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Varun Kamath

Help me set up a small office network - 10 Computers

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi all,

 

I have a small office of 10 computers, all of different configurations (i3, i5) with a minimum of 4GB RAM in each system. They are connected via a 16 port DLink switch and one Internet line is connected to the switch to provide internet access to the nodes. The computers are running Windows 10 (winver 1809) My issues is thus: I want to create a network where 9 computers are acting as client nodes and one computer is the server. All work files are stored on the server and not stored locally on the client nodes. The client nodes are only to access the data on the server and work on it. We are an accounting and auditing firm so our workloads are not very intensive, we work on accounting and taxation packages. 

 

In earlier versions of windows, Homegroup used to handle the file sharing. It auto configured so there was no issue, all the client nodes had to do was access \\server\D\ and get the required data. But as of build 1803 I think they removed homegroup. Now I have to manually configure the network because otherwise each time the client nodes are trying to access data on the server a pop-up window appears asking for credentials. I somehow managed to configure that using credential manager, but now again the client nodes are not able to access the server. Please help

 

I am the impromptu systems admin at my office and am very inexperienced in networking. I have been struggling with this for a long time. All i want is for the nodes to access data on the server drives D and E using the path in file explorer. No cloud stuff, all local network. Please advise. If possible please provide steps to troubleshoot and properly configure the network. It would be a big help and I would be very grateful to you.

 

If any more information is required from me for this, please reply below and I shall provide.

 

Thanks,

 

Varun


My Rig:

 

AMD R5 1600; Asus Prime B350M-A, 2x8GB Corsair Vengance LPX DDR4 2400Mhz RAM, Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 6G, Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite 500W PSU, Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Sata SSD, WD Blue 1TB (steam library), WD Blue 4TB (Miscellaneous Storage), 2xCooler Master Air Balance RGB case fans, 1 NZXT Hue+ for case Lighting, all within a Cooler Master Masterbox 5 White Edition Chassis.

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Hello, Do you guys have a Domain Controller? It's best to get one and have network policies set for the users. Not sure about the prices is India, but you can get a cheap Dell Server and get a separate NAS. A Nas, depending on your requirements, can get expensive. You can get a 4 bay or more. 


CPU: i5 4690 |CPU Cooler: CM Hyper 212 Evo | Motherboard: Z97-A | RAM: 4x4GB Kingston Memory 1600mhz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB Zotac Mini | Case: K280 Case | PSU: Cooler Master B600 Power supply | SSD: 120GB Kingston V300 SSD | HDDs: 1x 250GB & 1x 1TB WD Blue | Monitors: 24" Acer S240HLBID + 20" Dell  | OS: Win 10 Pro

 

Audio: Behringer 302USB Xenyx 5 Input Mixer | Neewer® NW-700 Microphone | Behringer PS400 Micropower Phantom Power Supply

 

Networking gear:  Dell OptiPlex 390 Domain Controller | Dell PowerEdge R210 II Exchange 2016 | TP-LINK TL-SG1024D 24-Port Gigabit | Cisco ASA 5505 VPN  | Cisco Catalyst 3750 Gigabit Switch

 

 

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9 hours ago, Varun Kamath said:

Hi all,

 

I have a small office of 10 computers, all of different configurations (i3, i5) with a minimum of 4GB RAM in each system. They are connected via a 16 port DLink switch and one Internet line is connected to the switch to provide internet access to the nodes. The computers are running Windows 10 (winver 1809) My issues is thus: I want to create a network where 9 computers are acting as client nodes and one computer is the server. All work files are stored on the server and not stored locally on the client nodes. The client nodes are only to access the data on the server and work on it. We are an accounting and auditing firm so our workloads are not very intensive, we work on accounting and taxation packages. 

 

In earlier versions of windows, Homegroup used to handle the file sharing. It auto configured so there was no issue, all the client nodes had to do was access \\server\D\ and get the required data. But as of build 1803 I think they removed homegroup. Now I have to manually configure the network because otherwise each time the client nodes are trying to access data on the server a pop-up window appears asking for credentials. I somehow managed to configure that using credential manager, but now again the client nodes are not able to access the server. Please help

 

I am the impromptu systems admin at my office and am very inexperienced in networking. I have been struggling with this for a long time. All i want is for the nodes to access data on the server drives D and E using the path in file explorer. No cloud stuff, all local network. Please advise. If possible please provide steps to troubleshoot and properly configure the network. It would be a big help and I would be very grateful to you.

 

If any more information is required from me for this, please reply below and I shall provide.

 

Thanks,

 

Varun

There are multiple ways you can handle this.

 

1. You could create a network share on whatever computer you designate as the server. Create some basic permissions with user accounts, and then map those drives to each PC with the credentials remembered.

 

2. You could take the "server" computer and install an actual Server OS onto it, such as FreeNAS, Linux, Windows Server, etc - then configure as needed. Ideally, setup an AD Domain or LDAP/similar.

 

3. You could just go out and buy a small 2-bay NAS from Synology or QNAP - they are very cheap, and also give a level of drive redundancy if you setup the HDD's in a RAID1 mirror (highly recommended). Both Synology and QNAP NAS's can operate as a Domain Controller, and you can create permissions level access to folders based on users. You then map the drive to each client.

 

4. You could buy an actual server, with Windows Server operating system on it (Please, nothing older than Server 2012, ideally Server 2016 or newer) - this could be new or used. Setting up a proper Windows domain would be best, but is more complicated and the hardware could be more costly.

 

I'd advise you to go the Synology/QNAP route. The NAS's themselves are very cheap. Just slap a couple of HDD's inside (The capacity depends on your needs. I'd advise a drive that's at least 50% bigger than your current needs, and then buy 2 of them). The interface and configuration is stupid easy and straight forward, and the support both Synology and QNAP offer is damn good.

4 hours ago, grangervoldemort said:

Go on geekstogo. The people on this forum are mostly hobby amateurs. Geekstogo has got retired professionals. 

*cough* the SysAdmins on the forum (such as myself) take offense to that! :P

 

Though you're right, most users on this forum are basically noobs when it comes to proper business infrastructure.


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* Intel i7-4770K * ASRock Z97 Anniversary * 16GB RAM * 750w Seasonic Modular PSU *

* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

* Gigabyte HD 7950 WF3 * SATA Blu-Ray Writer * Logitech g710+ * Windows 10 Pro x64 *

 

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3 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

 

3. You could just go out and buy a small 2-bay NAS from Synology or QNAP - they are very cheap, and also give a level of drive redundancy if you setup the HDD's in a RAID1 mirror (highly recommended). Both Synology and QNAP NAS's can operate as a Domain Controller, and you can create permissions level access to folders based on users. You then map the drive to each client.

A small NAS (Synology/QNAP) is probably the cheapest, easiest and yet best solution. I'd advise option 3 aswell.

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i think the best thing to remember here is that you want to K.I.S.S

 

Keep It Simple Stupid

 

i agree with everytihng dalek has said, a QNAP/Synology will do what you need it to do PLUS they have some very simple and easy to use modes on them so that you dont need to be a GURU to set it up.

 

if for whatever reason you can't do that, then i'd be looking at running Windows Server Essentials:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/get-started/get-started

 

it's somewhere in between the NAS option and the "proper" server option, it simplifies a lot of things

 

the opther thing to bear in mind is that with this centralised server setup you introduce a single point of failure, all your data is on this one server and if it breaks, everything breaks.

 

for this reason make sure whatever you use had redundancy! and backups! hard drives fail... its not a case of if, its a case of when... make sure at the MINIMUM you go for a solution with redundant drives. make sure youre in a position so that when it breaks your biggest stress is getting the thing up and running as quickly as possible, as opposed to worrying about writing your CV when you realize the data is lost forever and the company's about to go bankrupt!

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 5/18/2019 at 2:12 PM, Abdul201588 said:

Hello, Do you guys have a Domain Controller? It's best to get one and have network policies set for the users. Not sure about the prices is India, but you can get a cheap Dell Server and get a separate NAS. A Nas, depending on your requirements, can get expensive. You can get a 4 bay or more. 

I have no idea what a domain controller is. Could you please elaborate? Also, I do not wish to change the system which is acting as a server. I only wish to configure the network so that we don't face any issues while accessing data from the "server" to the client nodes.


My Rig:

 

AMD R5 1600; Asus Prime B350M-A, 2x8GB Corsair Vengance LPX DDR4 2400Mhz RAM, Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 6G, Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite 500W PSU, Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Sata SSD, WD Blue 1TB (steam library), WD Blue 4TB (Miscellaneous Storage), 2xCooler Master Air Balance RGB case fans, 1 NZXT Hue+ for case Lighting, all within a Cooler Master Masterbox 5 White Edition Chassis.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 5/18/2019 at 10:03 PM, dalekphalm said:

There are multiple ways you can handle this.

 

1. You could create a network share on whatever computer you designate as the server. Create some basic permissions with user accounts, and then map those drives to each PC with the credentials remembered.

 

2. You could take the "server" computer and install an actual Server OS onto it, such as FreeNAS, Linux, Windows Server, etc - then configure as needed. Ideally, setup an AD Domain or LDAP/similar.

 

3. You could just go out and buy a small 2-bay NAS from Synology or QNAP - they are very cheap, and also give a level of drive redundancy if you setup the HDD's in a RAID1 mirror (highly recommended). Both Synology and QNAP NAS's can operate as a Domain Controller, and you can create permissions level access to folders based on users. You then map the drive to each client.

 

4. You could buy an actual server, with Windows Server operating system on it (Please, nothing older than Server 2012, ideally Server 2016 or newer) - this could be new or used. Setting up a proper Windows domain would be best, but is more complicated and the hardware could be more costly.

 

I'd advise you to go the Synology/QNAP route. The NAS's themselves are very cheap. Just slap a couple of HDD's inside (The capacity depends on your needs. I'd advise a drive that's at least 50% bigger than your current needs, and then buy 2 of them). The interface and configuration is stupid easy and straight forward, and the support both Synology and QNAP offer is damn good.

*cough* the SysAdmins on the forum (such as myself) take offense to that! :P

 

Though you're right, most users on this forum are basically noobs when it comes to proper business infrastructure.

Thanks for the advice, will probably attempt the NAS solution. But I am not familiar with how to set up a NAS. Any guidelines/articles that I can refer?


My Rig:

 

AMD R5 1600; Asus Prime B350M-A, 2x8GB Corsair Vengance LPX DDR4 2400Mhz RAM, Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 6G, Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite 500W PSU, Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Sata SSD, WD Blue 1TB (steam library), WD Blue 4TB (Miscellaneous Storage), 2xCooler Master Air Balance RGB case fans, 1 NZXT Hue+ for case Lighting, all within a Cooler Master Masterbox 5 White Edition Chassis.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
10 hours ago, Jay Deah said:

the opther thing to bear in mind is that with this centralised server setup you introduce a single point of failure, all your data is on this one server and if it breaks, everything breaks.

 

for this reason make sure whatever you use had redundancy! and backups! hard drives fail... its not a case of if, its a case of when... make sure at the MINIMUM you go for a solution with redundant drives. make sure youre in a position so that when it breaks your biggest stress is getting the thing up and running as quickly as possible, as opposed to worrying about writing your CV when you realize the data is lost forever and the company's about to go bankrupt!

Well, I am using Acronis Software to backup the internal drive of the server onto an external drive. I have configured it to auto backup every 3 days on incremental basis. Thanks for the advice!


My Rig:

 

AMD R5 1600; Asus Prime B350M-A, 2x8GB Corsair Vengance LPX DDR4 2400Mhz RAM, Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 6G, Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite 500W PSU, Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Sata SSD, WD Blue 1TB (steam library), WD Blue 4TB (Miscellaneous Storage), 2xCooler Master Air Balance RGB case fans, 1 NZXT Hue+ for case Lighting, all within a Cooler Master Masterbox 5 White Edition Chassis.

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1 hour ago, Varun Kamath said:

I have no idea what a domain controller is. Could you please elaborate? Also, I do not wish to change the system which is acting as a server. I only wish to configure the network so that we don't face any issues while accessing data from the "server" to the client nodes.

A domain controller is a server that used for authentication and also setting up permissions. Usually you'll have users connecting to the server. As for the permissions, one user can have access to all the files on the file server and some can be restricted to a file. This helps a lot of you have users and also helps with unauthorised users trying to access other files.

 

You don't need to change anything. You can buy a server and set it up as a domain controller.


CPU: i5 4690 |CPU Cooler: CM Hyper 212 Evo | Motherboard: Z97-A | RAM: 4x4GB Kingston Memory 1600mhz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB Zotac Mini | Case: K280 Case | PSU: Cooler Master B600 Power supply | SSD: 120GB Kingston V300 SSD | HDDs: 1x 250GB & 1x 1TB WD Blue | Monitors: 24" Acer S240HLBID + 20" Dell  | OS: Win 10 Pro

 

Audio: Behringer 302USB Xenyx 5 Input Mixer | Neewer® NW-700 Microphone | Behringer PS400 Micropower Phantom Power Supply

 

Networking gear:  Dell OptiPlex 390 Domain Controller | Dell PowerEdge R210 II Exchange 2016 | TP-LINK TL-SG1024D 24-Port Gigabit | Cisco ASA 5505 VPN  | Cisco Catalyst 3750 Gigabit Switch

 

 

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11 hours ago, Varun Kamath said:

Thanks for the advice, will probably attempt the NAS solution. But I am not familiar with how to set up a NAS. Any guidelines/articles that I can refer?

Given your responses and how you’re unfamiliar with what a Domain Controller is - the NAS (Synology or QNAP) is realistically your only good option.

 

Setup is pretty straight forward. Follow the instructions, basically. 

 

I’d suggest a two-bay version, with 2x drives that are triple the capacity you currently need. Run those drives in a RAID1 mirror. 

 

So that means:

your data is currently 500GB

you should get 2x 2TB

 

this will give you 2TB of usable storage (because RAID1 mirror will put copies of all data on both drives). 

 

Now, the complicated bit is setting up LDAP - it’s still very easy, but you should find a guide online. I will look for one later, but you should try and find one yourself. The NAS will walk you through most of the steps. 

 

You'll want to configure user accounts on the NAS for staff, and then when you create the shared data folder or folders, you assign permissions to staff based on what they actually need to see and use. 

 

Lastly, take that external HDD you currently have and plug it into the NAS. You can now configure the NAS to run backups to that external drive. 

 

Note: everything here is simplified and doesn’t go over every step. You will have to

do your own research to make sure you understand - at least in a general way - what you’re doing. 

 

Feel free to post on here with what you plan on doing and we can help you refine choices and steps. 


For Sale - iPhone SE 32GB - Unlocked - Rose GoldSold

Spoiler

 

 

* Intel i7-4770K * ASRock Z97 Anniversary * 16GB RAM * 750w Seasonic Modular PSU *

* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

* Gigabyte HD 7950 WF3 * SATA Blu-Ray Writer * Logitech g710+ * Windows 10 Pro x64 *

 

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