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The everything server

By cat1service ·
I am an IT consultant for small buisnesses. I am working with a company that wants: vpn connection to a remote office, their specialized database to run better, get their printers out from under their desktops so that they can shutdown a computer and still be able to print. I am thinking about building a dual cpu server to be a...vpn server, file server, print server and mabee do data backup.

I know this sounds nuts but this is a small buisness and they dont have alot of money to throw at this.

Finally, my question is will a single server be able to handle all of these requirements keeping in mind that it is only serving 5 - 6 clients. There will only be a couple of vpn users and there are only two printers. The database application tracks agents in the field and when the users switch between the calendar and call information aspects of the software, it takes forever. The software runs on a win2k dell desktop I think a 4300 dimension. I think that it is just slow in accessing the information.

If anybody has a better solution, please let me know, thanks


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Use appliances instead

by caromerofwd In reply to The everything server

I'd recommend that you put out $100-$200 for a print server that can sit on their network and hang printers off of it, and get a VPN-capable router/firewall appliance such as is made by Linksys around $150 (or if you have a bit more budget, a low-end SonicWall probably around $500) that can handle the VPN stuff. I also suggest you look at a Snap!Server or similar file service appliance. All these devices require much less administration than a "real" server based on, say, Linux or Windows.

It's impossible to say what to do about the performance on the database app you're talking about-- maybe you need memory, maybe the app is just badly designed. The fact that it's running on a desktop vs. a "server" should make no difference.

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Thanks I will check that out

by cat1service In reply to Use appliances instead

I was thinking of going this way as well, I think it is better in the sense that there will be less of a catastrophic single point of failure. On the flipside, it allows for less scalability for the future. I forgot to mention that they wanna move to a new office in november.

I will check out the sonic wall... I think that might be a better way to go.

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Use linux...

by ants01 In reply to The everything server

Check out, or If you are an experienced linux user you can try build your own using

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This is deffinately something

by cat1service In reply to Use linux...

I am going to do in the future. I do use red hat at my office, but dont feel I am good enough with linux to offer it as a service option yet. I am working to that point quickly though because it is obviously a much cheaper and in alot of cases a better option imo.

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There are many boxes like that on the market

by yuri In reply to This is deffinately somet ...

If you are interested I can give you some manufacturers that will be happy to send you a box like that - even it will serve as your intranet and web enabled eMail server as well...
With even VoIP and Vide conferencing built in.

They can provide tech support and monthly maintenance...

If you are interested send me an e-mail at

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All depends

by miguel In reply to The everything server

Hi, I have been running for about 5 years a server with all the things you enumerate above, plus web server of 4 sites with dotnetnuke.

I have done this because normally in thir-world economies like mine in Colombia (South America), the companies often are out of budget for IT.

With only one server with Windows 2000 Server (Athlon 2000+, 512 RAM, 80GB) I?m serving about 30 clients inside and a lot more through Internet.

The downside for Linux is the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) because hourly rates of people who knows to configure those services, thus making this Operating System (Linux) too much expensive for the most of the companies.

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I think it meets everything

by cat1service In reply to All depends

Yeah I think this is probably the way to go, I dont like the single point of failure aspect but it solves every problem for a reasonable price. I still might go with the small print server box plus snap and so forth, if the database application I find out wont be compatible.

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some other thoughts

by dbaker In reply to I think it meets everythi ...

If your printers to not have network adapters in the the small boxes are your only option (unless you physicaly connect them to the server). They do seem to work well, ours seemed to need rebooting fairly often, but that was a good 5 years ago. If you're looking at the vpn solution, be sure to checkout watchguard, we have been very pleased so far.
What sort of database app are you working with? file based or server based? (IE Access or SQL)

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Novell Linux Small Business Server

by cookspc In reply to The everything server

This product is Linux and it will enable you to install and set up the things you need providing your database server is compatible with it.

Easy to setup and maintain without increasing cost of operation as previously state. $475 includes SUSE Linux Server(5 users), Groupwise, iFolder, iPrint, 5 Novell Desktop OS. iManager for web-based server management.
You will not need to hire Linux experts to manage it, but Novell does sell extended support if you want it.
I agree with the recommendations on print server appliances (also any new printers should have an ethernet connection built in) as this makes your printers OS independent so it will still work the same if you change OS's in the future.
If your database is not client/server (like foxpro, jet etc) then it probably won't make it much faster since it is all being done in the client and only stored on the server. Won't make it more reliable either

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Thanks for the response

by cat1service In reply to Novell Linux Small Busine ...

I have alot more options now...I think if the database application will work on the server, it will make it faster. The president said that it used to run much faster than it does now. I think what has happened is that more crap has been thrown on the Dell Pc that it is on now and the database itself has gotten bigger thus useing more cpu time to retrieve and present the data in the various formats.

I know in most cases more hardware wont speed up an application because you can only process the threads so fast based off of design.

Yeah, the printers have an ethernet port already, and the first thing I plan to do is network them on their own until I get the server online witch will be the last phase of the upgrade. The problem is whoever set up the network in the first place used each port of the router for client stations instead of getting a switch and the router ports are full. I need to get a switch first to network the printers.

I am very tempted to go with linux because win2k3 licenseing just pisses me off even thinking about it. It is just a rediculous amount of money.

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