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Old 08-09-2008, 06:12 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
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Home server? Just another PC, depending.

Are you planning on requiring that everyone in the office access that data? If yes, I would leave the server at the office where the most connections reside.

Are you planning on having only your data on the server and accessing it from home and office? There is no difference between a server at the office and one at your home in this scenario.

If you set up a "server" at home just for home use, then all that is required is a peer-to-peer network. Fairly simple to implement and can be made secure. You can use Briefcase to store and transfer changes to documents between home and office.

If you set up a data server at home make sure it is being backed up.

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Old 08-09-2008, 06:18 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
What exactly does "I would like to have the same computer environment at home and in the office" mean? Do you simply need to access your home computer from your office computer? You could use a remote control product like LogMeIn Free (www.logmein.com) to remote control your home PC.

Please don't listen to another word on the subject of computers from whoever said "VPN is vulnerable and old technology, not worth pursuing". A VPN is typically used to connect a remote PC or remote network of PCs to a network at another location by creating a secure connection through the Internet between the two locations. Once the VPN link is established, its the functional equivalent of running a long Ethernet cable between the two locations except you're limited the the Internet connection speed on either end. In your case, you'd install a VPN server at home (lots of options there - could be a simple as a router with that functionality built in) and run a VPN client (Windows has one built in, but there's others) to create a VPN tunnel from the work PC back to the home network.
I agree. My wife works for the Treasury Department and connects to the office through a VPN. Believe me, this would not be allowed if was not secure. They have to be the most paranoid people on the planet.
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:25 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
Another thought I had last night: Using a laptop and taking it between home and office may be the best solution but you may be implementing it badly. Using a fairly small and light machine and keeping a docking station with power supply on each end can make the task easier. So everything stays plugged into the docking station on either end (printer, network, mouse, monitor) and you just take the laptop with you. Don't settle for one of those "universal USB docking ports". They're not the real deal. You need a laptop that has a proprietary docking connector on the bottom than can pass all the ports, video, and power through it.
Of all the options given this is the best.

The want of an identical system at both ends is met, at less expense.

If needed you can have a PC at home to store everything current, and I'm sure you have a server at the office for the same. All that is required is updating data when you move between locations.

The addition of a VPN finishes the setup. BTW, a server is not required at home to use a VPN.
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:16 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
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A quote from the Gotomypc web site:

"GoToMyPC uses built-in 128-bit AES encryption so that all your data — including screen images, file transfers, keyboard and mouse input and chat text — is fully encrypted from end-to-end.
The encryption key is unique for each connection and is based on the host computer Access Code and a random bit sequence.
The Access Code is not stored anywhere on your host PC and is never transmitted or stored on Citrix Online servers. For this reason, it is impossible, even with the most sophisticated devices, to intercept the data necessary to decode the encryption. This ensures that transmissions cannot be hacked or compromised in any way.
"
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,313 posts, read 59,641,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
Of all the options given this is the best.

The want of an identical system at both ends is met, at less expense.

If needed you can have a PC at home to store everything current, and I'm sure you have a server at the office for the same. All that is required is updating data when you move between locations.

The addition of a VPN finishes the setup. BTW, a server is not required at home to use a VPN.

Thanks, and I think I need to clarify:

As a real estate agent, I am self-employed and an independent contractor. All data of concern to me is entirely mine. It is not shared in the office.
While there is a server at the office, it is not MY server, and I do not use it other than to access common information files, some RE forms, and the office events calendar.
I do not keep transaction, or listing/marketing records there. They are either on my laptop or my home desktop. Or both. I have not used a lot of on line services, keeping stuff on my drives instead.

Obviously, I use the office router for internet access for a fee, but would also have the option of paying for a phone line for that purpose.
I do not know if cable access is available.

My mention of VPN is in regards to the possibility of recreating my home network on a home server. I would have to do that, since I do not use the office server, right?
I will be asking the Pro about the cost of doing so.

While price is certainly a consideration, I am open to considering a significant expense, and willing to invest in something that will give me what I want. Future growth may help justify the expense.

Again, thanks to all who are offering their thoughts!
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:54 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,341,277 times
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It sounds like the best thing is what you're doing now. Work off the laptop and take it with you. When in the office, you have local network access to the resources you need on the server. It sounds like the stuff on the office server is stuff that needs to be shared among everyone in the office, so it'll need to live on that server. I'd talk the the office's IT people about setting up a VPN server there. Then you could be anywhere with your laptop (as long as you have Internet), and when you need access to something on the server, you initiate a VPN link back to the office network and access the shared resources on the server. Since most of what you do is personal and local to your computer, it should stay with you on your computer. Setting up a home server and then connecting to it from the office seems counterproductive when it would just be easier to keep it on your laptop since you're the only one accessing it anyway. Look into the small/light laptop + docking station idea I mentioned earlier.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:39 AM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
It sounds like the best thing is what you're doing now. Work off the laptop and take it with you. When in the office, you have local network access to the resources you need on the server. It sounds like the stuff on the office server is stuff that needs to be shared among everyone in the office, so it'll need to live on that server. I'd talk the the office's IT people about setting up a VPN server there. Then you could be anywhere with your laptop (as long as you have Internet), and when you need access to something on the server, you initiate a VPN link back to the office network and access the shared resources on the server. Since most of what you do is personal and local to your computer, it should stay with you on your computer. Setting up a home server and then connecting to it from the office seems counterproductive when it would just be easier to keep it on your laptop since you're the only one accessing it anyway. Look into the small/light laptop + docking station idea I mentioned earlier.
I am still in agreement with this. It has come to the point that the only real difference (except perhaps for gaming) between laptops and desktops is size. Laptops are now very fast, have huge amounts of RAM, large hard drives, and 17" models have a separate number pad. You can use a docking station to add a full sized keyboard and a larger monitor if desired.

I will repeat my concerns about backing up data. I am not overly familiar with the RE business so I don't know how long the information you keep is pertinent, but ask yourself what would happen if your computer crashed, or you lost your laptop. How injurious would this be? How long would it take to recreate the data. Could you recreate the data?

If you are someone who will be consistent in your duties and backup to an external medium on a regular basis, then you could use CDs, DVDs, external hard drive, flash drive, etc. I will post a sample batch file you can run on a regular basis to back up to a flash drive or external hard drive if you would like. I have a client that uses this method every day and places the flash drive in one of his jewelry safes over night for protection.

If not, then you want an automated process that requires nothing from you except leaving the computer turned on.

If you need access to information on the office server or the ability to get to the Internet while showing homes you can add a card from your cell phone provider that will give you Internet access through their system. You can also set it up for your email account so if you need information sent via email you can get it virtually anywhere. I think the VPN would work through this as well.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:12 PM
 
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If all you need is accessing data, why not dump all the data to a small portable drive? Just make sure both PC's at work and at home have the same applications to access the data. If you don't like that idea, then look into Virtual PC and putting it in portable drive. Hooking up a VPN and getting a dedicated line are going to cost you money. Remember, you'll have to pay again to troubleshoot problems.
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,313 posts, read 59,641,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiedokie View Post
If all you need is accessing data, why not dump all the data to a small portable drive? Just make sure both PC's at work and at home have the same applications to access the data. If you don't like that idea, then look into Virtual PC and putting it in portable drive. Hooking up a VPN and getting a dedicated line are going to cost you money. Remember, you'll have to pay again to troubleshoot problems.
Just ordered a Seagate Go 160gig portable drive yesterday.
I decided I was overcomplicating, and plan to put a desktop in the cube, with same keyboard, mouse, and monitor as the home desktop.

I will put everything on the Seagate, set both desktops and laptop to boot from USB device, and when the Seagate is connected, will have a consistent boot environment.
Curious how MS Windows and Office will interpret if I have to update and/or verify.

Of course, will back up the Seagate, including OS with Acronis True Image routinely.

I'm headed for a server when I expand with hired help, but I don't expect to do that for 18 months or so. Time to plan is not a bad thing.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:51 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,341,277 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
Just ordered a Seagate Go 160gig portable drive yesterday.
I decided I was overcomplicating, and plan to put a desktop in the cube, with same keyboard, mouse, and monitor as the home desktop.

I will put everything on the Seagate, set both desktops and laptop to boot from USB device, and when the Seagate is connected, will have a consistent boot environment.
Curious how MS Windows and Office will interpret if I have to update and/or verify.

Of course, will back up the Seagate, including OS with Acronis True Image routinely.

I'm headed for a server when I expand with hired help, but I don't expect to do that for 18 months or so. Time to plan is not a bad thing.
Sounds good except for the part about booting from the USB drive. USB is WAY slower than IDE or SATA so I'm not sure how well Windows is going to run over a slow connection like that.
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