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How do I configure two offices using 1 server and make it seamless for the remote office to access data?

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Last Modified: 2010-04-19
I have a customer with 2 locations.  Putting in new server Windows 2003 with Exchange 2007.  Location 1 will contain the server as a domain.   Location 2 needs to access the server remotely.   I can do terminal server for them to access, but is there a more seamless way for them to see the data.   Both locations have DSL.    Does it need a vpn to do this?  If it is a vpn, will the remote pc's see the server as if they were in the office with them?  Any help would be appreciated.
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Brian PiercePhotographer
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Awarded 2007
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
DEpending on the speed of the connection terninal services might be more appropriate though you really need two servers for this to do it properly http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/termserv.mspx
Kevin CaldwellOwner of RUseeingRed Tech Solutions

Author

Commented:
I have approx. 8 users at the main location and then 4 users at the remote.  So it would be better to put the server at the end with the most users?    What about using the LInksys VPN router?  I use a lot of  LInksys devices and find them quite easy to configure.    For the remote devices, do you join them to the domain like you would the local devices?
hq1  ---- vpn ----- bo2   (constant connect like site to site vpn)

using windows 2003 r2 server

install fileserver DFS management on both server
enable dfs file sharing and share the  read link below. it has video on howto and explain how it work and also read about Shadow Copy..  this help me a lot with recovering data.. instead for yesterday tape backup....

http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0512/25905/Branch_Server_demo_mbr.asx  - video
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/storage/dfs/default.mspx
http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/nt/2003/0728nt2.html


this will help you with your file sharing and faster access for users

have a great day!!!

Kevin CaldwellOwner of RUseeingRed Tech Solutions

Author

Commented:
There is only 1 server and it should probably be at the location with more users.
hq1 - will have all the domain control/ exchange / etc..  

but on the branch office .. you just need to install another server ( regular workstation with windows 2003 on it and put the (large HD)  follow the  dfs howto and your good to go.. so the user will only use the dsl or vpn connection for email  and server- to - server connection like   ad
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
DFS is a great way to approach in term of fast accessing and backup and recovery for data in different locations. DFS is just another copy of your file server at the remote location. With content easily publishable to local servers that are part of a namespace, users in branch offices can access their data locally. Downside is you need to maintain another server and the data replication.
However, if you customer is not willing to pay for another server at the remote site, you then put your server at the more usage place where you have more users and of course closed to the executive staffs(main office) and the remote office will VPN to it. If the remote office does not have many users, it should not be a problem to access file over WAN. Otherwise, you will notice a delay while accessing file over WAN.

K
update
Kevin CaldwellOwner of RUseeingRed Tech Solutions

Author

Commented:
At the moment, the customer really doesn't want to purchase another server for the remote location.  The DFS sounds great, but without the extra server, that is no good.   You looks like setting up a vpn between the 2 locations to make the network appear seamless would be best.  Any other thoughts on that?   Also, 3 of the users will be going between the server site and the remote site.  They have desktops at both locations.    I have connected the desktops at the server site to the domain controller.   I have been waiting on my static IP from the ISP to configure exchange.  In the meantime, I have them doing terminal server into the server from the remote site to get email.  So now, they have a desktop at the server site, a desktop remotely and the terminal server desktop.  Would roaming profiles help this situation?  Any other thoughts on the whole vpn thing?
Kevin CaldwellOwner of RUseeingRed Tech Solutions

Author

Commented:
When you have a vpn between the two sites, do you connect the remote workstations to the domain just like they are in the building?
sorry to ask this, but what does the company do?

do you guys use microsoft product?

roaming profile will be best if you have the same software installed on every computer, the problem with that is if the email get large or the user store their data on their desktop, everytime they login it will take a long time, if they are located on branch office and polling data (roaming data) from the hq.

if you use email from terminal server anyway-- and that's the only thing they need on every offices, you don't need roaming profile.

Kevin CaldwellOwner of RUseeingRed Tech Solutions

Author

Commented:
It is an insurance underwriter with a main office, with a remote office of 4 people.  Right now I have them using terminal server and it is working well.   I tried setting up a vpn between the 2 sites.  It works, but because both ends have dsl, the upload speed is too slow to work efficiently.
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
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Kevin CaldwellOwner of RUseeingRed Tech Solutions

Author

Commented:
The owner has a proposal for T1 service, but is shy about making the change.  With insurance, people tend to change it at the end of the year, so this is their busy time.   He knows his options.  The DSL is only a 300 upload speed, so it was a dog with the vpn.  I was able to connect a remote pc to the domain, just like it was in the same office, but dog slow.
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