Small office network questions

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Alexjungle, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. Alexjungle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    #1
    Looking for some solutions for a small office network:

    3 MBP's
    Laser Multi-Function (ability to access from all 3 computers)
    File Sharing ability in house and offsite (while traveling)

    What is the best way - go for a mini or iMac as a Leopard Server or ??
    Will the Airport Extreme basestation is good enough to handle in the internet?

    Web hosting/domain and email will be offsite with webhost.

    Thanks!
     
  2. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #2
    Your requirements are fairly simple, except for one.

    The printer could be handled by a small dedicated print server--these can be had for well under $100. You can create a very decent NAS to handle the internal file-sharing from an old PC and any one of several free (or nearly-free) Linux-based distros (e.g., FreeNAS or NASlite). The AEBS will provide a firewall and wireless router, though frankly for a business I might consider a more robust firewall--I recall there used to be some issues with how the AEBS was configured out of the box.

    The more difficult requirement is remote access to files. This you'll want to implement in a secure way--unless you really know what you're doing, you'll want to get a turnkey solution and not screw around trying to set things up yourself. One thing that would work great in a pure Mac OS environment would be to set up a Mac Mini as a file server/ print server, and then use the "back to my Mac" feature in Leopard (in conjunction with .Mac) when offsite. Another option would be to store your data (perhaps by mirroring) to a remote service such as iDisk.

    Just some thoughts. Have fun!
     
  3. Alexjungle thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    #3
    Thanks for the ideas. Is there such thing as an external file host where users can VPN (or something similar) into to avoid using a dedicated office server? They can share files, emails, etc (kind of like a hosted exchange server)

    Also I plan on using multi-function with ethernet, will this allow me to plug it into the AEBS (not the USB) and have it shared wirelessly with all the computers?
     
  4. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #4
    Yes, you can go the external file route (again, dotMAC does all you want, but there are most certainly more cost-effective solutions). You'd need to evaluate your requirements in detail--how much data do you need to store? Bear in mind though, that for everyday use inside your office, this approach would probably not be very satisfactory because you'd be limited to internet speeds when accessing or saving your files. That's why I thought using an internal server and then mirroring your files to an external host would kill two birds with one stone: you'd have a secure, offsite backup and you'd have the capability to do remote file access without the need to open your internal server to the outside world.

    If you're open to a higher-end approach (I don't know what your budget is), an entry-level server from the likes of Dell with Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 could be had for $1000-1500. MSBS comes with Exchange Server and SQL Server, and it is designed for small businesses with limited or no IT staff...configuration is handled via wizards, and it allows you to set up a web server, remote file and application access, web-based email access, etc. with a fair amount of ease. This approach would make somewhat less sense in a Mac-centric network, but may be worth looking at if you want a lot of "back-end" horsepower.

    Regarding the MF printer, yes it will be sharable from the AEBS. I assume that since you say you plan to use ethernet, the printer comes with a built-in print server and an ethernet port. That is good news, because it means the printer is designed for network usage.

    Again, good luck!
     

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