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What's the best way to link 2 locations?

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  • What's the best way to link 2 locations?

    We just got a new location and I need to make the 2 locations work as one.
    We are running 2003 on 3 servers (Server_Old is the initial installation and acts only as a domain controller and DNS server (it was the DHCP and file server), Server1 is the new DHCP, file server, VPN and DNS server and Server2 which so far I only added to the domain as a domain controler.
    The files that are on the file server are accessed and modified by everybody in the same proportion.
    So, my question is, how should I set up the second location? Given that they have to have access to the shared files as they would be in the original location?
    Should I move the Server2 to the new location, create a new site and deploy DFS with FRS on the Server1 and Server2? I would keep them together untill the DFS and FRS is completly replicated (identical) then move the Server2 in the new location.
    Or, should I create a child domain at the new location?

    Between the 2 locations I will estabilish a VPN tunnel with 2 Netgear FVS336G.
    So 2 different subnets will be used. 192.168.100.0 at original location and 192.168.101.0 at the new location.
    This means that routing has to be enabled on Server1 at original location and (if I move Server2 to the new location) on Server 2 at the new location.

    Thanks a lot for all your help.

  • #2
    Re: What's the best way to do this?

    If Server 2 isn't a DC then I would remove DNS from it unless you have a specific reason for having it on there. Install DNS on the new DC. Dependent on the spec of "old_server" I would also have it run DHCP. It is fairly lightweight.

    How many users are at the remote site?
    cheers
    Andy

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    • #3
      Re: What's the best way to do this?

      Create a seperate site for the DC at the remote location, so that users at that location will logon using their local DC. You'll probably want to make it a Global Catalog and DHCP server too in case the VPN goes down. Site to site VPN will allow them to contact the main office and access the network shares.
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      • #4
        Re: What's the best way to do this?

        I wouldn't consider to use a child domain. There is no need to do that in your situation.

        I understand that your file server will contain files for both sites. Is your bandwidth wide enough for people to use their files over WAN connections?

        Anyhow, I wouldn't replicate large ammounts of date with DFS. it is not that stable. If you choose to do it anyway, I suggest upgrading the file servers to Win SRV2003 R2 and use DFSR instead. The entire replication mechanism was rewritten by MS and It is now much more powerfull and stable.

        Did you consider working with Terminal Servers / Citrix? This way you'll be able to keep all your servers in one site which would lower your TCO dramatically.

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        • #5
          Re: What's the best way to do this?

          Originally posted by Smart-X View Post
          Did you consider working with Terminal Servers / Citrix? This way you'll be able to keep all your servers in one site which would lower your TCO dramatically.
          You wouldn't put a DC at each site then? If the WAN link goes down, nobody gets any work done at the remote site until it's fixed...
          Gareth Howells

          BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

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          • #6
            Re: What's the best way to link 2 locations?

            That's correct.
            I'm not aware to all details, but in general, I would tend to keep all servers in the main data center and distribute services to clients over RDP / ICA.

            It would be less expensive to purchase and maintain a second communication link for redundancy reasons, than to maintain servers on the remote site.
            Especially if users from both sites need to access the same files.

            BTW, Citrix can also work offline when the communication link is broken.

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            • #7
              Re: What's the best way to link 2 locations?

              I think the main factor here is the "Details".
              I'd choose a solution based on those details such as Number of client machines and users supported, Funds available, types and amounts of resources, future provisions etc.

              Managing and mantaining a server in a remote location shouldn't be a deterrent with today's technologies available.
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