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Shared Excel File over Lan to Lan VPN

Posted on 2009-12-27
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Hello all,

 Having severe speed problems with an with excel file being accessed from a remote office (over a lan to lan VPN) with Riverbeds on either end. For my remote user - it takes about 9 minutes to open the file (sometimes unsuccessfully). The File is 18 Megs, the main office has a 100 Meg connection and the remote office has a 1.5 meg T-1. My questions are:

1. How much does having the T-1 limit my speed to access this file? I know it contributes considerably - but shouldnt the Riverbed optimize this (its configured to)?

2. SOmeone brought up "briefcasing" the files that need to be accessed at the remote office. SInce the excel files need to be accessed by several users (and contain links to other file sources) - this seems outdated and clugey. Is there something I can do to resolve this problem similar to the old way of "briefcasing?"

Thanks!
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Question by:kmk2123
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Expert Comment

by:imadimad
ID: 26128460
Hi,
To solve this problem there two ways:
1- Using Windows 2008 with Windows 7 with something called Windows Server 2008 R2 and BranchCache. More information on this link http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/branch-cache.aspx
2- Second way is to set a replicating server on the branch office using windows 2003 R2. You will find more information about that on the Microsoft sites and the internet.

Regards,
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Author Comment

by:kmk2123
ID: 26128617
Hmm - would Branch cache allow multiple users to access the file at once? - and allow for editing/locking? Also - my users are on XP and server 2003
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by:imadimad
ID: 26128686
Branch cache works only on Windows Server 2008 & Windows 7. The replication technology work also on Windows 2003 and XP. These two methods will speed the access to the files on both sides. Generally all office applications including excel files are locking others from updating a file when one of the users in write access, so other users will be in read access only.

Regards,
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Author Comment

by:kmk2123
ID: 26128695
Thanks! Are you familiar with the Riverbeds, or other WAN optimization?  Should the Riverbeds help with this as well?
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Expert Comment

by:imadimad
ID: 26128841
Dear kmk2123,
No, I am not familiar with Riverbeds but I am thinking of better solution for the problem you face. I think you will solve the problem by adopting a third solution which is allowing the users on the branch site to login to the server remotely using the RDP or by adding a terminal server role to the file server or any server one the main office. The users from the branch will access the terminal server in the main office then run and update any file a lot faster instead of loading the file to the branch.
Regards,
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Author Comment

by:kmk2123
ID: 26129246
Good advice thanks!  One other quick note - how can I share out specific folders via this RDP session on the terminal server? My users are not savvy - but everything they need is going to be on one specific file share at the main office.  How can I share this out via a terminal services session to my branch users?
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Accepted Solution

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imadimad earned 2000 total points
ID: 26131731
Hi,
The idea with RDP is to allow your users to login to the main site and run the file on the main site as well, so no need to download any big file to their computers in the branch office as this is very painful and slow via the VPN.
The best thing to do is to specify a Windows 2003 server on the main office and allowing them to login remotely to this server if they are Domain users or create local user accounts on this server for them. In each account and profile for branch office users create a link to the shared folder for the file server or map network drive for the file server or the shared folder. In this case the users in the branch can run any or all the files on the shared folder or as local users in the main office. RDP will allow them to print copy and share drives as well. RDP sessions on Windows 2003 are independent for each user, so many users can login to the same server via the RDP in the same time without interrupt each other.
To make the access even faster for the branchs users. You will need to install two NIC cards one with a public IP another with a local IP without default gateway. So the branch users can login to the RDP server directly without using the VPN which is very slow by nature.
Best regards,
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Author Closing Comment

by:kmk2123
ID: 31670247
Interesting ideas...Thanks!  I still am unclear how you map file shares via RDP. My branch office users - since they are hardware vpn'd -  have centrol office drive maps to the shares. Even with teh Riverbed - these are slow.

 Server 2008 remote apps seems to be the most elegant for us. Thanks for all the help.
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