Transition From Workgroup to Domain During Building Transition

40 pts.
Tags:
Active Directory
Database
File servers
Network design
Network infrastructure
Project management
SMB
Storage
VPN
My company presently occupies 2 buildings in the same city with a third smaller building on the same lot as the main office. The main office houses 51 XP workstations networked through Cisco switches on static IP addresses. We have 2 databases that interlink for maintaining customer data and records. The smaller building is fed through coax from the main building to provide network access for 5 additional XP workstations. The second location is several blocks away and communicates with the database via a VPN with an additional 4 XP workstations. In the near future a small number of the employees from the main building will be moving to a 3rd building that is under construction. At that time the database servers will also be moved to the new building and the present main building will become a remote site connected via VPN similar to the 2nd site. It is presently unknown how many workstations will be needed at the new building however it is estimated at about 30-35. At this time all workstations are on a workgroup setup by a previous IT team, I am interested in changing the network to a domain environment with a File Server and Active Directory to simplify the desktop administration and user adiministration side of things. As you can imagine installing one application 95 times one at a time does not interest me, so having the ability to push out installation packages would be a dream. As it stands no employee accesses the network from outside the workplace, however I do believe the CEo's may become interested in this ability in the near future as well. Email is contracted out along with web hosting. I have looked into Windows Server 2008 and VMWare for implementing the network upgrades but since I am not up to date on my network courses, (last course was 2001 - Novell) I am open to suggestions and any information that can be provided by those that may see this situation more often then I do. Thank you in advance.

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I think if it were I setting this up I would use mostly features in server 08. We have a similar but smaller set up with our main corporate office about an 1/8th of a mile from our data center. What we’ve done is to create cisco vpn tunnels for security / administration and to also allow file servers etc at the data center to serve the users at the corporate office. Then on the windows side, all of the users at the corporate office use thin clients which connect to a terminal server at the data center that provides their work environments. The windows network is AD controlled which does in fact make management much easier. AD also provides the ability to push an application needing to be installed to all users so that you don’t have to go to each workstation. But if you put everyone on a terminal server then the workload is lessened again as there is only a machine or a cluster you would need to maintain for all the users. Using Terminal services in 08 you can actually install an application once and then publish it to everyone. And well in regards to the CEO’s wanting to remotely access their systems, if you build a terminal services gateway or something similar then it should just be a matter of routing the RDP port on that machine to the cloud.

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