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Small Office Server - where do I begin?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by kyle2020, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. kyle2020 Guest

    Hey guys, I need some in depth advice here.

    A few nights ago i was contacted by a previous customer asking for some more business. Heres what he asked:

    A new office block is being built in his business' main block. Its a small office, basically to be used for paperwork, etc. He wants:

    1. 3 / 5 Computers to be built, each suitable for word processing, internet use, etc. This is the easy part - Im thinking some low profile mATX rigs with E1200's, 2GB of cheap RAM running onboard VGA.

    2. A file / internet server. Now this is the hard part - I have never done this level of networking before, the most I have done is setting myself and my parents up on our wireless at home, thats not too hard to be honest. For one, I know that the specs of a server dont really need to be amazing - some cheap pentium single core stuff will suffice, but if i can get a bulk deal on E1200's or similar, ill use one of those.

    My main problem is setting it up for file use (ill drop a 1TB HDD in it, but how the hell do I get each PC to connect to it?) and for internet use. Im guessing ill have to have each PC connect to this via a Hub / Router, and the server PC then connected to the internet (just to reiterate, this is a guess) but to be honest, im clueless.

    Am I in too deep with this one, I mean building the PC's / getting them set up for office use is easy, for the 3/5 computers it will take roughly 2 days from building to fully functioning, but its the server issue im scared of.

    Please, any advice on small office based servers for file use / internet use would be a massive help, but remember, your talking to a complete noob in this area, so be as in depth as possible!

    Cookies shal be given :D
     
  2. ktr

    ktr

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    Simple, a server is nothing different than a workstation. Assemble a computer with a little more redundancy (raid 1, a quality powersupply, a high ventilation case, etc), and blammo...you got yourself a server.

    And to setup for being a file server, all you going to do is make shared folders on the server...and on each workstation, you going to map that folder over the network. Any OS can do this. You can get Vista Home Server for more management functionality.

    To connect all of this to the network, all workstation including the server is going to be plugged to a switch. Than the switch is plugged in to a router/modem.
     
  3. kyle2020 Guest

    So your basically saying if i was to build a 6th computer with a tougher PSU, slap say XP Pro on it and setup the hardrive for network mapping, and boom the servers done?

    wow. What kind of router / modem should i be looking at? Also, what about the internet?
     
  4. ktr

    ktr

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    That is pretty much a file server is...Its a computer that has shareable directories.

    That depends on your clients needs. For a small business, you can go with a business class DSL line. They will provide you the modem. As for switch, get something that is un-managed...you don't need a managed switch.

    Something like this would be good enough: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127082
     
  5. CrAsHnBuRnXp

    CrAsHnBuRnXp

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    Id throw a server OS on there so that way you can slap a domain on all the computers. Server 2003 or 2008 will suffice. Id probably slap a dual core in there of something higher than an E1200 to help keep up with the network load. Probably need a hardware firewall such as a Sonicwall.
     
  6. kyle2020 Guest

    So, just to get my mind sorted, heres how it would work:

    Computer for office use connected to a switch (along with other 4 computers) that is then connected to the server rig that has the large HDD with all the files on / the internet?
     
  7. ktr

    ktr

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    5x workstation -----------> switch------------> router------------> modem-----------> ISP
    Server-----------------------^
     
  8. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    [​IMG]
    Yep. You got it! :)


    Seriously, dont even START to spec that "server" until you get back to him with more questions. You need to understand what he wants this "file/internet server" to do. What work the workers will do, and how they will use the server.

    REALLY, depending on security requirements, depending on who else can/cannot connect to this server, depending on whether "internet access" to the server is required, etc. will very much change how you will configure this thing.

    Remember, and this is a tip for all your working life; the smart people know what questions to ask - the dumb ones dont ask questions.
     
  9. kyle2020 Guest

    haha, that didnt half make me laugh :laugh:

    Its a small business that he owns, with 3 other people that are like managers that will be using this office, so restrictions seem unlikely.

    I will be contacting him closer to the date though, this thread was just to get my head around the basic setup really. Now im a bit more clued up I feel a tad more confident - building those workstations will be easy, getting them to use a server will be my "leanr as you go along" section.

    Thanks for all the info so far guys!
     
  10. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Expect that assumption to be false.

    There is no way he will want accounts data to be visible or editable by anyone. If he has employees, he is legally required to secure any HR or payroll data.
     

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