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Sunday, November 14, 2004
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Like most computer savvy folks these days, the amount of digital "stuff" in my house is growing rather rapidly. That includes:

  • MP3 music files that I've ripped from my CDs
  • Photos from my digital camera
  • Videos that I've taken
  • Documents and Papers
  • Source Code stored in my CM system
  • Virtual Machine Images
  • and more...
Needless to say I have multiple computers in the house that are connected via both wired and wireless networks.  Currently I am running a Windows 2000 Domain in the house as my server class machine, which is a bit old, is not one I have upgraded to Windows 2003. All my Windows 2003 machines are Virtual Machines :-)
Recently, I've bitten the bullet and am in the process standing up a server class machine that can run Windows 2003 at home.  My requirements are that:
  1. I need a redundant and reliable file storage for my network. A lot of the content that I have on the network is simply things I cannot afford to lose.
  2. I want to lock down my wireless network.
  3. ASP.NET Development environment.
  4. I am seriously getting into collaboration via Windows SharePoint Services. So I am looking to make sure that I have an environment that I can play a bit with it.. A personal goal, at least for the home, is to have a shared calendar for the family.
(1) Starting out with the basics, I picked up a Dell server on sale. The only thing I upgraded was to bump up the memory and add a second network card to it. Redundant and reliable for me means that the storage in my machine needs to be configured either as a RAID 1 or RAID 5. For various reasons, I chose RAID 1. So, I also picked up a HighPoint RocketRaid IDE controller and two 200GB hard disks. 
I am also picking up an external USB hard disk to which I intend to back up my RAID array on a weekly basis. I will be keeping this at work; a poor man's version of off-site backup. This way, at most I am not losing more than a week of data if something untoward happens to my entire home system.
(2) I love my Tivo but when it comes to security, it has some issues. My Tivo is set up with the Home Media Option such that I can play all of my MP3s, which are stored on my W2K server, via my Home Theater system. In addition, I can display all of my photos, again stored on my W2K box, on my TV. The Tivo is connected to my home network via a USB Wireless adapter and goes out over the network for program updates etc.
The issue I have is that the highest level of encryption Tivo supports is 128 WEP. It does not support WPA at all!  This has limited my ability to upgrade the security of my Wireless network. So, I've gotten irritated enough that I am pulling wires to my Tivo to convert it from wireless to a hard line. Once this is done, my plan is to implement 802.11x authentication with certificates and lock down the the network.. Now, if I you ask me if I REALLY need to do this, the answer would be, probably not.. But I can, so I will :-)
(3) (4) Now this is the interesting part, I could install Windows 2003 with WSS and get *some* of the functionality that I want (ASP.NET/Collaboration). But why bother?  There is a solution out there that will give me all of the components that I am looking for (Windows 2003, WSS, Exchange, SQL2K) supposedly integrated rather well and designed to run on a single box. Windows Small Business Server 2003.
From what I've seen of and heard about this product, it seems to be ideal for what I am looking for within the house.  I am thinking that if I install SUS on top of the standard SBS 2003 install, I would also get the ability to update and patch the machines on my network as well.
The only decision I have not made as of yet, is where to put the SBS server on the network.  I am currently connected to the Internet via a cable modem, which in turn is coming into a Wireless router with hard line ports.  The router has NAT capabilities and has a built in simplistic firewall that has done the job for me so far. But SBS 2003 premium comes with ISA server and I have 2 NICs in the box, so I could hook it up to be Internet facing.  Or I could simply hook up the SBS machine to the internal network behind the Router.  I'll have to think a bit more about it..
One resource that I am finding extremely helpful is "Windows Small Business Server 2003 Administrator's Companion" by Charlie Russel, Sharon Crawford and Jason Gerend.
Tags:: Security
11/14/2004 9:40 PM Eastern Standard Time  |  Comments [3]  |  Disclaimer  |  Permalink   
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Move the TiVo to a wired connection if you can. Much as I love my TiVo, it isn't going to be WPA aware any time soon, if ever. I finally set it up wired into a hub, with the hub connected to a wireless access point used as a bridge to the wired network.
<br>(and thanks for the comment on the book!)
Charlie Russel
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I am indeed moving my Tivo to a wired connection. I am not seeing any momentum to provide WPA support on the Tivo forums at all.
<br>Love what I am getting out the book so far. Thanks!
Anil John
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
SecureCoder by Anil John
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