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How should I go about delivering a file across the network.

Ok, so here is my situation and what I am trying to do. I have SBS 2003.  I have 2 different office locations (A &B) connected via a WAN.  Users often travel back and forth between offices.  I want to deliver a file to the desktop of any user who logs onto any computer at location "A" but not if they login at location "B."  

What would be the best way of accomplishing this?  I've racked my brain on this one and would love some help!  

thanks!!
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ITPro44
Asked:
ITPro44
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2 Solutions
 
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Why not just have a synchronized folder that sits on their desktop no matter where they log into?

Check out www.foldershare.com as one way to do this.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Also, if that doesn't work, can you please provide a bit more background about this?  ie, what type of file?  why are you wanting to deliver it to the desktop as opposed to another location?  what does the user do with the file after they've opened it? etc.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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StuFox100Commented:
You could put the machines into different OUs
Then apply a merge loopback GPO (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/231287)
WIth a user script that copies the file for user at logon.
Cheers
Stu
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ITPro44Author Commented:
Thanks for the responses guys!

TechSoEasy:  Location A and B are in different cities. Our server is located in city A. The file is a front end of an access database which is 6mb.  I can't have users logging in at location B and pulling a 6mb file everytime.  Currently City B only uses Access through a remote desktop to a Terminal Server in Location A.

Stufox100:  I have thought about this but did not know how to implement it with my lack of knowledge with group policies.  You seemed to have linked me to some good info!!  I will read over this when I have some more time and post back later and let you know if it works :)!!!

Thanks Gentlemen!!!
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Well why didn't you say it was an Access Front End to begin with!?!  Because your question was focused on a specific task (delivering a file) which makes an assumption that it's the only way (or best way) to accomplish your actual goal.

It would be much better if you could tell us what your ultimate goal is, by giving a brief description of the scenario (such as, "I have three sales people who ________ and part of their job requires that they ___________)and then defining the actual problem (such as needing to have data available to users in multiple locations).

You can then very briefly explain what you've tried and what hasn't worked and why.

I do realize that this is a bit more to do on your end, but it really should be done anyhow.  And then you can take much better advantage of the terrific Access, SharePoint, SBS and other Experts that are on the site.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Oh, one other thing... what version of Access is this?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Author Commented:
oh geez... We use Access 2003 but I think it was originally developed off of 2000.  I can't be sure.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Should I wait for the rest of the info that I requested?  Or do you not want to go down that path?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Author Commented:
Sorry Jeff I had overlooked that response and only read the latest one you had posted at that time.

My goal is this.  I am trying to make it so that any user can logon to any computer at location "A" and have front end of the database on their desktop so they can access the database immediately with no assistance.  As well as, when changes are made to the database it would put the newest version on their desktop every time they logged in.

It has been recommended to me that I could create a batch file that, when clicked, would download the newest version of the front end to the users desktop and launch the program.  This solution still requires that the batch file be distributed to each computer at Location "A"

Please tell me if I can elaborate on anything.  

Thanks for the help!!!
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Can you provide a basic overview of the functionality of the database?  ie, industry? specific function? etc?

Are the folks that are accessing it remotely entering data and updating records or just viewing?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Author Commented:
Our database has 4 sides (and needs to be moved out of Access):

1. It tracks INVENTORY and has a number of forms and reports revolving around that.
2. It keeps JOB INFORMATION and allows us to enter in new jobs and track jobs.
3. It is a CONTACT LIST for clients. (and would idealy be able to handle mailing lists)
4. It handles a portion of the BILLING.(storage for items we keep in our warehouse we bill for)

The people who view it remotely (via remote disktop - our T1 is too slow to do it any other way) are both viewing and updating records.

Thanks again for you good questions, I am looking forward to your advice! :)
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
No problem.. .the whole reason I was asking is because I didn't want you to spend too much time fixing something that isn't very functional to begin with.  Access does a very poor job of replicating to remote locations.  

Let me think about this for the evening and I'll get back to you tomorrow.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
One thing... you said the front end is about 6GB, but about how many records are there in each of the categories you mentioned above.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Author Commented:
The front end is 6MB not GB just to be clear...LOL.  

There are:
10,000 jobs in the database.  (obviously each job has numerous amounts of info stored with it)
4500 Clients (15 records per client approximately)
and God only knows how many items we have stored and track with our inventory... on average 5 per job. so maybe 50,000 (very rough guess) (each item has about 7 records that describe it and track it.

These are my best guess ideas of what we have.

I realize that Access is not meant for the number or users we have using it or is it best used between several offices.  One of our next big investments is going to be developing an entirely new database system that will incorporate all this plus.  In the near future we will be researching what types of solutions are out there and planning to move out of our current state.   I am very interested in what things you may have in mind for that project we have.
 
That project will take time, however, which is why I am looking into some short term band aid solutions. :)
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ITPro44Author Commented:
oh and the billing info... not terribly sure on that one.  the billing records are mixed in with the case and inventory records. Not a ton since most of the billing invoicing is handled via quick books and not by our database.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Sorry, I tend to type G's easier than M's for some reason!  ;-)

Y'know... I think I have a good solution for you that would most likely solve ALL of the issues you have mentioned and it's incredibly affordable.  Plus it's easy to migrate from Access and there are also good migration paths if you ever outgrew it.

Have you ever used Outlook's Business Contact Manager?  That works flawlessly with Microsoft Office Accounting Professional.  BCM is rather unique in that it runs inside of Outlook but uses a SQL Database. Office Accounting also uses a SQL Database.  This means that you wouldn't have this issue anymore:  "most of the billing invoicing is handled via quick books and not by our database" because of the tight integration.  If you are either having to export from Access/Import to Quickbooks or are hand entering the invoices then the savings alone for this one area would pay for this within a few months.

Additionally, because they run on SQL, remote access and use is fairly simple.  There's a document about this here:  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=f24267ee-9ad5-4be5-b888-c9a50ae395ca&displaylang=en

I've been using BCM + Office Accounting (formerly Small Business Accounting) for over 3 years now and have deployed it for a number of my clients as well.  All of these are running on SBS 2003 networks and some have remote users.  

BCM's fields are fully customizable and  can be changed in forms on-the-fly (by an authorized user).  I remember a number of years ago, when I had an Access Database running for one of my businesses, I'd have to contact the Access programmer and she would take 3 or 4 days to make the change and bill me about $400.00 just to add a couple of fields to my customer records.  With BCM you just add them to the form and they are created in the proper tables in the database.

So, I realize you want to  have a more instant solution to just tide you over... but I am concerned that running Access over a WAN is REALLY slow and TOTALLY insecure. What's wrong with letting them continue to access the database via Terminal Services for now?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Author Commented:
I am looking into your suggestions, it will probably take me some time to do some research on what you presented.

Nothing is wrong with letting them access the database via the Terminal server, they will continue to do this.  I want to exclude them (location B) from receiving the file on their desktop.

Stufox I am still looking into your link and will let you know what I find out... time is hard to come by right now.  :)
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
The link that stufox provided is exactly what needs to be done for users that log into both a Terminal Server and Lan workstaiton... it's called Loopback Processing.  The same thing can be used with merge/replace as described here:  http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/abe2b1a9-975f-4b2f-b771-9e6a903e97db1033.mspx

But overall, that's how you control something to NOT happen on a particular machine that a user logs into.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Author Commented:
Hey guys,  Thanks again for both your input.  While Stu answered my question directly, Tech you thorough, thought out response has helped very much!!  I have looked into the business contact manager and how it can integrate with office accounting and it appears that it has the potential to be a very powerful, all inclusive accounting/marketing system.  I am very excited to do some extensive research on it and maybe in the future, implement it for our business.

Thanks for help from both of you!!!  

P.S. I was able to get the loopback processing to work but it would only take effect on the machine if you had never logged onto it before.  the settings would not take effect for users that had already logged onto the machine... any ideas?
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ITPro44Author Commented:
Also, Tech, do you have any good recommendations on where I could find further resources to further my knowledge even more on both Business contace manager, office accounting and some pointers on what I should do to prepare for such a migration?  i.e. migrating to small bus 2007, outlook 2007... other things like that.

thanks so much!!
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Make sure your Group Policy is in "Replace Mode"  For details, see:  http://smallbusiness.itworld.com/4373/nlsswindowsgroup070409/pfindex.html

As for further resources about BCM and Office Accounting?  
There are online courses which can provide a decent first view:
https://www.microsoftelearning.com/eLearning/courseDetail.aspx?courseId=51531

Then, I'd suggest that you download and install Virtual Server 2005 and set up a virtual enviornment of your own to test deploy the products.  The advantage of running them in a virtual environment is you can enable differencing disks... which basically allow you to experiment all you want, and then at the end of your session you can choose to comit the changes or discard them... which would bring you back to a clean install point.

Virtual Server 2005 is free:  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/

And you can download trial versions of Office 2007 and Accounting Professional: www.trymicrosoftoffice.com

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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