How do I Connect 2 offices using server 2012 at each location

jbasiliere67
jbasiliere67 used Ask the Experts™
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I have one main office running server 2012 R2 as domain controller, file server, and print server.   The DC is behind a firewall and has only one NIC.  I have another branch office with the same setup however I would like the 2 servers to be able to replicate with each other and a shared drive at main office be available to users at branch office.   I don't have a VPN appliances at either office just standard small business routers without VPN.  Is it possible to and how can I use the built in RAS on the server2012 at each location to connect the 2 servers?

Please advise.
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Top Expert 2015

Commented:
I have used Windows server as a VPN server for remote connection.  I've never tried a site-to-site VPN using two Windows Servers but I think it can be done.  With the older Windows server, you can connect the two sites using PPTP which is a very weak VPN.  PPTP is a weak form of VPN and it's vulnerable to dictionary attack.  Not sure if MS has allowed for better VPN encryption for 2012 other than PPTP and L2TP.

I advise that it will be worthwhile to invest in a VPN router and have the router do the VPN instead of the Windows server.  A VPN router normally does a better job of VPN/Envryption than a Windows server would and I find easier to manage.

If you still want to use Server 2012, have a look here
Matt MinorTechnical Systems Analyst

Commented:
For security, performance, and overall efficiency - you'll want a VPN router as Wayne88 indicated above.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
You have virtualized these, right?  If not you realize you threw away a perfectly good Windows license?  You also realize you could be doing DR between the two sites ENSURING that if one server dies, you have a copy of it on the other... but ONLY if you've virtualized it.

Now if you're running virtualized, you might need to add a second NIC if your servers are incredibly cheap and only have one NIC then you'll need to add a second NIC, but then you can create a VM running Untangle at each site and setup a Site-to-Site VPN link between the two.  My office is connected to my home using a site-to-site VPN link run by two copies of the free version of Untangle.

You can also use other products but I've never had luck establishing connections via Windows RAS - Untangle has been far easier to setup.
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)

Commented:
use a VPN router for site to site connection

Commented:
Aside from the site to site VPN, I might throw in a WAN optimization solution to cut down on the bandwidth usage.  Thats adds more money to the project but really improves performance if the sites are far apart.

Author

Commented:
What about using LogMeIn Hamachi or Pertino to accomplish this task?  Anyone have experience with this?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Never used or heard of Pertino, I client installed Hamachi and broke several things (I don't know and don't use it since LogMeIn is insanely expensive and Untangle is free.

Author

Commented:
Any info on Untangle?
Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
It's a UTM product.  They sell hardware but the entire product is software based and can be isntalled in a VM (I've done it on Hyper-V several times).  Best way to get it and basic info on it is www.untangle.com - then if you have specific questions feel free to ask.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Untangle uses a somewhat customized version of OpenVPN in the free version.  Works fantastically well in my opinion.

Author

Commented:
I looked into untangle and like it for being feature rich with the paid version - plus they have non-profit pricing which will work for me.  I will reopen this as I get into the install if I need help.

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