Windows Server 2016 – Introduction

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There are a number of technologies in Windows Server 2016 that you need to know if you plan to ever work in a Windows environment. These are technologies such as Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), Domain Name System (DNS), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). If you haven’t noticed already, everything in the Windows world has an acronym. In fact, you may only recognize these items by their acronyms, and that’s okay.

Nobody calls DHCP the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol anyway. But do you know how to build these services and bring a Windows Server infrastructure online from scratch, with only a piece of hardware and a Windows Server 2016 installation disk to guide your way? This is why we are here today. I would like to instruct you on taking your first server and turning it into everything that you need to run a Microsoft network.

Every company and network is different and has different requirements. Some will get by with a single server to host a myriad of roles, while others have thousands of servers at their disposal and will have every role split up into clusters of servers, each of which has a single purpose in life. Whatever your situation, this will get us back to the basics on setting up the core infrastructure technologies that are needed in any Microsoft-centric network.

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Windows Server 2016 – Introduction

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We are going to assume, for most tasks in this chapter, that the role for IIS is already installed on the web server. This role is specifically called Web Server (IIS) in the list of roles, and there are numerous additional features that we can add to IIS. For all of our recipes, we only need the defaults added, the ones that are selected automatically when installing the role. That role installation is the only thing a Windows Server 2016 box needs in order to serve up web pages to users, other than a little bit of knowledge of how to get the site doing what you want it to do. In order to get the role installed properly, make sure to stop by the Installing the Web Server role with PowerShell recipe in order to put that component into place. Let’s get familiar with some of the common tasks in IIS.

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Windows Server 2016 – Introduction

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I would like to take a minute and describe the different parts and pieces that could potentially make up your RDS environment. We won’t be covering the installation or use of all components that might be involved with a full RDS deployment, but you should at least be aware of the components and their intended functions:

  • Remote Desktop Session Host: This is the most common type of RDS server, as it is the one hosting the programs and sessions that users connect to. Depending on the size of your environment, there may be many of these servers running concurrently.
  • Remote Desktop Connection Broker: This is like the load balancer for RDS servers. It distributes users evenly across RDSH servers, and helps users to reconnect to existing sessions rather than creating fresh ones.
  • Remote Desktop Licensing: This is responsible for managing the licenses that are required for RDS use in a network.
  • Remote Desktop Gateway: This is a gateway device that can bring remote users out on the Internet into an RDS environment. For example, a user at home could utilize the connection provided by an RD Gateway in order to access work information.
  • Remote Desktop Web Access: This enables users to access desktops and applications by using the local Start menu on their Windows 7, 8, or 10 computers. Users can also utilize this to access applications via a web browser.
  • Remote Desktop Virtualization Host: This is a role that integrates with Hyper-V in order to provide virtual desktop sessions to users. The difference here is that resources given to those users are spun up from Hyper-V, rather than shared resources such as an RDSH.

Many of these roles can be placed together on a single server, which is what we will be doing in our recipe to bring a simple RDS environment online. As your deployment grows and you continue to add users and servers, it is generally a good idea to make these roles decentralized and redundant when possible.

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Windows Server 2016 – Introduction

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There are many third-party tools available for performing functions such as data backups and performance monitoring, and because these tools exist, it is easy to automatically assume that they will do a better job than anything that comes with the operating system. Given that, we often categorize backups and monitoring into areas where we will have to spend extra money. I’m not trying to argue that every add-on tool for these functions is unnecessary because they do certainly benefit the right kinds of company. But anyone willing to dig into Server 2016 and discover what it can accomplish on its own accord, without extra add-ons, I think you will find that it meets the needs of many businesses.

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Windows Server 2016 – Introduction

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Group Policy is a centralized administration tool for your domain joined systems. To summarize its capabilities, you can create policies in Active Directory, assign those policies to particular users or computers, and within those policies change any number of settings or configurations that are within the Windows operating system. The item inside Active Directory that contains these settings is called a Group Policy Object (GPO), so we will be focusing on the creation and manipulation of these in order to make some centralized management decisions that will affect large numbers of computers in our environment. GPOs can be utilized for user accounts, client computer settings, or for putting configurations onto your servers. Any domain joined system can be manipulated by a GPO, and typically settings put into place by GPOs cannot be overridden by users, making them a very integral part of security for companies familiar with making use of Group Policy regularly.

We will place a number of different configuration settings inside the GPOs that we create throughout this chapter, but we will not come close to covering even a fraction of the available settings that could be manipulated. For full coverage Group Policy settings that are available, please check out the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=25250.

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