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Thread: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

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    ɯʎɔɐɹsɐʌʍ mycarsavw's Avatar
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    Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    Less than a year ago I posted something that I now regret when asking for advice on a new server;

    Quote Originally Posted by mycarsavw View Post
    [...]
    Server Essentials 2016

    Users fluctuate from 20 to 23, no long-term plans to increase beyond 25 users.
    [...]
    I hit the 25 user limit last month and in a few months time we will acquire two additional offices - something that wasn't on the cards last year.

    What's the best way to overcome this?

    Upgrade Server Essentials to Server Standard, purchase User CALs for every user and a few Drayteks to handle the VPNs from remote sites.

    or

    Upgrade my O365 licenses (currently Exchange Online Plan 1) to a plan that includes SharePoint and ODfB and move documents from the network share into SharePoint Online.

    I'm sure I'm missing massive chunks out but if anyone has any ideas or pointers, I'm all ears!

    Ta!
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    Admin Team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    From a user perspective, increasing the server capacity and retaining the network shares has minimal impact on working practices.

    Share point does work well, but from what I recall, does require a fair bit of customisation, and will be change in the way users work. Long term that might be a better solution, but there will be some disruption and possibly a training overhead.
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  4. #3
    ɯʎɔɐɹsɐʌʍ mycarsavw's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    The satellite offices are autonomous and both run P2P networks over homeplugs. Having recently learned that one office is still on XP, a change in working practices is inevitable.

    With the unforeseen need to replace machines, the budget I had to do this has just been reduced massively.

    I've yet to properly play with SharePoint, but what you say is what I've seen in my searches.

    Urgh!
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    Admin Team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    In terms of speed and ease of implementation (and budget) extending the existing server and retaining network shares is probably the way to go - you can put Sharepoint on the back burner and perhaps run a development/evaluation system and introduce it in a controlled way.

    I used Sharepoint in my last full time job (we were a test site) and after getting used to the step change, it was pretty good, but we had local administrators who set it up for each business group. Going back to network shares did seem a retrograde step.

    Your organisation probably wouldn't need that level of administration, but to get the best, yo u do need to do a wholesale review of your working practices and workflow. Done badly, I think Sharepoint could be a nightmare for users.

    That isn't necessarily to replicate existing practices on a Sharepoint platform, but an opportunity to allow the facilities Sharepoint offers to improve the efficiency of your business practices. But as we know, change management can be....tricky.
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    ɯʎɔɐɹsɐʌʍ mycarsavw's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    Thanks again Peter.

    I'd be happier with an on site server solution because I know how it works. Training isn't my forté, and neither is patience.

    Now to convince everyone else!
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    Admin Team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    No probs!

    Sharepoint has a lot of plus points, but not something to be rushed into without a fair bit of research. Network shares are tried, trusted and familiar. And for you, probably much easier and lower risk to implement in the short term.

    Th points to emphasise in the business plan would be

    Minimum disruption
    Low risk
    Less expensive
    Faster implementation

    If there are voices pushing for share point, the network share solution doesn’t rule it out, but something to be approached in a controlled and measured way to improve business practice, not as a quick fix to the immediate requirement of office expansion.
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    ɯʎɔɐɹsɐʌʍ mycarsavw's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    Thinking aloud now, feel free to chip in (please).

    Once I upgrade Server Essentials to Server Standard, the limit on users is however many CALs I purchase/can afford(!).

    Server Standard Dell ROK @£540
    41 User CALs;
    I have 24 Dell machines so I can purchase 24 Dell ROK User CALs @ £612 (2 x 10 @ £245 and 1 x 5 @£122)
    The rest, I'm not sure, so I'll assume they're non-Dell, 17 User CALs @ 612 (1 x 20 R18-04938)

    I have one DC in the main office. It constantly tells me it shouldn't be the only DC, but as it's running Server Essentials it's tricky to have a second DC on the same network.

    Now that it's going to be running Server Standard and knowing I have an old server with an SBS 2011 Essentials license, is it a simple task to re purpose the old server as a secondary DC. If so, how? Do I need a second onsite DC?

    Finally, best practice suggests I should have DCs at each satellite office. There will be no more than 10 users at each office, will I need DCs in these offices too, or do I rely on the VPN(s) being stable enough to facilitate remote users authenticating and saving/creating/accessing files?

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    No probs!

    Sharepoint has a lot of plus points, but not something to be rushed into without a fair bit of research. Network shares are tried, trusted and familiar. And for you, probably much easier and lower risk to implement in the short term.

    Th points to emphasise in the business plan would be

    Minimum disruption
    Low risk
    Less expensive
    Faster implementation

    If there are voices pushing for share point, the network share solution doesn’t rule it out, but something to be approached in a controlled and measured way to improve business practice, not as a quick fix to the immediate requirement of office expansion.
    I'm not getting notifications of replies to this thread and it took me hours to actually get round to hitting reply so I missed your reply, sorry.

    No one else is aware of SharePoint, I'm exploring ideas alone on this one. I was trying to keep costs down but I would sooner spend a bit on something I know than invest time and ultimately their funds on something that has the potential to create endless headaches.
    |Kata: "Read title as 'fisting'. Not sure why I clicked. Relieved, really."|
    |TAKTAK: "It was so small that mine wouldn't fit into it"|

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    Admin Team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Growing from a single to a multi site business - server stuff.

    It has been a while since I was involved in Windows networking, but I guess if you have a DC at each site, it gives a measure of resilience if the network links go down, and may speed up logins for local users. I think you said that you are going to implant a VPN though and if the network goes down the network shares would not be accessible anyway.

    A secondary DC at the main site is a good idea though just to provide a roll over service if the PDC fails.
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