Deploying Windows Server - General Overview

If you're like me, you've probably been deploying Windows Server since you finished high-school. For some of us, we deployed our first Windows Server even before then. So it's easy to get stuck in a rut, and continue doing things as you always have. But, you really need to change the way you do things everytime a new version of Windows Server is released. With Windows Server 2012 now on our doorstep, the procedure for installing and configuring Windows Server is about to take another dramatic change. So here is an overview of a few basic steps you should complete whenever you install Windows Server, some of these steps will only apply to the later versions:
  1. Always install on redundant storage - Be it a SAN or a RAID array (1 or 10)
  2. Consider Server Core - It may be a little daunting to run a server without a GUI, but your security team will thank you for it!
  3. Configure a static IP address - IPv4 and IPv6 or disable IPv6 if you're not going to use it. Be aware that some features rely on IPv6, find out what they are and see if that will effect you
  4. Configure your hostname - Come up with a naming convention that makes it easy to identify the server's role in your environment. Sometimes people like to link the name with the IP, which makes it easy to determine the IP address based on the name.
  5. Configure a Server SOE - You can do this using scripting or Group Policy objects, having a Server SOE makes your server's easier to manage. I configure loopback processing on my Server SOE so that all Administrators have a similar operating environment. This makes it easier to produce documentation that works
  6. Run the BPA (Best Practice Analyser) -  For the roles you have installed, fix any errors and read any warnings to see if you need to fix them too. If the BPA is missing for your role, install it by obtaining the Windows Update from Microsoft. Once you have had the server up and running for a while, re-run the BPA
  7. MBSA - More on this later

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