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Windows Server 2012 R2 + Windows 7 + Other Non-Windows OS's. Setup a Direct Access/Branch cache senario RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I'm going to try to be very thorough and specific here:

    I will be moving to University(to do a Computer Networking Degree) in September and want to get my networking sorted out, I have a server where I host a few websites, store my files and run other virtual machines.

    I need to be able to access the server remotely, this I can do with RDC.

    however as I move away, I will need to keep my files synced between them, and also ensure I can still reinstall, and use my server. the problem complicated further, my University accommodation does not allow me to run a server, i am not really allowed multiple computers, but a desktop and a laptop are required. my parents both have desktop computers (Not joined to the Active Directory Domain) with files on my server, these will be staying at home.

    I regularly reinstall my computer, (every couple of months) as it slows down, and i install programs which I later decide I on't need, I usually PXE boot it to a pre-made custom image and it is as good as new, however I have purchased a Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Key, so plan to be using Windows 8.1 Pro (With media centre) on my desktop pc, I will create a new Windows 8 Image and put it on to my memory stick which I already have for devices that can not PXE boot (has a WINPE image of windows 7, so I will just add the Windows 8 WIM image to this.

    I plan to use VPN (for my iPhone and MacBook) and Direct Access for my desktop PC, I will then use BranchCache to keep my files in Sync between my laptop and pc.

    my Home network only has a single internet connection, and the IP address changes, usually only when there are power cuts, I have a Domain which updates a couple of hours after my IP changes, and my Server is the DNS server, so this shouldn't be an issue? (I say this because I have seen that Direct access resolves domains and uses the IP when i tried to set up Direct access before, something that I have never had very much look with, or maybe i have, i have never tested so can't be certain)

    Below is a Image of my current network, and the parts that will be added, shown in red. 

    The problem is that there will only be limited testing, the only external network I have access to is using my phone's 3g or going round a friends and once I'm at University I won't be able to physically access my home, so I will only be able to use RDC. (the most my parents can do is turn the server on/off and restart the router)

    As I said I have looked at Direct access before, I certainly managed to get VPN working, but this was on Windows server 2008r2 and I can't do it on Windows server 2012r2 I have watched multiple videos and followed endless guides, but none seem to fit my criteria, can any one give me a through walk through of how to setup and test Direct access and a VPN, and if possible BranchCache too.

    I understand that this is a big question, and possibly to wide, but it can be an interesting challenge? thanks, and I'm sorry if I gave too much detail.


    Michael Booth

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:17 PM

Answers

  • Hi Michael -

    You can use both DirectAccess and RRAS VPN if you want to. If your DA/VPN server is running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2, you can deploy both DA and VPN on the same server.

    If you have an earlier OS version for your server, you must deploy VPN and DA on different servers, as DA requires a dedicated server in that situation.

    Thanks -


    James McIllece

    Friday, August 1, 2014 5:39 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    It should be VPN OR DirectAccess as they providing a similar function.

    Here is an article about how to setup DirectAccess. You may already find it but please let us know which step you failed to go through. 

    Step-By-Step: Enabling DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 R2

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/archive/2014/01/06/step-by-step-enabling-directaccess-in-windows-server-2012.aspx


    If you have any feedback on our support, please send to tnfsl@microsoft.com.

    Thursday, July 17, 2014 8:40 AM
  • I understand that they aren't usually used together, but they can be, right? and while VPN would work i would like to try Direct Access as it is a cool new feature, and has certain benefits not seen in a VPN. however would a branch cache in hosted mode work for me? for accessing my files, and just using Remote Desktop for Administrative tasks.

    I will try Direct Access on a virtual machine and report back

    -Edit- I suppose using One Drive, or Google Drive would be the recommended method, and may be the way I go, but there are over 2TB of other files asides from my documents (virtual machines, WIM images, programs, photo's, backups etc.) 


    Michael Booth



    • Edited by Mb1245 Friday, July 18, 2014 12:26 AM
    Friday, July 18, 2014 12:17 AM
  • Hi Michael -

    BranchCache won't help you sync files between the server and one PC.

    BranchCache is a technology used in branch offices where there are multiple BranchCache clients. When one BranchCache client downloads a file from a remote content server over a WAN link, either the client then caches the file or the file is cached on a hosted cache server in the branch office. Then if a different client wants to access that same file, they can obtain the file from either the BranchCache client or from the hosted cache server.'

    It sounds like you might want to use a file sync/backup utility for your purposes.

    Thanks -


    James McIllece

    Friday, August 1, 2014 5:36 PM
  • Hi Michael -

    You can use both DirectAccess and RRAS VPN if you want to. If your DA/VPN server is running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2, you can deploy both DA and VPN on the same server.

    If you have an earlier OS version for your server, you must deploy VPN and DA on different servers, as DA requires a dedicated server in that situation.

    Thanks -


    James McIllece

    Friday, August 1, 2014 5:39 PM