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  1. #1
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    Network hookup questions

    Hi All;
    With the help of manyknowledgeable folks on this forum, I got a PowerEdge 2950 configured and running with a 3-drive RAID 5 system using 1 TB SATA drives. Now working fine.
    Then came installing Server 2008 STD, and that seems to be working just fine.
    So now I am at the threshold of hooking the whole mess up and seeing if I can make a modest little home network out of it.
    Here is what I am thinking it should look like:

    Network V1.0.jpg

    So does this look about right? If not what do I need to change?
    My reasons for wanting to do this is that I am sick of chasing updated files around from computer to computer on a USB drive, and I am not crazy about how Homegroup sharing works.
    I figured if all files could be stored on the server then they could be accessed from anywhere and keep the most current versions on the server.

    Looking down the road it would be nice to access files on the server when we are out of town, by waking up the server remotely and downloading whatever is needed.
    When we are home it will run 24/7 pretty much.
    Anything special needed to do this?
    It would also be nice to manage the server from any connected PC; so do I need Dell's Remote Access Configuration utility (already stored in the bios) to do this? Or what?

    Thanks for any help and ideas,
    rstew

    PS: Sorry the sketch is so small. I don't know how to make it bigger. I scanned it from a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.
    I found if you click on it, it will come up in readable size however.
    Last edited by rstew; 2015-11-16 at 18:04.

  2. #2
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    The physical layout is standard, no issues there.

    Accessing the server files requires you set up a user on the server which you connect with from the other PCs, and a share for the data, to which the user has full access.

    DRAC is clunky and cumbersome, but good if you need access to the console. RDP is all you need to manage the server - it's how you use Windows Server. No licensing required, you just need to turn Remote Admin on on the server.

    If you want external access to your files you should set up a VPN to the server and use RDP to work on your files. As always, be very careful about external access and use strong passwords and maybe certificates for the VPN.
    You will probably find the router has VPN endpoints so I'd use them rather than allowing the server to listen on the internet.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Thanks Paul; that helps a lot.
    Because all this server stuff is quite new to me, you lost me on a couple of points.
    To set up a user in the server, is that the name of the network PC that you want to enable access on?
    What is RDP exactly, and where do I find it?
    Can you explain a VPN endpoint a little please, and advise how they should be used?
    Also I notice in the server manager screen, there is a place where you can set up "roles"
    Can you advise what these are for, and do I need them?

    Thanks so much,
    rstew

  4. #4
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    What is RDP exactly, and where do I find it?
    RDP stands for Remote Desktop Protocol and is Microsoft's version of an interactive remote control system. It is also known as RDC or Remote Desktop Connection.

    You can find it under Start | All Programs | Accessories | Remote Desktop Connection.

    There are a number of these types of systems in circulation. Citrix has one and the open source world has a couple as well. RDC is notably efficient over a network and has bested all it's competitors in the reviews I've seen. This is not a small feat; you want to achieve very good interactive performance over a potentially long-distance network connection of varying quality. So the upshot is that RDC is a good choice in a Windows world.

    Early versions of RDC did not encrypt the datastream but I believe this has been corrected starting with Windows 7 or Vista.

  5. #5
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    Users are people, not machines. Create a user called ShareData with a decent password and grant that user full access to the folder you want to share - right click > Properties > Security.

    A VPN is an encrypted connection (tunnel) to a remote device. The remote device needs to be a VPN endpoint, your PC is a VPN client. You can set up a VPN to only accept connection requests from devices by MAC, certificate, IP etc.
    What router do you have, we can see if it has VPN endpoints?

    Roles are just things the server is allowed to do - they are not installed by default to make the server more secure. You need File and Printer Sharing.

    cheers, Paul

  6. #6
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    BHarder and Paul T; thanks for all the good advice so far!
    I wouldn't stand a chance of getting this going without all this help.

    The router is a Cisco DPC3825; supplied by the local cable internet provider.
    It has 4 wired lan ports and its also wifi. Seems to work quite well actually.

    rstew

  7. #7
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    That router has basic VPN functions so you can create a VPN endpoint on the server and the modem will pass the traffic. Note: If you use Windows as the VPN server / endpoint you have to use PPTP and it's not very secure. An alternative would be to install OpenVPN on the server, but it's more complex.
    Windows VPN: http://www.howtogeek.com/135996/how-...-any-software/
    OpenVPN: https://community.openvpn.net/openvp..._Windows_Guide

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
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    I have exactly the same server - if its a Series III it will take Vmware esx5.5 which is what i have and as many operating systems as you need and Vmware is free. Makes it much better from a penetration testing or learning platform - you can set an entire virtual network up on it. No need for any other pc's and added advantage of saving electricity. It burns 140 watts on its own at idle.

    The 2950 doesnt run DRAC that requires a card it uses the older command line BMC which is horrible so waking it up will be a pain but not impossible.
    Get a DRAC card it will make life easier.

    If its at home best stick it in another room as the noise from the dual power supplies is like a jet engine in the next room and if its on 24/7 well.....

    You would be much better setting up vmware - that way you can run linux as your vpn server , you can play around with iscsi using openfiler and many other possibilities - why limit yourself to one OS unless you are using Hyperv server which wont run on a VM.

    If your server is win2k8 then just setup the server with "Direct Access" role - it makes life so much easier than the old rdp and vpn.
    Last edited by omendata; 2015-11-26 at 14:19.

  9. #9
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    omendata,
    It is a series III unit and I am running WinServer 2008 std, since it came with a product key for that. All I had to do was reload the os and it seems to work fine.
    Know what you mean about the noise level. Even at idle those 4 high speed fans just shriek. I currently have it set up in the basement so it's mostly out of the way from daily activities.
    Setting it up for direct access as you suggest sounds like the way to go.
    My problem is I just don't know how to move forward to get this working.
    i have been reading a bunch of stuff off the internet, but I can't seem to connect the dots.
    There is tons of information out there but no clear path that I can see.
    Just have to keep plugging away at I guess!

    Cheers,
    rstew

  10. #10
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    Using TeamViewer may be easiest if you just want to connect to the server, but you need good security / passwords. Public facing devices are guaranteed to be a target for hackers.

    cheers, Paul

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