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Document Transfer to Web Server, How?


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#1 AStaley

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 11:08

I currently run a small company network where one of the requirements is that we upload documents we create to a web server were they can be securely viewed by our clients.  The current system we use creates the documents and then when they are finalised they are published to the web server via FTP.  The program creates a WinSCP script and then uploads them to a given directory and updates a database table.  The system works but needs some manual intervention if a document is amended after transfer and just feels a little clunky.

 

Internal servers are currently Server 2008 R2, the web server is hosted externally and also runs Server 2008 R2 with IIS.  We could if we wanted run the web server inhouse from within our DMZ, but using a hosting company simplifies the DR scenarios for the web setup.

 

The web server needs to remain Microsoft Server, but what other methods are there for securely transferring documents to a web server that I could look in to?  The ideal method would be a way to sync specific internal folders with the web server, maybe in a similar fashion to DFSR (the web server isn't joined to the domain) if it's available?

 

Thanks.




#2 +Nik L

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 11:10

Sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but...

 

SharePoint?



#3 OP AStaley

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 11:24

SharePoint could be an option, but expensive with the licencing and CAL's.  Also I have no experience with SharePoint so could be quite a steep learning curve.  With SharePoint can you sync to a web based server that isn't part of the domain, how much fine control do you get over what is sync'd?

 

Just a thought with SharePoint, is it possible to have a Windows Phone 8 sync it's camera roll to a SharePoint instance? << Big Plus.



#4 +BudMan

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 13:24

what about just webdav over ssl and mount the folder so your just saving them to the folder, etc.



#5 #Michael

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 13:38

Budman will probably rip me a new one but would dropbox for business or box for enterprise work for you?  Both allow for syncing to servers on prem and for syncing to files locally on computers.  Both allow for AD and ACL.  Or how about a hybrid of your onprem setup and office 365.  You could use the O365 onedrive pro and sharepoint.  Both work as a great hybrid to your onprem.  Plus, the O365 sharepoint requires a lot less setup than an onprem option.



#6 OP AStaley

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 14:27

what about just webdav over ssl and mount the folder so your just saving them to the folder, etc.

 

I'm not sure that WebDAV would work in my scenario as I need to retain local copies, which are also replicated to a DR site.  I have around 150 users who access shared folder via DFS which is then replicated off site via DFSR.  *edit*  Okay, think I need to read up on WebDAV a little more.  Not something I've used, but a quick read would suggest it's something I could use with my current setup.

 

Budman will probably rip me a new one but would dropbox for business or box for enterprise work for you?  Both allow for syncing to servers on prem and for syncing to files locally on computers.  Both allow for AD and ACL.  Or how about a hybrid of your onprem setup and office 365.  You could use the O365 onedrive pro and sharepoint.  Both work as a great hybrid to your onprem.  Plus, the O365 sharepoint requires a lot less setup than an onprem option.

 

Rightly or wrongly Dropbox isn't something I would ever consider for syncing files between servers.  My preference has always been to do as much in house as possible, the web server is hosted off site as it saved me a DR headache and if something happens to it, it's safely off the main network.

 

The more I think about it, the more SharePoint seems the obvious answer.  And with the move from Blackberry's to Windows Phone I might be able to leverage SharePoint further.



#7 #Michael

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 14:52

I'm not sure that WebDAV would work in my scenario as I need to retain local copies, which are also replicated to a DR site.  I have around 150 users who access shared folder via DFS which is then replicated off site via DFSR.  *edit*  Okay, think I need to read up on WebDAV a little more.  Not something I've used, but a quick read would suggest it's something I could use.

 

 

Rightly or wrongly Dropbox isn't something I would ever consider for syncing files between servers.  My preference has always been to do as much in house as possible, the web server is hosted off site as it saved me a DR headache and if something happens to it, it's safely off the main network.

 

The more I think about it, the more SharePoint seems the obvious answer.  And with the move from Blackberry's to Windows Phone I might be able to leverage SharePoint further.

 

Dropbox/box definitely isn't for every scenario. Sharepoint is probably going to work for you based on your description.  I personally hate doing the initial design and setup of it.  Once that is done though it works fairly well.

 

Looks like MS is strongly pushing Sharepoint 2013 as a cloud based deployment: http://office.micros...323_XT103977432

 

They do still offer an on prem solution though.



#8 +BudMan

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 17:03

Not sure I would subject end users to a sharepoint interface for accessing files.. Its horrific in my opinion.  But not sure what the end users see now for access to these files on the webserver?

 

As to dropbox to sync - while sure it could be used to sync files between servers, it also stores the files on dropbox - which if the size is not an issue could also act as a DR of sorts with a 3rd copy of your files, or even as distribution point incase the other webserver goes down, etc.

 

But you could look to something as simple as rsync to keep your files in sync.  This has advantage of only having to sync bit level changes to files if updated.  You mention update of database when you update files so not clear on how your doing that?

 

There are plenty of ways to sync files between servers - sending via sftp while secure is a more hands on sort of method where you have to script and schedule a send, etc.. While if using something like rsync or even robocopy to copy files between origional location and then a webdav mapped connection it could be completly real time running and really nothing to do once setup - other than maybe this database update you mention.

 

Back to dropbox - there is nothing wrong with suggesting that as an option..  And could work sure - comes down to size and security concerns of storing files on dropbox location.  If the files themselves are encrypted then security should not be an issue.



#9 OP AStaley

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 08:47

Okay, slightly blinded by the thought of setting up SharePoint and the "it's cool" factor.  SharePoint whilst it would do the job I require is probably overkill for this particular task, having said that data access for our mobile devices would be useful so perhaps I good time for me to start looking into it.

 

Budman's original suggestion of WebDAV (+SSL) is probably the quickest and simplest solution for me to setup to get files from the internal systems to the website using RoboCopy.  It also means we can dispense with the need for our document publishing routine to create and trigger a script to move files with WinSCP.  Although all I've really achieved I suppose is to remove WinSCP from the equation as we will still need to code a string to copy files via WebDAV.

 

 

But you could look to something as simple as rsync to keep your files in sync.  This has advantage of only having to sync bit level changes to files if updated.  You mention update of database when you update files so not clear on how your doing that?

 

 

The clients don't have direct access to the documents through a URL, so when we upload a document we put it's location into a db.  Once the client logs in to the website a document view can be generated from the db, clicking on a document to view then checks they are authenticated and displays the required document.

 

My aversion to Dropbox in this instance is Data Protection.  Dropbox itself is fine and I happily use it for my own personal use.

 

Thanks for all the replies.