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Remote user accessing files on file server via WAN.

Posted on 2010-08-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have a client who wishes to have sales associates in the field access a database on their server remotely via a WAN connection. In otherwords, they have laptops and connect to the internet via a 3G connection. They need to initiate an application off of their local hard drive and access the data mapped to a network drive on the server. Is the best way to do this via a VPN or can remote desktop connections do this or is there some other way to do this? I know how to do this in the office connected locally but how can they do this remotely via an internet connection?
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Question by:FredJRobinson
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16 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Casey Herman
ID: 33507641
I would set up VPN and do it that way. It is encrypted.

The person will have to understand that the DB access time will go down because it is over the internet.

Casey
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:infolurk
ID: 33507649
You should set up a VPN for external access wether they are going to use remote desktop or another method such as ODBC or direct connection.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:jodix2002
ID: 33508519
I would suggest that you use VPN since that's secure, and with VPN implementation, you can set up more resources that can be made available to remote users.

You can also setup web folders (WebDAV). Linux, MacOS X, and Windows clients can access WebDAV shares.

If you use Microsoft, you can use SharePoint server, which by the way, also uses WebDAV in one of it's modules.

I don't think I will use remote desktop for that purpose, since the users already have the app installed locally, and therefore what you need is just a remote access to that folder, not an access to a whole desktop PC. But I think it is a good idea to have a machine ready with that app installed, and make it accessible through RDP, so remote clients that do not have their laptop with them can still use the app using any other internet-connected machine.
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33510437
With reference to once sentance in your question
> I have a client who wishes to have sales associates in the field access a database on their server remotely via a WAN connection

While what everyone says is true "you do need a VPN". You should also consider if the database is going to work over a WAN/VPN. If it is a file based database such as MS Access, Dataflex, Fox Pro etc then it is going to be unbearably slow over the WAN as these types of databases are not true "client-server". If the backend is some type of SQL Server then there is a chance it will work, but this is also very dependent on how the application was written.

Before you incur your client the expense and frustration of trying to make something work, that is never going to work in the end. Consult with the Database application developer as to its suitability for WAN deployment.

If the database is not suitable to un over a low bandwidth WAN/VPN. Consider a Windows 2008 Terminal Server. You can publish the application so it is just an icon on the users desktop, but only the Terminal server traffic (which is suited for low bandwidth) is transmitted over the WAN.

Andy
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Author Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33510831
Andy:

The application in question is Quickbooks 2010 which I believe has an SQL server component in it.
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Author Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33510901
Isn't Terminal server now called Remote Desktop Services and how does that differ from a remote desktop?
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Author Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33510974
If I use terminal server can I also make the terminal server and the terminal server gateway computer one and the same?
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33511518
QB 2010 will not run well over a VPN connection with the client on the computer and the data file on the server, unless you have a lot of bandwidth (10Mb or higher)

Yes terminal server is now called Remote Desktop Services...
Yes you can make RD Server and RD Gateway same machine

The beauty about RD in Server 2008 is you can publish a single application as a remote desktop icon, the user run it like they would run a normal all, it opens in a normal resizable windows. They do not get a whole desktop like they would in old Terminal Services on 2003.
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Author Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33516793
If QB2010 will not run well over a VPN connection then how can my customer access QB2010 remotely over a WAN such as a Verizon or ATT 3g connection?
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33516944
Using Remote Desktop Services it will run fine.

It will just not run with "the QB 2010 client on the remote computer and the data file on the server"

Sorry if I did not explain myself properly
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Author Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33517307
Ok, so when I start the application on the remote desktop is the applicatoin actually loading on the server at the servers speed? In otherwords remote desktop is giving me a virtual desktop connection and my pc and wan connection is only used for display purposes, correct?
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33517446
Exactly :)
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Author Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33517469
Is there any link you can send me to to setup a remote desktop connection from a - z?
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Accepted Solution

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aoakeley earned 2000 total points
ID: 33517565
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Author Closing Comment

by:FredJRobinson
ID: 33517604
Wow he was great he knows exaclty what needs to be done.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33517618
Glad to help
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