Installing and Configuring Windows Essential Business Server

Microsoft's EBS 2008 bundles full-blown messaging, database and security services in an easy-to-manage package you can leave in the hands of less savvy personnel, conserving precious budget and IT resources. Before they can use it, though, you'll need a Windows expert to set it up.

 By Jabez Gan
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In a previous article, we learned about Microsoft's Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008, a low-cost way to get a number of essential network services bundled in an easy-to-manage package. If you still remember what EBS does, great! Let's now assume that we are ready to deploy EBS, but how do we do it? That's where this article comes in.


EBS's system requirements include a 64-bit system, and more or less clock speed depending on whether you're running a single- or multi-core machine. If you are planning to virtualize all three servers into one single physical box, I suggest you equip it with a minimum of 8GB RAM.

Since EBS consists of multiple servers, it might not be an easy installation, especially if migrating from an existing environment. As I step through installation and setup, I will explain why a Windows deployment expert is needed throughout the process. Don't get me wrong: EBS can be œ by almost anybody with limited IT knowledge, but a specialist is still needed to set it up.

Now, let me start with the first step:

Preparing the Network Environment Configuration File

As setting up EBS could be a complicated process depending on the environment, a "preparation wizard" and "planning wizard" have been developed to scan the network to ensure EBS is compatible. If it is, you will need to determine the new network topology, IP addressing scheme and firewall placement. The end result is a PlanningWizardData.XML file you can store on a thumb drive for use during installation.

Figure 1: EBS Installation attempts to guide the user step by step
throughout the installation.

Installation of EBS

EBS consists of four DVDs, where the first DVD contains the preparation and logging wizard and the rest DVDs contain the management, security and messaging software. It's best to turn all three servers on throughout the installation as that allows each of the servers to communicate their status with the management server.

The first step is to install the management server. Do you remember of the PlanningWizardData.XML file you saved to a thumb drive? During the installation of the management server, this file is required for EBS to ensure that the network environment is compatible with EBS.

The other required information other than network configuration includes the domain name for Active Directory. This is one of the reasons why EBS needs to be installed by a Windows deployment expert.

Once the management server has been installed, fire up the installers for the security and messaging servers. Both the installers will ask the user for the domain administrator's credentials for them to be joined to the domain controller.

Figure 2: Joining Messaging Server to the domain.

This article was originally published on Jun 24, 2010
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