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Windows Thread, Advice for small business setup in Technical; Hi all, A local business is looking to improve their IT system and I've been asked to help. They only ...
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    Gerry's Avatar
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    Advice for small business setup

    Hi all,

    A local business is looking to improve their IT system and I've been asked to help. They only have 3 XP PC's and a till system that all use shared folders located on 1 of the 3 XP machines. Obviously not very secure and they don't have any kind of IT policies in place. I'm going to advise they use a Windows Server of some sort, at the moment I'm leaning towards SBS, but I don't have any experience setting one up. I've just completed a week's course on using MS System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and that's about the extent of my knowledge with MS servers.

    I need some advice and a place to start research such as recommended books/sites.

    Thanks.

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    john's Avatar
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    I'll agree on the SBS line, its very simple to setup, just a giant load of wizards, complete them and its done and you have a simple network all setup and working. Obviously you can use GPOs etc on them and you need XP Pro clients to fully join the system.

    Microsoft do a SBS 2003 book which is very useful

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    Gerry's Avatar
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    Thanks john.

    How about SBS licensing? I've seen mention of a BIOS lock?

    Most if not all their PC's are a few years old and they were probably pre-installed with XP and have OEM licences. Eventually they'll need to upgrade their hardware, then Vista could be a possibility or the next OS, but not for a few years probably. What are my options here?

    Thanks.

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    john's Avatar
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    You can get cheap servers from HP for example which a cheap OEM copy of SBS 2003 for them which are BIOS locked to the HP Server resulting in a very cheap package. I did one recently for a good friend of mine, got them one of the £130 HP Proliants that keeps appearing and a copy of SBS 2003 Standard which comes with 5 CALs for the clients. You can buy non BIOS locked OEM copies of SBS but TBH its not worth it as its cheaper to get these cheap HP Servers. From the little info you have provided here already, i'd say you want something like this:

    HP ProLiant ML115 G5 470064-786 - Servers by Servers Direct
    to that I'd add:
    1 Gb of Ram - HP 450259-B21 - Servers by Servers Direct
    a matched hard drive (set the hard drives up to run in a mirrored setup) - HP 411275-B21 - Servers by Servers Direct
    and a copy of SBS 2003 Standard HP Locked - HP Microsoft Windows Small Business 432587-B21 - Servers by Servers Direct

    That will give you a pritty good box for the size of place you have mentioned and give them full Exchange email as well as the usual domained network benifits such as cetralised storage, remote access, option to use IIS / Sharepoint etc. If they may want a full SQL database in the future you could add another HDD or more to it and upgrade to the Premium Edition of SBS as that includes a full copy of SQL 2005.

    You said the PCs have OEM Windows, so long as its XP Pro you will be cooking with gas, if its XP Home you will need to get some XP Pro upgrade licences (or tbh Vista Business Upgrades as they are the same cost and use downgrade rights), fine you can use a server with XP Home but you want an easy life so domained PCs are a lot simpler and easier to work with.

  5. Thanks to john from:

    Gerry (6th July 2008)

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    maniac's Avatar
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    I would throughly recommend speaking to Dell or HP, both will sell you a complete Small Business server with everything pre-installed ready to go, and also offer a good support package that the business can call on in the future where necessary for even the smallest problems.

    That's what I've done for 2 local businesses who have approched me in the past. True it won't be the cheapest way of doing it, but if like myself you are doing this as an extra to your main job, the last thing you really want to do is have to provide support for the system, as that's what could end up happeneing if you piece it all together and set it up for them. I've learnt that one from past experience, it's not a good feeling when the manager of a local business rings you up at 8:00 am becuase their system's not working, but of course you're at your main job during the day so you can't really help until the end of the day, by which time they've lost an entire business day so they're not too happy. I always buy a complete package from Dell for people now, I do the initial setup at home, set it up for them in their business at a weekend so it's all working and is all documented, then hand it over to them and let them use Dell for any further support they might need in the future, this works well in my experience. Might sound petty, but that person who's currently your best friend because you might be helping them out, can turn into your worst nightmare if things go wrong with a system you've setup for them. Never under-estimate the importance of buying them a good support package as part of the deal!

    Mike.

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