This chapter is designed to provide you with an introduction to Windows Server in general, and Windows Server 2019 in particular. Windows Server 2019, the newest version of the Microsoft OS for servers, is the follow-up to Windows Server 2016. Besides introducing Windows Server, right at the beginning of this chapter, you will find an overview of the very basic concepts of computer networks. This chapter is organized into two parts; each part provides a concise but complete description of these concepts.
Definitions such as hosts, nodes, peer-to-peer, and clients/servers are covered in the Understanding Computer Network section. Windows Server 2019 is covered in the Understanding Servers Windows Server Overview section. Finally, once you are acquainted with the essentials of Windows Server in general and Windows Server 2019, in particular, through chapter exercise you will have the option to download Windows Server 2019 and create an installation media.
The following topics will be covered in this chapter:
- Understanding computer networks
- Understanding servers
- Understanding Windows Server
- Chapter exercise—downloading Windows Server 2019
In order to complete the exercise in this chapter, you will need the following equipment:
- A PC with Windows 10 Pro, at least 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB of HDD, and access to the internet
It all began many years ago when the need for sharing resources became a necessity. As time went by and demands increased, the development and advancement of computer network technologies also took place. With that, more computers were connected to computer networks and geographical distances were diminished in terms of communication. It created a need for well-defined terms and concepts to describe computer networking. Because of that, different types of computer networks, network topologies, architectures, and components have emerged.
Let's begin by understanding what a computer network is.
From my experience, people often confuse what a computer network is with what a computer network does. While the first explains what constitutes a computer network, the latter shows the benefits of a computer network. In Figure 1.1 we can see that a computer network is a group of computers connected to each other in order to share resources. The resources are usually data, network services, and peripheral devices:
A computer network is divided into different types. Let's take a look at each of them individually.
In general, the categorization of computer networks consists of the area they cover and the purpose they serve. Some of the most popular types of computer networks nowadays are described in the following subsections.
A Personal Area Network (Figure 1.2) is a computer network that is used to connect and transmit data among devices located in a private area that is partially or completely protected from external access. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are the most common communication technologies used to interconnect devices in a PAN. Often, a PAN is also known as a Home Area Network (HAN):
Another type of network is local area network (LAN). However its coverage is far greater than a PAN. Let's learn more about it next section.
A LAN (Figure 1.3) is a computer network that connects two or more computers in a local area. Try to understand a local area as one single room, a floor, several floors, a building, or several buildings adjacent to each other at a distance that Ethernet communication technology permits. A LAN usually utilizes a central device that uses twisted pair, coaxial, or fiber optic cables as a networking media to interconnect computers:
The next type of network that we are going to look at is the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN).Its coverage is even greater than a LAN.
In contrast to a LAN, a MAN (Figure 1.4) represents a group of LANs interconnected within the geographical boundary of a town or city. Nowadays, fiber optics and gigabit layer 3 switches are used to interconnect LANs and route the traffic among them, as seen in the following figure:
Finally, we will understand what is a wide area network (WAN) which has the greatest coverage.
Unlike a MAN, a WAN (as shown in Figure 1.5) is a computer network that covers a wide geographic area using dedicated telecommunication lines such as telephone lines, leased lines, or satellites. WANs cover large geographic areas and, as such, they do not have geographic restrictions. The internet is the best example of a WAN:
Now that we've understood the different types of computer networks, let's take a look at the underlying components that make up these networks.
Just as PCs have components, computer networks have their own components, too. Usually, while PCs and peripheral devices are known to most people, components such as networking devices, networking media, and network operating systems (NOS) are mostly known by IT professionals.
Let's first understand what clients and servers in a computer network are.
Let's assume that the network resource is the point of reference for both clients and servers. Then, in a computer network, clients usually request access to resources. On the other hand, servers are responsible for providing resources and managing access to those resources. Both clients and servers play an active role in the computer network. In Figure 1.6, a server with a directly connected printer provides print resources to PCs in the role of resource requests:
Although clients and servers are the most important elements of a computer network, it depends upon hosts and nodes. Let's see how it fits into this structure.
Have you ever heard terms such as hosts and nodes and wondered what they are? Although our first impression might drive us toward thinking that they are the same thing, they are not! While all hosts can be nodes, not every node can act as a host. Hence, a host is any device with an IP address assigned to its network interface that requests or provides networking resources on the network. Usually, clients, servers, and routers act as hosts.
However, a node is any device that can receive and transmit the networking resources on the network but has no interface with an IP address assigned to it. Nodes have a network interface that is used for their management. In Figure 1.7, the PCs and the file server act as hosts, while switches act as nodes:
Now that we have learnt what a network is and its components we are well equipped to understand its architecture.
A computer network architecture represents a computer network design that enables network components to communicate with one another. Computer architecture is actually a framework that incorporates many aspects, such as physical and logical topology, network components, communication protocols, and its operational principles and procedures. Among network architectures, the most popular are Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and client/server.
Let us first understand the P2P network architecture.
P2P, often known as a workgroup, is a computer network (see Figure 1.8) in which hosts do not have predefined roles. Instead, they change roles from client to server, and vice versa, based on their actual activities on the network. For example, if PC1 is requesting resources from PC2, then PC1 acts as the client and PC2 acts as the server. If PC2 requests resources from PC1, then PC2 acts as a client and PC1 acts as the server. Usually, PANs represent the best examples of P2P computer networks:
The next type of network architecture is the Client/Server architecture.
A client/server, often known as a domain-based network, is a computer network (see earlier Figure 1.7) in which hosts have a predefined role. In such a network, hosts that request resources act as clients, whereas hosts that provide resources act as servers. In general, the client/server network architecture is a network with dedicated servers. Usually, LANs, MANs, and WANs represent the best examples of client/server computer networks.
At this point we have a greater understanding of how a network operates. However for a computer to communicate in a network it requires an IP address. We will learn more about this in the next section.
For a computer to be able to communicate in a computer network, it must have an IP address. As explained earlier, the IP address identifies the computer on that network. In addition, in complex networks, we encounter the term subnet, which helps to identify the specific network within the overall network. So far, the world of networks recognizes two IP-addressing technologies: IPv4 and IPv6. Nevertheless, even though IPv6-addressing technology is becoming more and more plausible, it still prefers the role of spectator in the great arena of the internet, in which IPv4-addressing technology continues to be the norm.
Let's first take a look at IPv4 network addresses.
An Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addressing technology—is often referred to as just an IP address. The label v4 represents the fourth version of IP addressing as specified in IETF publication RCF 791. It is a logical element in a network that consists of 32 bits organized into 4 octets with 8 bits each, divided by a decimal point for simplicity of interpretation (for example, 192.168.1.1).
Additionally, the IETF's RFC 791 document organizes IP addresses into 8-bit, 16-bit, or 24-bit prefixes, which introduces the classful addressing that enables IP addresses to be organized into classes of A, B, C, D, and E. With classful addressing, the IP address is split into the bits used for the network portion and bits used for the host portion for a given class.
Now let's take a look at the IPv6 addressing technology which was introduced to overcome the IPv4 address exhaustion of IPv4 network addresses.
An Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) addressing technology - is another logical element that identifies a device on a computer network. The label v6 represents the sixth version of IP addressing, as specified in IETF publication RFC 2460. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 is a 128-bit address size organized into 8 hextets with 16 bits each, divided by a colon for simplicity of interpretation (for example, 2001:0DB8:85A3:0000:0000:8A2E:0370:7334). The fact that IPv6 uses 128 bits makes it possible to use 2128 IPv6 addresses which when calculated gives an approximate number of 340 undecillion IPv6 addresses . Undoubtedly, that represents an extremely large number of available IPv6 addresses.
Next, let's take a look at IPv4 subnetting which plays an important role in identifying the network addresses
Subnetting represents a logical division of one large network into multiple smaller networks. In subnetting, a subnet mask plays an important role in identifying the network and determining the size of the network. Additionally, subnetting enables you to identify the network address, host addresses, and broadcast address of a given network. By definition, a subnet mask is a 32-bit address used in combination with an IPv4 address to indicate a network and its hosts.
The default subnet masks, otherwise known as classful networks, for each class of IPv4 addresses are shown:
Default subnet mask
So far we have understood what a computer network is and the various types, components, and architectures. In the next section, we will introduce to Windows Server and its related concepts.
Throughout its history, Windows Server has evolved from a simple file server to an operating system that is capable of handling network services in complex environments such as corporate networks. Thus, Windows Server can provide network services such as domain controllers, web servers, print servers, and file servers. It often acts as a separate platform in which enterprise applications such as Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and others are executed. With its robust performance and advanced security, nowadays, Windows Server is shaping cloud computing.
As you may recall, computer hardware and software represent the physical and logical components of a server, respectively. Thereof, since the primary role of the server is to provide network services to the clients, a server requires powerful hardware too. This is because software such as Windows Server is designed to process large workloads; therefore, reciprocally, its hardware is required to be durable and made of high-quality materials so it can continually deliver services and support network-based operations. Thus, apart from distinguishing it from the ordinary computer, a server is also specific to the types of services it provides. For example, a database server requires more memory and storage space.
The CPU, memory, disk, and network are known to be the key system components that affect the overall performance of your servers. It is recommended that the performance of key system components is continuously monitored in order to maintain the optimal performance of servers for both normal and heavy workloads.
Let's first understand what a CPU is.
A Central Processing Unit (CPU), or processor, is a chip on a server's motherboard. In literature, you often encounter the term computer's brain. It is a component that does all the processing and calculations. Intel and AMD are the biggest CPU manufacturers for PCs and servers. Their newest CPUs on the market are based on 64-bit architecture, which differs from 32-bit architecture-based processors. In 64-bit architecture, 64 bits of data are exchanged between the CPU and RAM in each communication session. On the other hand, in 32-bit architecture, only 32 bits of data are exchanged per communication session between RAM and CPU. That is half as less data being communicated via 32-bit architecture as compared to a 64-bit architecture.
In order to give out the performance, the CPU depend on RAM. Let us learn about this next.
RAM represents the server's working memory, which is used by Windows Server 2019 and server applications. Thus, the more RAM on the server, the more applications can run simultaneously. You can learn more about RAM in the Understanding memory section in Chapter 10, Tuning and Maintaining Windows Server 2019.
Now let's understand what a disk is in the case of servers.
As you know, data is usually stored on a disk. In the case of servers, they mostly have more than one disk, which is referred to as the server's disk sub-system. As for disk performance, read/write speed is an element that must be taken into consideration, because the faster the disk's throughput, the higher the performance of your disk sub-system.
Now let's understand what a network interface is.
A network interface enables the server to connect to an organization's LAN and to the internet. Servers usually have more than one network interface. The faster the server's network connection speed is, the more data the server can send and receive to and from the network.
Now that we have understood what a server is, let's take a look at the various server sizes, form factors, and shapes.
Regarding size and form factors, servers come in three different shapes:
- Rack-mountable servers are designed to be installed in a frame called a rack (see Figure 1.9). These servers usually populate on-premises server rooms or data centers:
- Blade servers are small modules known as blades that are installed on a server's chassis to save space and power. These servers usually populate data centers or supercomputer facilities.
- Tower servers are single big case servers that stand upright. These servers are usually either used for testing purposes or to provide local services in a SOHO.
Just like your computer, the server too has its own operating system that enables network services. Let us learn more about it.
A Network Operating System (NOS) is software that is capable of managing, maintaining, and providing resources in a network. Additionally, an NOS is capable of sharing files and applications, providing web services, managing access to resources, administering users and computers, providing tools for configuration, maintaining and providing resources, as well as other functions related to network resources. With that in mind, a NOS is an important component when it comes to managing computer network resources.
These days, versions of Windows Server, Linux Server, and macOS Server are all considered to be an NOS because they are all capable of providing network services. Let's understand each one of them individually.
As you know, Windows OS is a Microsoft product. Its server line began with Windows NT 3.5 in the early 90s, which was then followed by other Windows Server versions, starting with Windows Server 2000. At its core, it's a GUI-based OS; however, as of Windows Server 2008, a Server Core edition was introduced, which is a CLI-based OS. From Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, the architecture was both 32-bit, and 64-bit; however, since Windows Server 2012 it's only 64-bit. The New Technology File System (NTFS) continues to be its native filesystem; from Windows Server 2012, Resilient File System (ReFS) was introduced to replace NTFS. However, even on Windows Server 2019 (see Figure 1.10), NTFS is a native filesystem. Nowadays, Windows Server powers many organizations' backend systems and is thus able to provide network services for Windows-based hosts as well as to hosts with a non-Windows OS.
If there is something interesting to talk about in the world of OSes, the Linux operating system is unequivocal. This is because the world of technology does not recognize any innovative initiatives as having gathered more volunteers than Linux did. Everything started as a desire to improve functionality in an existing operating system such as MINIX. Instead of an improved MINIX, it turned out that, in the early 1990s, Linus Torvalds developed a new operating system called Linux. So, the GNU GPL project took over the licensing of Linux, the penguin became a Linux mascot, the first Linux booklet published was Linux Installation and Getting Started, the first Linux virus was Bliss, and Linux Journal and Linux Weekly News marked the first-release Linux magazines. Just like that, many other global activities followed that would form the so-called Linux community, which then turned out to be one of the world's largest volunteer communities, contributing globally to the further development of Linux. Nowadays, due to its security and open source nature, Linux Servers (see Figure 1.11) power the majority of web servers and supercomputers.
macOS Server may be younger than Windows Server and Linux Server operating systems, but with its reliability, it is slowly gaining the industry's support. At its core, macOS Server is, in fact, a modified Unix OS that already conforms to the familiar Apple GUI for PCs. Much like Windows and Linux, the macOS Server is also offered on 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. However, ever since Apple was designated to use Intel processors for their computers and servers, the macOS Server is only available on 64-bit. Nowadays, although we cannot speak of the exact number of servers powered by the macOS server, Apple continues to provide support for macOS server which has recently offered flexibility in the hardware that supports the macOS Server.
In this section, we have understood what is a server, learned about server hardware such as CPU, memory, disk, network interface, understood server sizes, form factors, and shapes, and what is NOS. In the next section, we will be introduced to Windows Server and its timeline.
What would your answer be if someone asked you what Windows Server is? I guess your answer would be more or less like the following: Windows Server is the server's operating system developed by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. In general, whether it is a server based on Windows Server, Linux Server, or macOS Server, it really does not make any difference as long as the version that is being used continues to provide adequate services within an organization's network. However, looking at them from the perspective of deployment, user interface, managing resources, and maintaining a server, many differences are evident.
Let us take a look at the Windows Server timeline to understand how it has evolved over the years.
So far, in the 23-year history of Windows Server, I think Microsoft has been quite intuitive to adopt new requirements in the server world. Personally, I feel that the Windows Server timeline looks interesting and I want to share it with you. Particularly, notice the transition of the Windows Server technology over time. Simply, it's impressive.
Windows Server timeline is shown in the following table:
Server for the masses era 1996-2000
Enterprise era 2000-2008
Datacenter era 2009 - 2013
Cloud for the masses era 2016 - present
In this section, we have learnt about Windows Serve and got acquainted with its timeline. In the following section we will learn the steps for downloading Windows Server 2019.
In this chapter exercise, you will learn how to download Windows Server 2019.
To download Windows Server 2019 on your Windows 10 computer, complete the following steps:
- Press the Windows key + R to open Run.
- Enter microsoft-edge: and press Enter.
- In Microsoft Edge, click the address bar and enter https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/, and then press Enter.
- On the Evaluation Center page, click the search icon in the right-upper corner and enter Windows Server 2019, then press Enter.
- From the Search results, select Windows Server 2019.
- Select your evaluation file type, and then click Continue.
- Complete the form as shown in Figure 1.12, and then click Continue:
- Select your language, and then click Download.
- Shortly after, the Windows Server 2019 download will begin. If not, you may want to click the Download button.
In this chapter, you learned about computer networks, server's hardware and software, and Windows Server.
Specifically, in the Understanding Computer Networks section, you learned what a computer network is, and were introduced to different types of computer networks, computer network components, computer network architectures, and IP addressing and subnetting. Furthermore, in the Understanding servers section, you learned about server hardware and software; server sizes, form factors, and shapes; and Network Operating System (NOS). Finally, in the Understanding Windows Server section, you learned about the Windows Server timeline.
To make things interesting, the chapter included a chapter exercise that provided instructions on how to download Windows Server 2019 from the Evaluation Center portal. With the things you have learned in this chapter, you will be able to identify types of computer networks, network architectures, and IP addressing and subnetting. You'll also be able to identify key hardware components, and understand an NOS, and the Windows Server timeline.
In the following chapter, you will learning about Windows Server 2019 specifically.
- A computer network architecture represents the computer network design that enables the network components to communicate with one another. (True | False)
- _____ usually request access to resources, _____ are responsible for providing resources and managing access to the resources.
- Which of the following are considered to be computer networks?
- All of the above
- Windows Server is the server's operating system developed by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. (True | False)
- _____ is able to provide network services such as domain controllers, web servers, print servers, and file servers.
- The subnet helps to identify a specific network within the overall network. (True | False)
- Which of the following are considered to be network architectures? (Choose two)
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
- Network Operating System (NOS)
- Network topology
- The CPU, memory, disk, and network are known to be the key system components that affect the overall performance of your servers. (True | False)
- The _____ represents its physical component while the _____ represents its logical component of a server.
- Which of the following are considered to be IP addressing technologies? (Choose two)
- An Overview of Networks: https://intronetworks.cs.luc.edu/current/html/intro.html
- Get Started with Windows Server 2019: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started-19/get-started-19
- Windows Server vs Linux: The Ultimate Comparison: https://phoenixnap.com/blog/linux-vs-microsoft-windows-servers