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Help with setting up a small biusness network

Last response: in Toms Network
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December 3, 2009 2:12:25 PM

I need help setting up a small business network at a used car dealership. The equipment consists of a simple router, a server running Windows Server 2008, and about 6-7 laptops running a mix of Windows XP, Vista, and 7 (if it will be easier all the laptops can be upgraded to Window 7).

What the network needs to achieve is to be able to share an application that is used to update car information. The application is used to import pictures, description, and price information for cars. Then the application uploads all the information into an all-ready made template to ebay, Autotrader, and Craigslist. This application can only be used in-house (meaning it can only be used on the network it is assigned to). This application needs to be shared at the same time by as many as all the users at the same time.

The network also needs to act as a file server and include remote access.

I have little knowledge with this kind of setup. However, the way I imagined it to be done is to have the server setup up with a Terminal Server role and with a File Server role and include remote access. I would install the application on the server, and have it setup that when users upload pictures that they are stored on a hard drive on the server. The remote access needs to be setup so that any user, wherever they are, can still access the network, including using the application.

Can all of this be done?





December 3, 2009 4:09:22 PM

Sure all of this can be done.

Remote access can be done via VPN. Now you can use PPTP or IPSEC as part of windows 2008 server, but I would suggest OpenVPN. You can install OpenVPN on the 2008 server or on a seperate machine. OpenVPN works better over difficult remote locations (Starbucks, homes, and hotels) and supports key files combine with usernames and passwords which can be tied in to active directory using LDAP. Once a VPN connection is made that remote computer should act like it is pluged in at the office.

As far as the software, terminal services is one way to go or it could just be setup as a client to server app where the data is shared off the server using a file shared or a SQL server. The best way depends on how the software was writen. Not all software is very good at being used by mutliple people at the same time. You really need to talk to the developer and see how they recommend setting it up.

File shares is what windows server does best, so you shouldn't have any problems there.

I don't recommend having windows server 2008 on the actually internet nor should you use a simple router. Nothing beats a dedicated firewall server. This could be a dedicated PC using one of the many linux firewall/gateway distros out there.
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December 3, 2009 5:14:40 PM

intelliclint said:
Sure all of this can be done.

Remote access can be done via VPN. Now you can use PPTP or IPSEC as part of windows 2008 server, but I would suggest OpenVPN. You can install OpenVPN on the 2008 server or on a seperate machine. OpenVPN works better over difficult remote locations (Starbucks, homes, and hotels) and supports key files combine with usernames and passwords which can be tied in to active directory using LDAP. Once a VPN connection is made that remote computer should act like it is pluged in at the office.

As far as the software, terminal services is one way to go or it could just be setup as a client to server app where the data is shared off the server using a file shared or a SQL server. The best way depends on how the software was writen. Not all software is very good at being used by mutliple people at the same time. You really need to talk to the developer and see how they recommend setting it up.

File shares is what windows server does best, so you shouldn't have any problems there.

I don't recommend having windows server 2008 on the actually internet nor should you use a simple router. Nothing beats a dedicated firewall server. This could be a dedicated PC using one of the many linux firewall/gateway distros out there.


The users of the network do not want to use OpenVPN and dont ask me why.

"a client to server app where the data is shared off the server using a file shared or a SQL server"
Could you explain this a little more?

Another question is could you have a single server acting as a File and Ternimal server with PPTP or IPSEC?
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December 3, 2009 6:10:54 PM

willywonkaisrsh said:
The users of the network do not want to use OpenVPN and dont ask me why.

"a client to server app where the data is shared off the server using a file shared or a SQL server"
Could you explain this a little more?

Another question is could you have a single server acting as a File and Ternimal server with PPTP or IPSEC?


Yeah the first time I got a group of user to try OpenVPN they didn't like it till I automated the install and made a quick connect icon on the desktop. PPTP would be the easiest. I would strongly discourage having terminal servers open to the internet with out using a VPN.

Yes you can have all of the services running on one computer. File, DHCP, DNS, VPN (PPTP or IPSEC) and termserv should all work of from the same server. You can even run exchange and IIS from that server, but sometimes they do work better if they are different servers.
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