DC or no DC

I have two branch locations, each has 5 employees, 6-7 computers, 2 network printers, and now 5 IP phones. One has a server with AD (DC Controller). The other does not. I am trying to decide if I really need one at either location. It seems to be more maintenance for me than anything else. Is there a real reason to have them with such little offices?
JenniferIT DirectorAsked:
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notacomputergeekCommented:
Do you have a main office with DCs? If so, implement routers that you can set up static VPN tunnels and join their computers to the main office domain.
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
It is a personal & financial choice.   If your application requires the domain, you might be screwed if it fails.  What happens now when the second branch link goes down?  Can they logon?  Can they still use all the apps?  Can they print?  

Pros:
Having 2 DC provides redundancy if one fails.  You don't have to wait for a restore  
If you use it as a file share, you can setup DFSR to have the files replication to both locations.
You can use a print server

Cons:
Cost more.
Extra administration.  More patching...
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
your network is small enough to use one DC and you can setup up vpn to so that each can authenticate and share resources. You can clone and back up your server in case it crashes.
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
The IP phones may be the crunch point, what are they using to log in to them?
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JenniferIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I do have a main office, where I am and I have 2 DC's. The branch locations do Site to Site VPN through an ASA. Each is on its own subnet and has a router accordingly. I do have file and print server in this location. Their main application does require the domain but it requires internet more. They RDP to an app here for the majority of their work. So no domain doesn't matter if no connection.

So far I have had no problems with the IP phones. They are assigned IP addresses and fall under the branches subnet.

Right now one office (Wisconsin) has one and the other (Phoenix) does not. I am seriously considering not building one for the Phoenix location and just removing the one in Wisconsin.
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Alessandro ScafariaInfrastructure Premier Field AdministratorCommented:
Have you considered the opportunity to deploy a RODC in your branch sites?

Here we go with a step by step tutorial and explanation/impact in your AD environment:

http://serverfault.com/questions/61302/whats-a-read-only-domain-controller-actually-useful-for

https://mizitechinfo.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/step-by-step-installing-and-configuring-a-rodc-in-windows-server-2012-r2/

Let me know your thoughts......
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JenniferIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Thanks Alessandro however I believe this defeats the purpose of my question. I am trying to decide if I want to have equipment there for a DC, not what kind of DC to have.
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Alessandro ScafariaInfrastructure Premier Field AdministratorCommented:
I'm so sorry if I misunderstood your question......

I implicit suggest you to deploy a RODC because it requires almost-zero maintenance and almost-zero cost in terms of hardware.....that's all....but you will still have all Directory Services in your little branch....

Waiting for others experts opinion.....
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JenniferIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
No problem Alessandro. I went ahead and selected most comments since this was really about getting opinions versus needing a solution. I have decided to eliminate my DC in the one branch and not put one in the other. I am just going to go with the two I have in the main office.
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