I'm setting up a network for a local club. Need Help Please


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Hello folks. I haven't been a good member here but I'm hoping you folks will be kind enough to help me

I have taken on the task of setting up a business network for a club where I am a member. The old network is server 2008 with 4 client computers all on windows 7 professional. They use ACT! software for a member database. There are about 4,000 members. They also use Microsoft Office 2014 and QuickBooks with Point of Sale. They want everything updated including new hardware. There are no installation disks or records of Activation codes of any kind and their internet speed is very slow. I have purchased the ACT! software but that's all I've done so far. my extent of training was about 10 years ago with Server 2003 with Active Directory and some formal training in Networking. I'm certified in Comp TIA A+ from 2008, Networking 2009 and Security Plus in 2009. Since then all I've done is computer repair and updating including home Ad Hoc networks. I,ve not done anything with a server since school. The club has its own email address done possible through Outlook but I'm not sure. They also have a website that is hosted off-site. Their internet speed is extremely slow due to a remote location so I want to try to avoid anything cloud-based.
If anybody wants to give me some ideas I would be very Appreciative. I was thinking the server could be Enterprise Win 10 instead of server software but I don't really know. I'm not charging labor for this and I need all the help I can get. Sorry for such a long post. Thank you.
 
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Trouble

Noob Whisperer
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Just some thoughts.
First of all you have a very small 5 node network consisting of a server and 4 clients. I think your idea of changing that over to a workgroup environment and eliminating the "server" is both practical and well reasoned....
However, I believe that the "Enterprise" version of Windows 10 involves a Volume Licensing requirement that you'll need to research and see if that is something that will fit your scheme.

Windows 10 Pro would be perfectly suitable except for your issue with "slow internet" and its' seemingly endless update requirements.
I suppose you could manage that to some extent, depending on how much you want to be hands-on, by deferring updates on that physical machine, securing the latest update via the Microsoft Update catalog and then traveling to the site and installing that update manually.
That wouldn't be a generally appealing workaround, but... I have no idea what your particular situation or relationship is with that club.

Whatever you decide to do going forward, my strong recommendation is....
To whatever extent possible, set up a test environment using just two computers one acting as "the server" and the second as a "client".
Personally, I'd clone the existing installs for those two computers onto two new hard disks and remove the existing disks for safe keeping.
Then upgrade those to Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise (free 90 eval)
AND THEN
As needed install, upgrade or otherwise adjust the third party software programs as required to simulate the environment you envision as your potential solution.

I know nothing about ACT so you need to determine if their version requires an actual "server" to run.
I know Quickbooks can be a stickler about running the latest version but I also know that it works perfectly fine in a Workgroup with one system acting as a server (depending on licensing).
 
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I know Quickbooks can be a stickler about running the latest version
Our church is running QB 2019 with Payroll upgraded from 2013. A couple of professional CPAs I've talked with recommended getting every 3rd version for upgrading.
 
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Just some thoughts.
First of all you have a very small 5 node network consisting of a server and 4 clients. I think your idea of changing that over to a workgroup environment and eliminating the "server" is both practical and well reasoned....
However, I believe that the "Enterprise" version of Windows 10 involves a Volume Licensing requirement that you'll need to research and see if that is something that will fit your scheme.

Windows 10 Pro would be perfectly suitable except for your issue with "slow internet" and its' seemingly endless update requirements.
I suppose you could manage that to some extent, depending on how much you want to be hands-on, by deferring updates on that physical machine, securing the latest update via the Microsoft Update catalog and then traveling to the site and installing that update manually.
That wouldn't be a generally appealing workaround, but... I have no idea what your particular situation or relationship is with that club.

Whatever you decide to do going forward, my strong recommendation is....
To whatever extent possible, set up a test environment using just two computers one acting as "the server" and the second as a "client".
Personally, I'd clone the existing installs for those two computers onto two new hard disks and remove the existing disks for safe keeping.
Then upgrade those to Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise (free 90 eval)
AND THEN
As needed install, upgrade or otherwise adjust the third party software programs as required to simulate the environment you envision as your potential solution.

I know nothing about ACT so you need to determine if their version requires an actual "server" to run.
I know Quickbooks can be a stickler about running the latest version but I also know that it works perfectly fine in a Workgroup with one system acting as a server (depending on licensing).
This is affirming my thoughts on this environment. The club is in good financial standing and they are asking me to do this job in the best way. I have permission to purchase anything needed to make this a good and reliable system. Within two or three years they will have fiber optic internet service and I will need to consider that when building this system. Putting up with slow internet (6mbps) is a pain for now. I'll be requesting install disks whenever possible. The ACT! Software is basically a database to keep up with members and separate them into groups according to interests, therefore enabling them to create email directed to those groups. Thank you for the informative reply. I would love to receive more suggestions from anyone here. Thank you.
 
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Our church is running QB 2019 with Payroll upgraded from 2013. A couple of professional CPAs I've talked with recommended getting every 3rd version for upgrading.
Good advice. I will contact quickbooks about the upgrade. Thank you.
 

Trouble

Noob Whisperer
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Putting up with slow internet (6mbps) is a pain for now
Flashback to 1998 when I was running an enterprise network across 3 states on a fractional T1 (384Kbs), I would have killed for a full 1 meg T1.
 
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Let me comment further on your internet connection, If high bandwidth internet is not available through cable or ATT, have you looked into Satalite Huges Net is advertising 25mbps I would guess that more bandwidth would be available for Bussines account. Even 25mbps is pretty quick for only 4 Clients?
I agree you'll probably need to update Quickbooks you'll also need all the account information

I also agree you don't really need a server-client setup. A standard Windows WorkGroup should work fine does for me with my small network of 5 windows 10 Pro machines and 1 8.1 Pro

I also would upgrade to a current high-end Router I'm running a Cisco RV325 it has two WAN Ports and one of them can run DMZ mode. Good Security for now and ready to go once 5G gets implemented you'll just have to plug it in.
It's hard to find a good router nowadays everyone just wants to sell you Wi-Fi Routers that don't handle actual LAN Hardwired stuff very well. I only use Wi-Fi for entrance points not for routing my basic set up is all hardwired. I use Wi-fi for customers and cell phones etc.

I don't know anything about ACT sounds like you have that under control? I run some Proprietary software for my Firearms business the company keeps up with the latest going on with windows 10 pretty well. When we have and issues they came up with a workaround for us in less than 12 hours
Trouble has given great information on how to proceed with the actual upgrades keeping your current system up and running side by side as much as possible until your absolutely sure your new system is ready for prime time is always a good idea. Test Test and Test
 
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Thank you for your input. The current system is very much over complicated IMO. The array of server, switches looks like it could accommodate a hospital. I believe lots of money can be saved.
 

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