All proper server software will run as a service
. It therefore does not need a user logged on to start or use the software. Software running as a service is made available independently of the user GUI.
Unfortunately, there are a number of software applications that pretend they are server applications but do not run as a service and have to be run from within a user GUI. These we will call Noddy applications.
If you are a very lucky IT manager, you will be able to run your servers without any Noddy software. In this case there is no reason to have anyone logged on to the server. As running a logged on user both makes it easier for someone to tamper with the server, and uses system resources, it is advisable to run the server with no one logged on. You log on to change something on the server or monitor/check something and then log off. (I won't mention the people who let a user use the network server as their desktop PC beyond stating that it is a particularly foolish thing to do and I'll assume the people reading this aren't so foolish).
If you are a reasonably lucky IT manager, there may be a couple of Noddy applications you need to run, but you'll be able to apply a hack to them (for example the NT resource kit INSTSRV
) so that they will run as a service. As they run as a service, again no need to log on.
Unfortunately, many Noddy applications won't work when hacked to run as a service. In this case you have to have a user logged on. However, this doesn't have to be a user connected directly to the server. With Server 2003, you can run a terminal user session and have the Noddy applications running in that session. That means you can manage the Noddy applications remotely via that terminal session, and it shouldn't get in the way of other users accessing the server to carry out maintenance tasks.
Therefore, if you can avoid Noddy applications, you don't need to log on to the physical server terminal and shouldn't except when carrying out maintenance tasks. Even with Noddy application, there are ways of avoiding having a user logged on.