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
- 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!
- Is this an acceptable setup?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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...
- Regarding the firewalls (related to  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!)