new office tech

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new office tech

Unread postby Fitzad » 17 Jan 13, 4:28 am

Hey guys,

So i got put in charge of setting up the tech at my companies office and I need some ideas/suggestions. So far there will be 3 of us permanently in the office with a receptionist and staff expanding to about 15 during projects. We are going to get 4 desktop computers, 3 which will be for basic office programs and 1 for office and design programs such as auto cad as well as a multi monitor setup for this 1. I need built ideas/suggestions.

We also need a way to back up/access documents from a central location, i'm thinking of using drop box but not really sure of the pro and cons of this.

I'm also looking for any programs or hardware that will generally make office life easier.

I work in the Middle East so will be purchasing most stuff here.

Thanks in advance :)
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Treloar » 17 Jan 13, 9:22 pm

I think you need a Server to network your 4 workstations to as the central source of keeping your files.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Nightstaar » 17 Jan 13, 9:50 pm

I feel like if you're asking that kind of stuff here you should be getting someone who knows what they're doing to actually do it.

/me shrugs
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby revengous » 18 Jan 13, 1:06 am

Watch out for terms and conditions with dropbox etc! you don't want to find that you've accidentally given a 3rd party access to your data/owns it etc....
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Fitzad » 18 Jan 13, 1:30 am

Nightstaar wrote:I feel like if you're asking that kind of stuff here you should be getting someone who knows what they're doing to actually do it.

/me shrugs


I know what i'm doing just more or less asking for other idea's/opinions

revengous - Good point didn't think of that, guess I could run a server from the office and use logmein or something like that to access data remotely
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Nekosan » 18 Jan 13, 7:47 am

I feel like that's something maybe you should hire a consultant to do if you have no idea, it will probably save money in the long run.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby sid » 26 Jan 13, 10:34 pm

Fitzad wrote:
I know what i'm doing just more or less asking for other idea's/opinions

revengous - Good point didn't think of that, guess I could run a server from the office and use logmein or something like that to access data remotely


Treloar suggested a server but thats overkill for a small place.

Spec up some desktops, i.e. Intel i5, Intel board, probably a 330 series Intel ssd, 120gb for each of the standard desktops 4gb ram will be plenty. The cad machine look on the nvidia site for what is recommended for cad design (I think it was the nvidia site that had the recommendations but a google search will provide that easily).

One pc could be fitted with a second hdd for file serving, then use basic windows sharing and just map network drives to each pc manually. You can setup a basic RPD to the pc acting as a "server" but it will allow only one RDP session. You can use a reg hack to change the port number for each pc used for the RPD session. So all the user would have to do is login from home/elsewhere remotely using Microsofts inbuilt RDP, your router can redirect the port to the ip of each pc. Log me in is ****.

You can use Office 2010 Home and business, unless you need access to Publisher and Access, then you'll need a Pro license.
You'll also need windows Pro, so you don't hit any limitations with networking. Its usually used for adding the pc to a domain, but I'm not sure if it will limit what you do with basic file sharing. You can create folders and limit access as well.

For backup, I'd bung in a 2tb HDD in the same pc thats doing the file sharing and get yourself a copy of Shadow Protect Desktop, make it backup the file sharing drive to the internal 2tb drive, then use Shadow Protect Image manager to mirror the backup files to an external drive (you should use 3) and take each one offsite for disaster recovery.

If you want to know more in detail send me a PM.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Treloar » 27 Jan 13, 5:51 am

It doesn't have to be a full on server with redundancy, but you can buy them cheap enough 2nd hand.

If your working for a company they most likely have servers already, so you may not need to buy the server software or the licences.

So it may just be a matter of hardware. Just buy a halfway decent PC, with raid and pop in a couple large HDD's.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Auld » 27 Jan 13, 6:51 am

I'd grab something like a DS1512+ from for the central fileserver/back-up. Any office files that are super critical to go up to the cloud as well (offsite location in case the building burns down), you could use Mega/Gdrive/MSCloud/Dropbox.

http://www.synology.com/products/produc ... B&lang=enu

I'd grab the workstations from someone who is going to give you onsite 3 year warranty. The machines will be important, can your business afford to be without them while you wait for parts to be RMA'd? Do you have time to do your job and troubleshoot hardware issues?
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby sid » 27 Jan 13, 7:00 pm

Treloar wrote:It doesn't have to be a full on server with redundancy, but you can buy them cheap enough 2nd hand.


A second hand server? That's probably been on 24/7 for 3-5 years, it's got the shelf life of Milk.

He's running a business, it's tax deductible. It'll make sense to his boss that they'd rather spend the little but extra and get something that's going to last 3-5 years than cause a problem by dying in the next 6 months.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Treloar » 27 Jan 13, 9:11 pm

So you think he should perhaps go for something in the line of a Dell PowerEdge T110 II Server for $699 and throw perhaps a Hitachi Deskstar 4TB 7200RPM 0S03358 for $339 into it :?:

How much storage does he need, is 4TB enough :?:
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby sid » 28 Jan 13, 1:53 pm

Treloar wrote:So you think he should perhaps go for something in the line of a Dell PowerEdge T110 II Server for $699 and throw perhaps a Hitachi Deskstar 4TB 7200RPM 0S03358 for $339 into it :?:

How much storage does he need, is 4TB enough :?:


You're missing the point, he doesn't need a server. It's overkill, basic windows file sharing will do the job fine. Having a server means he'd have to spend money on unnecessary licensing and hardware. It's not needed for a small business with 4-5 workstations unless they have a particular need for MS Exchange or large file hosting. Do you honestly think 4TB of storage is going to be "not enough" for 4-5 people? Even with Cad Drawings? They'd be lucky to fill 1TB in a few years.

Not to mention, there's a reason Techs call those drives a "Hitachi Deathstar". A server would also require a backup battery source in the event of a power outage. More $$$.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Mekon » 28 Jan 13, 2:44 pm

sid wrote:Treloar suggested a server but thats overkill for a small place.

One pc could be fitted with a second hdd for file serving, then use basic windows sharing and just map network drives to each pc manually. You can setup a basic RPD to the pc acting as a "server" but it will allow only one RDP session. You can use a reg hack to change the port number for each pc used for the RPD session. So all the user would have to do is login from home/elsewhere remotely using Microsofts inbuilt RDP, your router can redirect the port to the ip of each pc.

Looking at the following criteria, I'm not sure I agree.

Fitzad wrote:So far there will be 3 of us permanently in the office with a receptionist and staff expanding to about 15 during projects.

What happens when the dummy "file server" needs rebooting because the user does an update/has system stability issues, etc? Or that user is away from the office and has turned their PC off. Or they are running an intensive job on their PC which strangles the file sharing bandwidth. A number of our clients have fly by night setups like this and are always having logistical issues - don't do it.

Quite honestly, using one of the PCs as a defacto file server is penny-pinching of the highest order... buy another desktop (should cost at most $500 in Aussie prices, possibly less in the Middle East) and set it up as a file server (or just use a decent RAIDed gigabit NAS). If the budget doesn't extend that far, you have more serious issues.

It doesn't have to be running one of the Windows Server releases, unless they intend to run an Exchange Server in-house, or want a Network Domain up and running... but having a dedicated file server is the bare minimum I'd expect from a "professional" office environment (as opposed to a cobbled together with sticky tape and string environment).

edit: Unless I misunderstood and that's exactly what you meant... in which case, agreed. :P

sid wrote:A server would also require a backup battery source in the event of a power outage. More $$$.

Every PC doing important work (which in a small office is pretty much every single one) should have a UPS. The alternative is loss of work, PC rebuilds, etc. Especially if you're running SSDs. Even more especially if the power supply is not altogether clean/reliable (depends on location).
Last edited by Mekon on 28 Jan 13, 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby sid » 28 Jan 13, 3:22 pm

A nas is a possibility Mekon, I'm more pointing out Treloars advice on getting a server was overkill.

I've only gone with what I was given, it sounds like they are more like a branch office than anything. I wasn't given any details on use of email, they could be using Outlook over HTTP, or Outlook when connected to a VPN. Also an office wouldn't keep an extra 10 pc's around doing nothing for people who are there part time so I assume they'd use their own laptops in an office on some sort of consulting basis.

You can turn Windows updates off on the pc, it's not a huge issue and can be updated at any time. I also said another HDD internally for file storage so it wouldn't be taxing on the OS drive.

I don't think I've ever seen an office that has a battery backup on every pc, out of the hundreds of clients I've been to, ever.
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Re: new office tech

Unread postby Mekon » 28 Jan 13, 3:55 pm

sid wrote:I don't think I've ever seen an office that has a battery backup on every pc, out of the hundreds of clients I've been to, ever.

My work has always been in software development, so parameters may vary, but every office I've worked in since the late 90s has desktop UPSes (or failover generators). Admittedly most of my current clients (retailers) don't... and we have to deal with the fallout (corrupt databases, etc) when their power inevitably goes down - I wish they did all have UPS. :)

sid wrote:Also an office wouldn't keep an extra 10 pc's around doing nothing for people who are there part time so I assume they'd use their own laptops in an office on some sort of consulting basis.

I was more extrapolating that 10 extra users will start taxing the file server, depending on their usage/requirements. Added to which, you're probably going to want to start thinking about network administration/permissions with that many extra users - especially if they are contractors. A domain is certainly overkill for a 4-5 person office... but less so for a 15 person office with varying levels of trust.
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