Overview of Windows 2000 Server Roles

Summary

This article discusses some of the various roles for Windows 2000-based servers including:

  • Print Servers
  • File Servers
  • Program Servers
  • Web Servers
  • Proxy Servers

More Information

Using the flexibility of Windows 2000, network administrators can deploy a diverse range of network services to form a highly-robust middle tier in the overall infrastructure of a network.

Print Servers

Businesses of all sizes require that printing capability be made available to users across multiple sites and domains. Generally, a network printer is configured based upon where the printer is physically located, and who within the organization needs to use the printer. Using Windows 2000, the network administrator can configure printers as public printers, where everyone on the network can use the printers, or as private printers, where only a group or certain users within a group have access. This requires careful planning for the number of users that will be using any particular group of printers.

Because a typical print server often manages a large number of printers, it must have sufficient Random Access Memory (RAM) to process documents. It is possible that the server could require additional RAM beyond what Windows 2000 requires for other tasks. If a print server does not have sufficient RAM for its workload, printing performance could deteriorate.

The print server should also have enough disk space to hold all of the documents sent to it until the server can send them to the print device. Documents for which the server has no room remain on the client computer until the server has sufficient space. This process causes performance deterioration on the client computer.

Client computers that are not running Microsoft operating systems have additional requirements in order to print to network printers. The network administrator must install additional services on print servers and install the appropriate printer drivers on the client computers. Some of these client computers and the services needed for them to connect to the print server are:

  • Macintosh - Services for Macintosh
  • NetWare - File and Print Services for NetWare
  • UNIX TCP/IP Printing, which is also known as Line Printer Daemon Service (LPD)- Services for Unix
Active Directory integration with Windows 2000 print services can enhance network printing. However, it is important to note that the performance and functionality enhancements for Windows 2000 print services are available prior to installing Active Directory.

After you have installed Active Directory, Windows 2000 provides a standard printer object for Active Directory. Using this object, you can publish printers to be shared across the network. This provides users with an easy way to locate printers. By searching the Active Directory, users are able to find printers based on printer attributes or capabilities such as:

  • PostScript functionality
  • Paper size
  • Color printing
  • Printer location

File Servers

File servers provide for organization-wide access to files, and programs. In previous Windows server operating systems, file shares were localized to a particular server. This required the user to log on to individual file servers to obtain access to the files they needed. If that file server became unavailable, the user had to manually locate an alternate server, if one existed. Even though this type of file system worked, Windows 2000 automatically provides redundant file-system connectivity.

Shares on a Windows 2000 file server can be distributed across a site or domain by using the Windows 2000 Distributed File System (DFS). With the DFS infrastructure, a group of file servers are "seen" by the user as one entity. For example, suppose you have the following Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 file servers:

  • \\Research\Projects1
  • \\Research\Projects2
  • \\Research\Projects3
  • \\Research\Projects4
Using Windows 2000 DFS, you now have the ability to add all four file servers to the DFS tree and use just one share called \\Research\Projects.

This would permit any user with the proper security credentials, to obtain access to any file on any of the four file servers. Active Directory provides for redundancy and load balancing by first trying to find the file server closest to the user requesting the information. If the closest file server is either unavailable or busy, then Active Directory uses DFS to access the next file server, and so on.

If you plan to use DFS to distribute your file servers across the domain, it is recommended that you determine which servers will be in which groups before you upgrade to Windows 2000. For example, you can put all of the file servers that store programs in one group, backed-up data servers in the next group, and active file servers in the next group. This permits users to locate resources with a minimum of confusion.

To obtain this functionality, add the Distributed File Systems snap-in to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

Program Servers

A program server enables a user or users to run programs that are not installed on the user's workstation computer.

Depending on the amount of free disk space required when the program is in use, a program server might need more system resources. For example, a program server for a database program might need more memory and disk space than a server that hosts a word-processing program.

Windows 2000 Server provides high-level interfaces for commonly used services such as database access and Active Directory services. These interfaces can be used from virtually any programming or scripting language, making for easy, rapid development.

A program member server can host a variety of programs and services, such as a Component Server, Terminal Service Server, Database Server, and E-mail Server.

With Component Server, services such as Terminal Server, Application Load Balancing, Transaction Services, Application Management, and Message Queuing can be utilized. Terminal Server is an environment that provides remote client access to Windows-based programs running on a Windows 2000 Terminal Server. The Database Server provides a stable platform for running and managing database software, such as Microsoft SQL Server. If you are installing Windows 2000 Server, no further configuration of the operating system is needed to run the database software. Also, if you are using a database other than Microsoft SQL Server, that database must be compatible with Windows 2000.

Web Servers

Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) is the World Wide Web (WWW) service integrated into Windows 2000 Server. A network administrator can use IIS to set up a Web or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site on a corporate intranet, create large sites for use on the Internet, or develop component-based programs.

Proxy Servers

Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 provides local intranet clients with access to the Internet while keeping the local intranet free from intruders. Member servers running Proxy Server 2.0 can be seamlessly upgraded, but in order for Proxy 2.0 to be used by Windows 2000 Server, an additional step is required. Windows 2000 requires that a patch called the Windows 2000 Update Wizard for Microsoft Proxy 2.0 be installed on the computer running Proxy 2.0 Server. This patch can be obtained from the following Microsoft Web site:

The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
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ID d'article : 242955 - Dernière mise à jour : 1 mars 2007 - Révision : 1

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