Windows Server 2016 006: Organizational Units and Group Policy Objects

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In this article I’ll be covering the very basics of Organizational Units (OUs) and Group Policy Objects (GPOs).

An OU is very much like a folder in which you can place Users, Groups, Computers and other OUs. GPOs allow for very fine grain control over what users are able to do with their computers. For example, being able to open Control Panel, change the Desktop Background or open Task Manager. You can also map network drives at login and other useful tasks. You can link GPOs to a Domain or OU and everything within the Domain/OU will inherit the GPOs.

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Windows Server 2016 005: Hyper-V and Virtual Machines

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Hyper-V is Microsoft’s entry in to the virtualization market. Virtualization allows you to run multiple operating systems (Virtual Machines) on a single physical machine known as the host. With the resources available in a modern server you can often run dozens or more virtual machines on a single host allowing for considerable hardware consolidation.

In this guide I’ll be installing the Hyper-V role on to Windows Server 2016 Standard 180 day trial so you can easily follow along. I would recommend doing this on a physical machine rather than inside an existing VM unless you know what you’re doing.

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Windows Server 2016 004: Users, Computers and Groups

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The main point of Active Directory is to make managing large amounts of users and computers much easier. If you had 5,000 computers and users in a company, having a local account on every single computer for each user simply wouldn’t be manageable. If someone joined or left the company, got a promotion/demotion and needed different permissions/restrictions it would be infeasible to go to every single computer and make the necessary changes. Active Directory solves this by having a large database of users and computers and allows you to manage them easily within Groups and Organizational Units.

In this article I’ll be covering creation of User Accounts, adding Computers and managing both within Groups.

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Windows Server 2016 003: Basic DNS Management

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In a Windows based network, you’ll almost definitely have Windows Server with the DNS service installed. DNS can get complicated very fast if you’re just starting to learn it but you only need to know a few things to get you started. Here I’ll be covering how to do 3 very basic things:

  1. Verify that DHCP is setup to point computers to your Windows DNS Server
  2. Basic trouble shooting steps
  3. Mapping names to IP addresses

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Create a Samba File Server with Ubuntu or Debian

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Setting up a Samba File Server from the command line may sound daunting but in this guide I’ll break it down in to simple steps any beginner with Linux can follow!

You’ll need:

  1. A computer running Ubuntu Minimal/Server or Debian
  2. A computer to be the client (preferably Windows)

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Windows Server 2016 001: Active Directory Lab Setup

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Introduction

This guide aims to help you setup a learning “lab” environment for Windows Server 2016 and Active Directory Domain Services from scratch presuming only basic knowledge of virtual machines, networking and OS installation.

By the end of this guide you will have:

  • Windows Server 2016 installed in a VM
  • pfSense installed in a VM to isolate your lab network
  • Active Directory Domain Services, DHCP and other required services running
  • A Windows 10 VM on the domain

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ESXi iSCSI Round Robin IOPS performance boost

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By default in ESXi the Round Robin IOPS limit is set to 1000 meaning that the path only changes after 1000 I/O operations have occurred. The result is basically the same performance as running a single path in my experience. Adjusting the limit from 1000 to 1 can result in much better performance.

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Creating an ESXi install USB Stick

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Installing ESXi (or any os for that matter) off of a CD/DVD is becoming harder and harder yet they still insist on distributing ISO files. Once upon a time we had these drives internally but these days chances are neither your workstation or server are going to have an optical drive meaning you’ll have to dig up a USB optical drive from the bottom of a box buried under multiple other boxes… Or something like that.

USB sticks have replaced optical media for installing operating systems so here I’ll show you how to create an install USB for VMware ESXi. You’ll need:

  • A Windows computer (Or USB passthrough to a Windows VM)
  • ESXi ISO file
  • USB Flash Drive 4GB+
  • Rufus (Portable edition is convenient)

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