Remote offices

My company has a HQ and a few branch offices.  Currently, all offices have their own ISP (al but one has DSL) and their own Netgear routers.  Some have centralized file storage and some don't.  The remote offices VPN to the HQ to work - email using Outlook or OWA and terminal services if they need file access or SAP.

Here in HQ we have a check point firewall.  We have fiber into our office with Cogent.  We now want all the remote offices to save their files back here in HQ.  What is the best but simplest way to achieve this.  Is it possible without using a third party software?  I don't have a problem with third party software but would prefer not to use a third party backup software like Backup Exec because we might want to go to the cloud eventually.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


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chuckyhConnect With a Mentor Commented:
First you have to determine how much data that will be. Then see if the bandwidth at each of the offices is enough to handle it.
Do you plan on setting up VPN tunnels to all your remote offices and map network drives? or are you going to setup a FTP site where the remote offices upload their files daily?
irm-isAuthor Commented:
Hi Chuckyh,

Thanks for your quick reply.  I'm actually looking for advices as to what's the best way to do it.  I thought about VPN tunnels (I take it you mean site to site VPN, right?) too but I'm not sure if the netgear routers can do it and I have not have any luck with creating one before.  Also, with site to site vpn, does it mean anyone comes into the office and plug into the network can access the tunnels?  How much risk is there to do VPN tunnels.

I forgot to mention that this solution needs to be very simple.  Our users in the remote offices are not savvy users.  It would be ideal if I can setup something to be done automatically.


Easiest for the users will be site to site VPN. That way the users can have a network folder that they save files to. Site to site VPN can cost alot of money when you have 4 or 5 remote offices that all need their own tunnels at the same time. You would need a much better firewall at the headquarters and then new routers at the remote offices.
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SysExpertConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Robocopy using a scheduled task is free ( MS site in resource kit ) as well as the MS Sync Toy

SyncToy v2.0 Sync Toy v2.0 synch toy

I hope this helps !
TristanConnect With a Mentor IT ManagerCommented:
Working with files over a WAN can be painfully slow.
Especially if you're sharing DSL style bandwidth with an office full of people.
Every time they open a file in a remote office that file has to be pulled down the pipe which takes ages when compared to open a file locally.

One solution that you are already using is Terminal Services or better yet Citrix Presnetation Server (or Xen App as tey call it now).
Allows you to maintain all the resources in one central location and strip out branch office file serves and application servers but still maintain local printing.
Terminal services/Citrix is optimsed for slow connections and as you know you're not actually pulling the files down the line; they never leave HQ.

Another option would be to maintain a local file server but use replication technology like Doubletake to syncronise your remote directory structures with a central repository.
Your backup technologies in HQ would back up the data every night from the central repository.
Your remote file servers could be synced in close to real time with HQ.

Setting up VPNs betwen sites is a good way to go.
A good VPN router will allow you to lock down who can access the VPN.

DonConnect With a Mentor Network AdministratorCommented:
You should look into configuring DFS
Configuring and Using DFS Replication
irm-isAuthor Commented:
Hi dstewartjr,

Does DFS requires server on both end?  My branch offices does not have server.  They are all local workgroups.  Would DFS work in my case?


TristanIT ManagerCommented:
DFS requires servers at both ends.
irm-isAuthor Commented:
Everybody was helpful.
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