Cloud Server

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purebeau69
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Cloud Server

Post by purebeau69 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:35 am

I know I posted something like this in the old forums but I'll just do this here.

Our office is working on a substantial healthcare project in my hometown and the construction manager has requested that our project manager currently assigned to the job be on site roughly 4-6 hours per day. This makes sense from an efficiency standpoint in case issues arise during construction, however, from a technology standpoint we are not prepared for this. Our project manager would need to be able to access and work on our file server remotely. Currently, our file server is basically a desktop with really big hard drives in it that we share locally within our office network.

Recently, with gate's much needed assistance lol, I setup a NAS media server for my wife and I. Synology was the manufacturer and other than a few router configurations it was fairly painless. I'd like to stick with Synology if I can since I'm familiar with their UI and setup. I've done some research on appropriate NAS devices for business use and I came up with the DS1513+ 5-bay. This appears to be the go-to NAS for small/medium business but I'm really not sure how much hardware speed is required for the type of work we do. According to the product specifications the DS1513+ should be able to handle 10+ people accessing / working on it at the same time. Our typical file sizes range from 10kb all the way up to 100MB+.

Also, I'm not sure how much different the network configuration will be with our business class system as opposed to my wife and I's residential system.

Here is a link to the NAS: http://www.synology.com/products/spec.p ... #p_submenu
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gatekeeper
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by gatekeeper » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:42 pm

With Time Warner running your office config, it's probably really and truly not much different from your home setup.

TW has probably assigned the modem there a single static IP address (an "outside" IP - to see what it is, go to "whatismyip.com"). That then feeds to the router, which re-assigns every computer connected to it an "internal" IP (192.168.1.x for instance). Just like we had to do with your box at home, you'll have to set the server to a static IP that's outside the range of your dynamically assigned IPs. So if the work router uses 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.200 for the "random" addresses, you'll need to set the box to something below .100 or above .200. Your call. The real issue is in the router, making sure that the ports needed for the box are correctly forwarded to the server.

You'll also need a domain record that points to your external TW IP. You can do a subdomain setup (like files.yourdomain.com), or just have a completely new domain entirely. It's probably easier to run the new domain and register it through godaddy or some other registrar than have to mess around with what's currently in place for your domain. The domain is only so you don't have to just blindly type in the IP every time you want to access the office box. You could go with dyndns again, but that could get to be expensive and unnecessary. Register a new domain for 5 years and pay $50 now - be done with it.

You'll also probably need to pay very close attention to the security protocols on the box - change the passwords frequently (you should be able to force a window on users), make them a minimum length/setup, etc. You could get really advanced and attempt to restrict remote access to a specific ip-subset, but that could be pretty messy. You really need a network engineer to do that kind of stuff (Time Warner might be able to help you out there).

Your file server is already running Windows SB Server if memory serves, and it should either have an add-on for "remote web access" or be able to purchase the module from Microsoft. We use SBE for our box, and it has what's necessary baked into the system to run remote use. So you can change passwords and all that. If we had a real need to work with it outside of the office, I'd set it up very similarly to how I've outlined here, but we don't have that need. I'm a little more lax on password requirements inside the office because I can be. ;-)
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by purebeau69 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:40 pm

I still don't have a clean grasp on this stuff. You're saying not do use dyndns after telling me to use it for my own personal use? lol?

Do you think the model I linked will be sufficient for what we do? CPU speed, RAM, etc.?
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by gatekeeper » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:16 pm

Don't bother with dyndns for work.

The concept behind dyndns is that it has a reporting tool that informs the central server when your local IP changes. From a business perspective, you should already have a static IP. The costs associated with dyndns for a business aren't necessary.

You have 2 options in dealing with a static (ie known ip)..

1.) You register a new domain. Potentially cleaner and less headaches because there's no confusion with your current website. There's also an extra layer of security from the standpoint that if someone's looking to hack your website (current domain), the files domain is separated.

2.) Subdomain options (like ts3.cans-crew.com). This could get ugly depending on who's managing your domain. It's not difficult in the slightest to do, just could prove to be a headache. Your current domain points to whatever IP address it does now. A subdomain (files.domain.com) would still feed website traffic where it needs to go, but the subdomain you would set the record to point to the office's IP address.
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by gatekeeper » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:22 pm

purebeau69 wrote:Do you think the model I linked will be sufficient for what we do? CPU speed, RAM, etc.?
The $64,000 question - why are you getting a separate box? If memory serves, your office just spent a couple of grand on a new box less than 3 years ago. Will this NAS run concurrently or replace it?

If your intention is to run concurrently, you're creating a lot of headaches in setting up a remote file manager scenario with a second box. You already own a business class system that either is pre-built to do what you need it to do (without too much in the way of additional IT headaches), or can be expanded to do what you need it to do (either directly through a Microsoft add-on or a 3rd party program).

If you're replacing the current system, then yes it's fine, because even a single core atom processor can run a file server. You don't need massive computing power unless you're truly working in a shared environment where version control is necessary to file access (multiple people working on the same file) or doing other tasks that need to be done by a server.

What I'd look into, especially if you have no intentions of replacing the current box, is signing up for a business plan with box.com. You can establish the "shared" folder to just be this specific healthcare folder, or something to that effect. That way, you're not exposing the entire firm to security risks across all projects, he has access to the files he needs, and you're not spending anything more than a meal a day.

An entire piece of hardware for a remote solution (when it's not a core part of your business) seems like overkill to me.
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by purebeau69 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:53 pm

the NAS will replace our current server.

Our current server runs Windows Server 2008 and is basically a giant hard drive (4 different hard drives RAID 5 I believe). Would it be possible to just take the hard drives out of our current server and put them in the NAS? Or does the NAS need to format them regardless if they are already formatted? I'm trying to gauge my time needed to set all this crap up.
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by gatekeeper » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:22 pm

Reformat. Most of the NAS'es are running some derivation of Linux. It can probably be read, but it all honesty, you're likely to lose the info and reformat.

You could dump all your shared data to the external drive, pull the drives out of the current box, and go that route.

But, here's the other thing, if the hardware is fine, you could possibly do the same without having to put out new money at all. There are 3 or 4 different software packages (Freenas.org is the most popular) that will create a NAS setup from whatever hardware you have.
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by purebeau69 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:54 pm

looks like FreeNAS would completely wipe our server's OS hard drive. It's not as simple as installing a program and running it...

I'm not really concerned about costs at this point. The project will cover them. If we do a cloud server I'd rather build a new, good quality one. That way I can do it in the future if needed. The hardware in our current server is okay but it's still almost 5 years old.

We have a full server backup on external hard drives I can copy files from...I was just wondering if I couldn't just take the hard drives from our current server and install them in the NAS to save some time.
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Re: Cloud Server

Post by gatekeeper » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:01 pm

There's no real need to replace the hardware - as a NAS, the computing requirements are ridiculously low. I've heard of people that can run NAS'es on raspberry pi's.
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