Best way to set up IT


We all know hard it is to google search for 'architecture' 'practice', 'server' and 'cloud' and get meaningful results. So, if one was to set up a small (3-4 people) architecture practice now, how would one do that? As in, what would you do in terms of hardware, servers, cloud (google drive?) etc. looking for best practice but on a budget. Laptops and screens? iPads/nexus and desktops? Mac? I am a pc man myself, but know that mac hardware running windows is pretty good. What if people bring their own gear? Insights appreciated

Feb 21, 13 2:22 am

qnap nas instead of a server.  you don't really need to serve anything do you?  just file storage?  if you need a cloud for backup, get 2 and put one at home.  it should come with the ability to run automatic backups and allow remote access and everything else you want a file storage device to do. 

other than that, pc.  desktops are better than laptops if you do real work.  tablets if you're out at meetings a lot and whatnot, but then go back to the office with the desktop to do real work.  don't drop the tablet down an elevator shaft or it might break.  if you do a lot of as-builting far away, maybe a laptop so you can work remotely, and then maybe the laptop can replace the desktop to keep costs down.  you can tailor the computer to the person using it, so if one person needs a laptop because they operate remotely, that doesn't mean everyone should have a laptop.  desktops are better for the 3d model/render guy.  having said that, i would not cross platforms.  all windows (or mac).  i think mixing could complicate things unnecessarily.

Feb 21, 13 7:38 am

Consider renting your equipment... 

Feb 21, 13 8:27 am


So it might be a wireless connection for internet/access to google drive for all documents. That makes sense. I have an HP laptop - probably get a hardcore desktop which can double as a store, plus adequate back-up etc.



Feb 21, 13 3:39 pm

I set up a HP Microserver with RAID, VPN etc at 2 offices, and they work like a charm. Small footprint, upto 6TB of space (3 TB if you do RAID1), and Windows foundation server 2008 is quite good as well. The office has 5PCs and 2 Macs and there is no problem to connect them all together to the server. You just gotta know how to do it :)

Feb 21, 13 3:54 pm

So it might be a wireless connection for internet/access to google drive for all documents.


Sounds reasonable, but make sure there's still some way to easily access the files in the event that the wireless goes down. I was working in a small office with such a set-up, and when (for whatever reason) our wireless was acting funny, we were basically sitting ducks. Not a productive use of anybody's time.

Feb 21, 13 5:15 pm

We have a small practice, use a DELL servers with a bunch of PC's connected to it ! then we use DROPBOX as Cloud Storage (not the best but works for now) , there also also ignite!

We have a Color Plotter but rarely use it anymore (except for in-house) because we want everything to be billable so we send it to the printer and send the bill to the Client! (its much faster and more reliable).

Feb 21, 13 5:51 pm

So it might be a wireless connection for internet/access to google drive for all documents.

so if your internet goes out or if something happens at google, you lose your server?  that is putting far too much trust in other people for my taste.  while i accept google as our benevolent overlord, my internet will go out or at least slow down fairly often.  even if it's a T-1, those companies generally suck.

i don't see why you would get a server if you're not using a server as a server.  if you just need file storage, look into "network attached storage."  smaller and simpler.  simple is good.  that's why i would lean against combining mac and pc.  not that it's all that difficult, but simpler is better unless there is a reason to not be simple.


Feb 21, 13 8:07 pm


thanks for that - an NAS system looks like the trick I need - that should simplify things a whole lot.

Feb 22, 13 7:01 pm

Ah, those were the days ...

Feb 23, 13 11:06 am

Don't use third-party cloud services for critical business information. That is the height of reckless folly. If you want to run a virtualized office, you need to set up and run your own cloud server/VPN.

Feb 23, 13 1:41 pm
won and done williams

Has anyone here set up a NAS? It seems like the perfect file storage solution for my 3 person office, but I'm a novice when it comes to network set-up and generally not terribly IT savvy. Does anyone have recommendations for how to spec out the NAS? How simple is set-up? Any advice is very much appreciated. 

Feb 17, 14 10:42 pm

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