Networking for merger over 2 sites

Long story cut short… It has been decided to merge 2 companies within our group of companies together.

1 Being where I work the other 100 miles away and it Looks like our site is going to take much of the I.T / Financial aspects.

This unfortuantly enforces a look at our IT infrastructure which was creaking with old age anyway and due an upgrade.

We had a quote in the region on £50K last year for 2 new servers and updated software aka Exchange/ Win server licences blah blah which I disagree with considering our servers are only running at 10-20% server load just let down on disk systems / 2gb ram per server & 100mb switches connected to the server at 100mb <networking fail>.

Hardware I know - Networking I know very little *But that is still more than average Joe and I am learning more everyday.

I sort of understand that we will need essentially a VPN into our business from the other but the the side of Exchange server and potentially the logging in aspects have me scratching my head.

Part of our system is hosted in Ireland and there is a form VPN between us and Ireland which we would not be wanting to piggy back on

So there would be a separate VPN into us - but then its how both site’s talk to each other ?

Would site B have to use our radius server to handle logging on to the network ? if so I think solves the exchange mail issue but then bandwidth issues surface.

Could site A & B keep separate radius servers but both authenticate with our exchange server ?

… going to be a slow process and we will not be jumping in feet 1st but for my knowledge I would like to get a grasp on the options sooner rather than later as I feel I am going to end up getting very involved with all the changes as said my networking know how is limited but I am the most knowledgeable about the system in use in our business.

We have an external IT support - but they like to keep things to themselves and are not as clued up as they try to make out so over the past year I have made an effort to learn as mush as possible about our system which has revealed a few things nobody knew about and I have adding this to my own little black book.

So really any networking bods with useful info on how best we could do things… that info would be much appreciated as we want to get it right and be future proofed as much as possible ideally without our external IT taking us for mugs.


I can put you in touch with a firm who is very competent at this kind of thing, using a combination of the UAG and TMG clustering systems, this is all a doddle and neither site would know it was “main”.

The key counters are not server load, it’s concurrent users and number of mailboxes that affect the cost of buying an exchange box. There’s a threshold where it is more cost efficient to host rather than use something like the Google apps+google appliance that synchs with the (hate to use the term) cloud.

Sounds like a prime candidate for TMG though really - I had a pair of system in the same room simulating it and it was surprisingly simple to configure and also customise even when messing with the forests of domains that were all hosted elsewhere as I had no more spare machine to use internal domain controllers. Combine it with a UAG appliance and all the old legacy stuff is controllable through the access policies as well.

What sort of numbers in terms of concurrent users on each site, any existing systems would need to be fully documented and the real nightmare is mapping out the current network setup for that one person who put files on drive X when that machine gets turned off :slight_smile:


I am uncertain of the number at the other place but we are not big

Essentially you could say 108 devices on the network of which 42 are PC’s for users and all other devices are (Printers/Barcode scanners/Switches/ip camera’s/Door access systems)

I would hather a guess at half that number at the othe place of PC’s but that may increase as the sales/marketing side may get booted upto our other place so the numbers could increase there and decrease slightly here.

Main thing of my annoyance is we have roaming profiles (Capped at 30MB profile space except myself as I plonked myself outside of the policy control ) I don’t like the sound of roaming profile data blitzing any VPN with data when everyone get in in the morning which is why I would like 2 separate systems but somehow linked to minimise network traffic I think Exchange would be the biggest data movement.

Exchange Server needs a tidy up anyway lol, we have 128 mailboxes (roughly 35Gb data) on our server a good half of them don’t even work here anymore but there is a management culture of keeping incase they need to be refered to.

Data is on another server with shared drives so unless somebody is daft enough to save locally it always available (Unless we get a powercut) that’s infreqent and usually couple of seconds at worst. (But I can force ‘My Documents’ to only exist as a server map drive).