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Fault Tolerance on the Cheap

Posted on 2004-09-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hi,

I am responsible for a Win Server 2003 fileserver.  Its a small company with just 3 XP Pro client PCs.  Recently I was out of touch for a day when the Server locked up with a reported Virtual Memory problem.  Folks couldn't access their files for a whole day.  The people at Dell sold the server without an external backup unit, so I 've been making backups to the client computers.  But, there's no real transition there if the server goes down.  From what I understand, DFS sounds nice but it won't be of any benefit cause I've only got one server to work with.  I was hoping that I could find a way to replicate the files on the server's fileshare to 1 or preferably all 3 clients.  When the server goes down I would want the clients to be able to work in a workgroup arrangement with the files replicated on to one of the clients.  A simple read/write shared folder.  Is it possible to react to a downed server in this way?  Is there anything similar available? Am I overlooking any considerations here?

Much Appreciated,
Ronen
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Question by:ronasty
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5 Comments
 
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CDCOP earned 125 total points
ID: 12106462
Why not use synchronization?
This way the clients will have copies of their files locally and remotely. You can specify when you would like the files to sync up.
Let me know if you need more information.
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314512
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Author Comment

by:ronasty
ID: 12106838
In theory, perfect.  But, I originally had synchronization on.  However, if there was ever an error reaching the fileserver the client PC would declare itself offline and remain so.   Then I would get complaints from the users that they weren't working with the same files.  So I had to turn it all off.

Is there a 3rd party solution that is not as dumb?
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Expert Comment

by:CDCOP
ID: 12107862
How did you have the synchronize options setup? How often?
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Author Comment

by:ronasty
ID: 12107990
I don't remember at this point.  I wanted it to synchronize at startup shutdown and in idle time in between.  But if you look around Experts Exchange as I did today you'll see that others have had the same problem.  Once it can't connect once it doesn't seem to try again later.  It just stays that way, until I go in and take care of it.  Not so in your experience eh?
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Casca1
ID: 12109076
The problem is, the server goes away. Your ticket for access is cancelled. The only real alternative without getting (or building) a second server is to run in a workgroup environment. No central admin, no central point of failure. You can enable a certain amount of syncronization, but it's not as easy. Without a server, domain validation doesn't occur, and you are not able to use the local machine unless you have a cached local profile.
It's really your call. Do you absolutley NEED a domain for 3-4 users? While Bill is probably needing CPR at this moment, it remains your choice. A domain offers robust solutions, but there is a cost associated with it. Part of the cost is equipment. While the bosses are quite happy to buy a new computer if they have a need, they rarely like to buy anything that isn't of utmost importance that doesn't generate income.
Good Luck!
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