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Learning Network Manager Thread, Help - Remote sites, WAN and storage in Technical; Hi all Didn't quite know what to call the thread.. We look after a special school with pupils from infants ...
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    Help - Remote sites, WAN and storage

    Hi all

    Didn't quite know what to call the thread..

    We look after a special school with pupils from infants right up to secondary. We have a main site where the majority of children are, the main server (DC, files, print etc) is.
    We have an offsite classroom in another school and are soon adding a third classroom in a third school site!

    We want to keep all internet traffic coming back to the main, central site - which means we can keep a central filtering policy etc.

    We can configure the servers to host shares, home areas, users etc for their own sites, but there are a couple of shares held centrally on the main site that is used a lot that needs to be accessed on all sites.
    I'm looking for a technology/best practise to set this up so the access to central is nice and quick and available. I don't want to be hammering the WAN bandwidth too much.

    I've been looking into Branchcache, which seems pretty good. The drawback is that if the internet access disappears, then so does access to the shares. Is there a way to reliably replicate and keep access when internet is lost?
    DFS maybe?
    Any other ideas?
    This isn't something I've really explored previously.

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    jamesreedersmith's Avatar
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    DFS-R is your friend here and possibly a RODC at the remote site to enable logins in the event of a network failure.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Also speak to your local cable company to see if you can rent a dark fibre circuit from the offsite location back to your main centre. If this is not possible ask if they can do a lan extension across the internet connection instead.

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    DFS is indeed the answer to some of this, and then its all a matter of cash! If the disjointed classrooms already have internet access then getting into leased lines is a cost that you probably would not want the burden of or indeed if you are sharing/ do not own the building its not so easy to get all the t's crossed and i's dotted for this type of installation and then you still have to convince the telco. Simplest thing that springs to mind is VPN back to your main site DFS setup in such a way that it only replicates in the wee small hours of the morning and the like, cost is less and hassle is less.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    We had 6 different sites around East Yorkshire using fibre tails from a local ISP, we replicated each site... difference being we used Novell for server side and proxying rather than Windows. It's going to be vastly different on how its setup, the basic jist of it all was though we had a SAN and servers at each site which basically replicated our main cluster site, but a lot smaller, we had small learning centres on our network and other parts of the college located in different places.

    First thing to do is ask your ISP see if it is something they can deliver... Our network was fully switched which is what the ISP also did, every site was switched.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    You are not looking for dfs, you want branchcache along with rodc both specifically designed for this scenario.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPlum78 View Post
    If the disjointed classrooms already have internet access then getting into leased lines is a cost that you probably would not want the burden of or indeed if you are sharing/ do not own the building its not so easy to get all the t's crossed and i's dotted for this type of installation and then you still have to convince the telco. Simplest thing that springs to mind is VPN back to your main site DFS setup in such a way that it only replicates in the wee small hours of the morning and the like, cost is less and hassle is less.
    I would still ask about these things. Lan extension is a vlan on the wan connection. Independent cable operators and virgin offer this as a service.

    We have a very helpful and affordable cable company serving us called Gigler, who are part of City Fibre and will rent us a dark fibre from our primary to our main site for 10's of pounds a month - we haven't utilised the offer yet, but we might have to as the council are building houses in the way of our wireless link!

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    Thanks for your reply.
    My only issue with branchcache is that it refers back to the main host server on every file load to check the file hash. If the internet connection is down, then the shares/files are also down.

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