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Small Business Network suggestions, Please

westone asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I have 8 years experience administering networks for small businesses up to a dozen or so workstations and a single server. A potential client called to discuss setting up a new business, a realty office, with up to 50 realtors with workstations.

They need 2 things: Internet (easy enough) and storage for large amounts of high resolution pictures. The workstations need access to the data (pictures) locally, and everything else is done online, so no business application or such. They will need remote access to the data, as well.

They need reliable storage for lots of data, indicating a server with SCSI drives and a RAID setup. Great, I love that. I quickly realized that 50 client licenses for a Network OS to get access to data will add greatly to the cost of the system. And it is looking like a need for storage more than a need for giving and restricting access, such as I am used to. I'm thinking maybe my experience may not be the best or most efficient solution for this situation.

So my question is this: What would you do to provide 50 workstations with reliable access to a large amount of data. A Windows Server with the necessary licenses or is there a better solution?
All applicable experience appreciated!

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I would go with the Windows server and the necessary licenses and a big storage subsystem.  Depending on how many users need remote access, you could either go with a terminal server or a have them remote into their desktops through a vpn connection.  There are a lot of different options really for the remote access, but those are probably the most common.  


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We seem to be talking about a file server with high availability, but as low a cost as possible. Why not consider Linux for this server ? No CALs needed, quite easy to maintain, reliable, efficient, flexible (more than Windows as a pure fileserver). It would be transparent for your users, and costs would be optimized.


In addition, you may want to check this link :


As regards to availability, you definitely want to implement a RAID solution, preferrably with hot plug drives if you can afford them.



Thanks to both of you.

Am already considering Linux, for just data storage. From what I've looked at so far, for 50 users, the cost of the NOS could be as little as 10% of the cost of Windows server 2003 Standard w/ 50 user licenses.
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