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Is it time for a major computing paradigm shift? A world in which we no longer think of servers and operating systems could be just around the corner.
Ken Hess's profile photoBrian Fraley's profile photoAlan Peery's profile photo
I just finished reading your post "Are Hyper-V and App-V the new Windows Servers?". I am a little confused by your statement "I hope you didn’t say File or Print. Those services move under application server configurations. Hopefully no one but small companies are still using Windows Servers as File/Print servers." Our plants have a single domain controller that hosts active directory, dns, dhcp along with users files and print queues. What would you use instead of MS file and print services? Were you implying that no one would have a single server dedicated to just file and print? If so why not, at out corporate offices we find it easier to have a single dedicated server handle the file and print services?

Smaller companies still use servers for File/Print. Larger ones use SAN or NAS for file storage and print directly to printers.
How do you handle printing directly to printers? I can't imagine explaining to a user how to set up a TCP/IP port, finding the correct driver to download and getting it installed. With Windows Server 2008 R2 we have them go to the web site, select the printer and click on Connect. Windows detects the version of OS and installs the correct driver from the list installed on the server. We do have the files on a SAN but the SAN is connected to a Windows Server with iSCSI. Users are mapped in their logon script to file shares set up on the Windows server. I'm not even sure that you can set up the necessary file shares to allow a user a location for their individual files, department files and company files while maintaining an easy to manage security profile directly on the SAN.

You can setup shares on Netapp Filers. But, a lot of companies have save locations built directly into the applications via netbios type connections. Printers too can be setup via the registry so that the user has no interaction.
In my company, you print directly to the printer, no server shares. If you don't know how, you ask someone or you call the help desk.
I think I'll have to agree to disagree with you on this. I can't see trying to manipulate the registry on lots of existing computers to allow for a new model of printer being installed. We can set the printer up on the network and have a print queue and drivers available in a few minutes. Having users reboot to pick up a new group policy to push out registry settings or doing some kind of install with SCCM won't be as fast. And trying to link Active Directory to a NetApp filer, well NetApp didn't recommend that as a way to handle security, instead suggesting that iSCSI works better with Windows. Windows 8 Server still has the same file and printer options as previous versions so MS hasn't given up on it yet. I can see that if the BYOD trend picks up steam we'll have to consider training for users on how to connect directly to printers and maybe even filer shares if the security problems can be worked out. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions it is appreciated.

+Brian Fraley You may want to cross-check with NetApp what they meant by recommending iSCSI as iSCSI more commonly used for providing blocks of storage, rather than the storage of individual files. It can be particularly useful in rolling out technologies like failover and virtualization clusters, as the same chunk of storage can be accessed by multiple servers.  I'm using it at home to run VMWare VMs on noisy servers in the garage, from my main storage/display box under the TV.

NetApp is also able to use Active Directory to secure files via Windows style groups and permissions, or it wouldn't be able to say that it support CIFS.  This capability, joined with good performance and their snapshot filesystem, were critical to their sales success -- so something's been lost in translation somewhere.
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