File access for road warriors.... W2003 and XP
Posted on 2009-07-04
I have a company that is operating on a Windows 2003 domain with Windows 2003 servers. We have a Windows 2003 file server that contains all file data. I have some road warriors who currently access their files by using a VPN and then performs an Offline Sync using the built in Microsoft XP Offline Files. The user does not want to use VPN alone because they say file access is too slow. So we set up Offline Files and the user works off their local copy most of the time. Then VPN's and sync all Offline Files when they have made significant changes or they are looking for some changes to come down. This works most of the time but the problems we run into is the that it isn't particularly fast, we run into conflicts especially when someone has renamed a folder and this offsite user attempts to sync data. This often seems to result in reinitializing the offline cache. However, to fully resync the amount of data they have often forces them into the corporate office which is quite a few hours away for them (a full resync could take two weeks over the net). They use XP and I know Vista handles Offline Files a little better with the delta changes but I don't think this will help with the conflicts of someone renaming a folder at the corporate office side. I also don't think Offline Files was particularly designed for this task and moreso the everyday in office user that wanted to take files home with them every night only to return in the morning. Sometimes the offsite users have to restart the Offline sync two or three times depending oh how much there is to sync. Sometimes it seems Offline Files just times out if it is taking to long to sync. I see alot of other sync softwares advertised on the web.
What is the best solution for:
(a) The road warriors that work from homes and hotels and who don't want to use straight VPN or Terminal Services and have the benefit of the speed gained from locally cached documents.
(b) The remote office where a site-to-site VPN offers no better speed other than you removing the desktop client software and have the same expectations as the road warrios mentioned in (a).
Thanks for any help.