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I'm setting up a home office for telecommuting to my employer. I'm a software engineer. I need access to both our Dev servers (located at the employer) and our Production servers (located at our 3rd-party hosting company).

I'm under the impression that I can VPN into only one network at a time (i.e. only my employer or the hosting company). But that's not acceptable because I need access to both at the same time to do my job. For instance, if I need to move a file from Dev to Production. Or run a SQL query on Dev and compare the results with Production.

How can I access both environments? Or if the answer is highly dependent on some things, what details do I need to get? Does the hosting company need to change some config settings or whitelist my home IP or something?

My machine is Windows 7 with Cisco VPN client. And our servers are Windows 2003. I work in a small company, so there is little bureaucracy and IT staff.

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FYI-- I can access the Production servers from work, when I'm in the office. – Bill Paetzke Jul 26 '10 at 1:03

Presumably you can access your Production servers from work, when you're in the office.

In which case, you need to configure your VPN connection and access rights so that, when you're VPNed from home to your office, you can reach your production environment via your office network.

Quite how you achieve this is down to your network topology, choice of VPNs and firewalls, IP ranges and route configuration. Are you in charge of these things, or is there a network administrator in control of the system?

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We have one sys admin. If I pass on your reply to him, do you think that's enough info? Or do you have any other advice to share? – Bill Paetzke Jul 26 '10 at 1:01
Possible snag: I login to Dev with one account (my office login) and Production with another account. – Bill Paetzke Jul 26 '10 at 1:07
Guessing you have a laptop which you take home at night? In this case, your best option may be to remote to the development machines, then in turn connect onwards to the production machines from there. On the other hand if you have a workstation that stays at work, remote onto that machine over the VPN with RDP, then jump off to the dev and production systems from there. – Chris Thorpe Jul 26 '10 at 2:30
I have a second desktop machine at home. I would like to use it for working-from-home during the day. I do not want to use Remote Desktop. One of the main use cases for production access is via Sql Server Mgmt Studio. I need to be able to run SQL queries from my local machine. I need to be able to map a network drive to Production machines. – Bill Paetzke Jul 26 '10 at 5:53
Then I can't offer much further advice for your scenario. What you're asking for is technically possible BUT if you have a terminal sitting there at work that's already configured to allow you to work, it seems nonsensical to do anything other than RDP to that machine. Reasons: SQL queries will be significantly faster running locally than remotely; Your sysadmin will only have to configure a single rule to a single destination; There will be no configuration required on your remote terminal; Data segregation is preserved; RDP is plenty fast; Security is kept tight. Seems like a no-brainer. – Chris Thorpe Jul 26 '10 at 6:29

Can you just remote desktop into a machine in the office? There's probably some reason you can't, but I figured I'd check just in case.

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I could remote into my machine in the office. But I don't want to work 8+ hours a day in remote desktop. That's unnecessary overhead. – Bill Paetzke Jul 26 '10 at 1:27
I would agree with this solution if there is a desktop dedicated to you at work. Also even though the overhead is high and assuming a high speed link this would be negligible. – ggonsalv Jul 27 '10 at 0:59
On top it would mean you ahve the same coputer for all work - this is VERY handy. I do the same at the moment. Separate virtual machine for development which I log in from both real computers. Has some real big maintenance advantages. – TomTom Jul 29 '10 at 19:16

You mentioned a Cisco VPN client. Is this because you have a Cisco firewall? I sound like a broken record, but the ASA5505 is an economical way to set up a tunnel to your office from home.

You can also use something like LogMeIn.

I'd be surprised if you have to spell this out for your "sys admin". It should be enough for you to explain what you need access to.

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With the Windows VPN client you can configure connections so they won't send all your traffic down the one link and you can connect to multiple VPN servers simultaneously.

It is pretty easy to setup a VPN server in 2003 (Routing and Remote Access is what your admin is looking for), just don't load it on a DC.

You would need one in each environment, they don't add a huge amount of load per user, but there are a few things that need to be setup.

Pros: no additional licensing, no new hardware Cons: you do need someone to setup the servers, firewalls and make sure the user accounts are configured correctly, additionally, DNS and IP ranges can cause issues in setup.

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Your question is not quite clear on how are you accessing production systems. If you need VPN for both, and RDP is out of the question, than you can run two VM's - one with vpn to work, one with VPN to production. However, the performance of this might be worse than with RDP, depends on what kind of machine you have and what kind of network connection.

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I need to run SQL Server Mgmt Studio from my local machine. One tab connected to a Dev server and another tab connected to a Production server. VM's don't help here. Remoting into my work machine is acceptable but not desirable. – Bill Paetzke Jul 29 '10 at 19:19

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