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Old 06-07-2004, 08:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1
Question MS Network setup help


Firstly, please forgive me if this is the WRONG forum for this type of question - a swift kick in the *%$!@ and a pointer as to where I SHOULD ask will send me on my way!!

I'm a web developer, but I'm currently attempting to help out a local charity here in the UK with some basic advice on network setup and costs - they are currently in the process of getting further funding, but obviously as a charity they need to keep those costs at a minimal! I have some experience with basic home networks but none with this type of setup. Here's what we spoke about:

    /  \
   /    \
---      ---
PC1      PC2
---      ---
 Office PC
  • SERVER: this would run an Access 2003 database application containing stock records (the charity provides low-cost items to those in need) and personal customer/client details. The database would be updated directly on the server PC.
  • PC1/PC2: these would have read-only access to the database - PC1 in the office admin area and PC2 in the shop. PC1 may also require internet access
  • General Office PC: PC for general admin tasks, and for some basic graphics manipulation (adding images of current stock to the database)

Questions (all are cost-oriented! :
  1. Is this an acceptable setup?
  2. If so, what type of hardware/software setup should we go for in terms of the server? Are there any specific hardware requirements for a database server, or can we simply use a more-powerful-than-average/average PC (say, 2.4 GHz processor, 256MB of memory, 40 GB Hard Disk, 48 xCD/ CD Rewriter drives, Network card)? Would Win XP Pro be OK or must/should we go for Win2000?
  3. As far as I can tell PC1 and PC2 above have no REAL need to be particularly powerful, as they are simply admin PCs - PC1 MAY, however, require internet access (through the General Office PC). Would I be correct in thinking that average PCs are necessary here (see above), or could we save a bit more money by buying lower-spec machines? If so, would Windows XP Home edition be OK here or does it have problems running with a server?
  4. The General Office PC would require internet access AND (possibly) occasional write-access to the server (adding images). How (obviously in basic terms so that a complete network novice like me could understand should we best set this up? Obviously we'd need to set up a firewall between this PC and the internet, but what about between this PC and the database server - would we require another firewall there? I would guess so, but once again, I really don't know...
  5. Regarding the firewalls (related to [4] above) - would software firewalls be OK (thinking in terms of Sygate/Zone Alarm/etc.) or would it be necessary to go for the hardware route? Again, remembering that pricing is an issue here...

Hopefully I haven't COMPLETELY pi***d off you folks with asking this sort of question - I realise that many of you probably get paid pretty well for this type of request. All we need is a few guidelines or pointers as to network/hardware/software solutions, just so that we don't waste money when buying the hardware/software packages!

Cheers! (and if anyone can answer some of these they certainly deserve a pint!)


StuartH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2004, 04:59 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 49
Default Re: MS Network setup help

1) server should connect to the internet
2) server should have a firewall on it
3) you might be able to get a copy of windows server 2003 small business edition very cheap as a charity. (it comes with 5 clients)
4) computer hardware is very cheap so that needing a high or low spec pc is irrelevant unless u need a super fast PC.

5) people will say a workgroup is fine.. and it is but
a) it makes administering a nightmare
b) it makes backup a nightmare
c) you the administrator has no control
d) eith a few more terminsals your headache as the admin will grow as it will be like managing 5 individual PC's

Where are you based? If its for charity we may be able to help.

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