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  • Network architecture, remote sites

    I have had a good SBS 2003 installation in place with about 20 users in one location. The company has 5 branch offices with 2 - 3 employees in each site. We have set the computers up locally and used Microsoft Outlook with RPC over HTTPS to connect to the Exchange server.

    I have not been consulted on this yet but I know itis in the pipes. They want to link the sites by VPN so that they can store their files on the server and have access to shared files. They also have concerns with backup at the remote sites and by keeping their files on the server, they get backed up each night.

    I have had first-hand experience with this senario and have a few customers we have networked using VLAN and HSA DSL account. The data transfer is two slow for a business environment with one SBS box.

    When they throw this my way, I am going to suggest VLAN if they want to move files around, but I am also going to recommend the remote sites have their own 'member server' and that day-to-day documents are stored and backed up at each individual site.

    Probably if we had know the company was going to expand this fast, we might have gone with Server 2003 at the time and had replicating domain controllers, however, I have to work with what I have.

    I am open to opinions and suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Network Engineers do IT under the desk

  • #2
    Re: Network architecture, remote sites

    Instead of Member Server at each site, you could have a DC. However this is not going to get around what appears to be the central backup senario that is wanted (if I read this right).

    What sort of connection bandwidth is connecting the branch offices to the main site?
    What size data is being backed up from the branch offices?
    1 1 was a racehorse.
    2 2 was 1 2.
    1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
    2 2 1 1 2

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    • #3
      Re: Network architecture, remote sites

      The connections would be HA DSL accounts configured as a VLAN at the ISP's POP. If I put DC controllers at the remotes, then I have a lot of unnecessary traffic as they replicate. Files involved are likely Word and Excel files I would imagine.

      I have customers already that have gone this route with satellite users connected by VLAN using DSL. It is not very efficient when you start trying to open up a spreadsheed across the WAN with the server in another city.
      Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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      • #4
        Re: Network architecture, remote sites

        Let me ask it another way, how fast is an HA DSL connection? I have no idea what the HA stands for. To me it is JABA!!
        1 1 was a racehorse.
        2 2 was 1 2.
        1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
        2 2 1 1 2

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        • #5
          Re: Network architecture, remote sites

          Originally posted by RobW View Post
          The connections would be HA DSL accounts configured as a VLAN at the ISP's POP. If I put DC controllers at the remotes, then I have a lot of unnecessary traffic as they replicate.
          Given this is SBS (75 user limit) I dont think AD / DNS replication is going to generate anything like the traffic to saturate a DSL link. Certainly this will be outweighed by the advantage of having a local DC to allow logons etc if the VPN goes down

          For the files, look at DFS, perhaps with replication scheduled out of hours, so each site will have copies of all data up to the previous day
          Tom Jones
          MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
          PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
          IT Trainer / Consultant
          Ossian Ltd
          Scotland

          ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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          • #6
            Re: Network architecture, remote sites

            Ossian beat me to it. SBS does not preclude having Server 2003 site replication since IT IS Server 2003. DFS will be a bit slower though as the R2 in SBS 2003 does NOT include DFS synching only changes - it still does the whole file. If there are a LOT of initial files I would either install the branch DC at the local site then ship it out to the branch or deliver it via some other method.
            Another alternative to consider is, that if it is only 2-3 users at each remote site, then use Terminal Server at the central site (additional member server configured for TS) and backup is no problem!!
            TIA

            Steven Teiger [SBS-MVP(2003-2009)]
            http://www.wintra.co.il/
            sigpic
            Iím honoured to have been selected for the SMB 150 list for 2013. This is the third time in succession (no logo available for 2011) that I have been honoured with this award.

            We donít stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

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            • #7
              Re: Network architecture, remote sites

              I gave a TS serious consideration and I think this may be an obstacle. The parent office had a Ricoh multi-function installed at the remote office and they have had a real hard time getting the scan-to-e-mail to work. The machine was sent from a local company to another city so there was no one there to set it up. To save a few bucks, the company did not involve me because it would mean a three hour drive.

              The remote office is not a part of the SBS network so the ISP gave us a POP3 account for the Ricoh to use to scan-to-e-mail. I am not sure if it is working but if I went ahead and put a TS in, I think I would be faced with Ricoh problems all over again.

              If I understand, I need the Ricoh installed in the parent office where the TS is located first in order that the Ricoh can work in the remote office using TS.

              Suggestions? Thanks for all the help on this topic.
              Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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