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DHCP Server in Windows 2012DHCP in Windows Server 2012

What helps with DHCP is a plan of what you want to achieve.  For example, decide the IP address range(s), calculate the subnet masks, and consider scope options such as the address of the DNS server.

Begin by adding role DHCP server role to your Windows 2012 member server.  Start configuring in the Server Manager, click on the 'Tools' menu, there is DHCP Server.

See more on Windows Server 2012 DHCP

Litmus Tests

Guy’s Litmus test is a concept that you can apply anywhere.  Each test gives you an instant answer to the simple question:-  ‘Are you dealing with a professional, or are they an amateur?   Is this the real deal, or is it a turkey?’   The Litmus Test concept is rather like Best Practice, but it reduces a 27 page report to one sentence. 

Try another of my Litmus tests »

Learn about Windows 8 and Active Directory

Windows 8 New Features   • Windows 8 Remote Desktop   •Windows 8 Install and Boot

Windows 8 Performance  •Windows 8 Overview  •Permissions

Organization Units Litmus Test  • Universal Groups  •Permissions Analyzer