We have about 25 employees in our current office and are looking to open up another office in another capital city housing about 15 employees. In our current office, we are running a domain hosted by a 2003 SBS server and I've been tasked by the boss to expand our infrastructure to the new office in the cheapest way possible (cheapest way in the short run that is, because my boss doesn't think more than 6 months ahead).

So I'm looking to get a second hand server and have it run Server 2003 Std with exchange server 2003. These are the things that it needs to do:

  1. Replicate shared folders that are hosted in the parent LAN.
  2. Deliver emails hosted in the parent Exchange Server
  3. Somehow link up with the parent domain controller and push the AD to the remote site

I'm pretty sure 3 is impossible but the DC would be available if a VPN connection is present, right? On that note, would I be looking at hardware VPN connections?

I'm not sure how to deploy the new site as this is my first time doing it and i'm making it especially difficult for myself, seeing as the AD and DC is on an SBS server. Would I first start by establishing a VPN connection and then joining the new server to the domain? Will things 'just work' if I install exchange onto the new server and point outlooks to it? and how would I be able to replicate shared folders?

1 Answer 1


None of those things are impossible. At least I don't think there are any limitations in SBS that will stop you (I haven't used SBS since SBS 2000).

You'll need to provide some form of network link (such as a VPN) between the two offices, and while Windows server can do this, I'd get a couple of very cheap machines and set up a VPN between the sites using something such as pfsense.

In Active Directory add a second site, along with a subnet. I'd then get your second Windows server and install it at your second site. Join it to the domain, then promote it to a Domain Controller (for an existing domain). Also make it a global catalog.

For the files, if you're not using particularly large files, then I'd add your existing folders to DFS, and replicate them to the new server. That way they're both replicated and accessed in a consistent way between users at both sites.

Finally, for email I simply wouldn't bother setting up a second Exchange server (at least not at first, you can always change your mind later). This will save you both money and time. If you use Outlook as the email client simply point the clients at the new site at your existing server, and if they're using Cached Exchange mode it'll probably work out just fine for you.

  • +1 - That all seems pretty reasonably and what I think I'd have said. As far as "how to do all this" goes, if the OP doesn't have the experience with AD and Windows to do these things it's probably worth getting a contractor in for a few hours to help out. The whole "second site" can be staged on the LAN with the existing DC and tested before it's shipped out to the remote location and installed. Jan 20, 2010 at 15:39
  • i thought you were limited to 1 domain controller when running SBS? or am i completely wrong Jan 21, 2010 at 0:43
  • 1
    You are not limited to a single domain controller, however your SBS server must be the first DC in the domain. So once you've got SBS, you can add other (non-SBS) DCs to the domain.
    – hmallett
    Jan 21, 2010 at 12:40

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