Business IT Set-up

  ItsAsh 23 May 11

Hi Guys,

I am looking for some strong advice from a variety of people. I am starting up my own business which initially will start-off as a small business, the company will be myself and a friend working together. Majority of the time we put into the business would be time alongside our day-to-day jobs, so weekends, evenings and bank-holidays to get it off the ground.

I apologise for the lack of information as I don't want to bombard everyone with lots and lots of information, but i am willing to re-explain or go into much more detail on the requirements if requested.


  1. I am considering Apple's Mac vs Dell/Windows 7, I understand my requirements are possible with both Mac and Dell, however I believe Dell to be cheaper than Mac but Windows may not necesarrily be the most reliable or best OS.

  2. I would like portable workstations, including a keyboard, mouse and duel-monitors, etc. With laptops (Latitude or Macbook Pro). Laptops enable remote work from any location, which helps with initial start-up. Eventually I still want employees the ability to work remotely from home or from customers locations etc.

  3. I would like to have a rack-server hosted internally (not sure how this works with Apple/Mac?) This would literally hold back-ups, system files, customers documentats, e-mails etc.

  4. I would also like a second server-specifically to hold back-ups ideally within a different location, therefore incase of the unlikely event of a fire, I have back-ups in a second location where I will not lose any data/back-ups. Is this a good idea? Can this even be acheived?


My firts thought was I don't like Windows, except Windows 7 is probably the most stable version is Windows at current. Thus is why Mac was my initial choice. I also thought I could issue employees with MacBook Pros' and the Apple Display (Duel monitors ideally, though i'm not sure...) with keyboards/mice in the office which can be connected to the MBPro.

Personally I understand Windows 7 better than Mac, and maybe this should be my priority since it's something i already know..

Can anyone help me figure out the best office IT Set-up?

I wish to thank everyone in advance


  ashleycardwell94 27 May 11

My response:

response to No1. I would advise dell but im not with windows 7 100%. Windows xp is the most stable. Used by touch screens tills, large computer systems and most people in the home. more reliable too.

response to No2. With portables, i would go for the latitude too. Remote work may be a problem. Remote desktop sounds like the best, but you would need workstations constantly on, a static Ip address for your network then assign the workstations a specific workstation a port number so you could connect to a particular workstation. Also, if they are all going to be on a network, Depending on what your doing, do you need dual monitors?

Response to No3. I suggest a server and have all machines in a domain. IE, log on to any workstation and have a roaming profile meaning that your documents are in the server but appear on that machine in your my documents folder. Also, you could have Roaming workstations for the laptops, where they sync files via the internet. An internal email system that can be accessed from anywhere in the world with SSL for security. ( you would need a domain for this )Back up server with a configuration so automatic backups are done at 8pm everynight. UPS for all servers in the event of a power cut with software so the servers will shutdown if power isnt restored in time.

I would advise all files to be encrypted and sent to an offsite backup location. IE home or professional service. Backups not to a hard drive but a tape drive.

If you need more info,

click on my username above to send me an email. any queries, estimated pricing and stuff, im here.

  ajm 03 Jun 11

You havent told us what sort of business it will be. If it is a startup busines for 2 people initially, then most of the things you ae considering may be overkill and will be expensive - not good for a startup where costs needs to be looked at very carefully.

I have helped sole traders and small business ( less than 15 staff ) who wanted similiar setup and requirements initially, but there are other alternatives that were explored and savings were made

  Forum Editor 04 Jun 11

"click on my username above to send me an email."

Don't do that, because it won't work.

"Windows xp is the most stable."

I disagree - Windows 7 is incredibly stable, just as reliable as Windows XP, and a far better bet if you are buying new hardware. Any new computer will come with Windows 7 installed by default in any case.

I agree with ajm, for a two-person business start-up the hardware set-up you're considering is far too ambitious, and not at all necessary.

  ajm 04 Jun 11

On the subject of small business and servers, just today I paid a visit to a prospective clients who was having issues with his existing server and the IT company that set it up for him, advised him incorrectly and unnecessarily no need for someone in his situation to have a server.

All he was using it for was sharing files and emails were coming from his ISP rather than being handled by the Exchange Server. In fact the server was just sitting and running up the electricity bill without functioning for its intended purpose.

Apologies if this is out of topic in relation to this post, but it shows that there are small business who have and are still paying for expensive and unnecessary equipment that they do not require and the money saved could go a long way in the business.

  ciscodisco 08 Jun 11


  1. I would also recommend Windows 7 over a Mac or XP. Windows 7 is very stable and as already mentioned most new hardware comes pre installed with Windows 7. Avoiding licensing and unnecessary work.

Secondly more people understand Windows if they need repairing or for hiring new staff it will be cheaper.


  1. Apple make their own server systems. ( As Ajm mentioned using a server may be overkill. A simple NAS such as the Netgear Stora ( would work just as efficiently for 2 users sharing documents and also allow for sharing over the internet.!!

  2. Yes it is possible although expensive!! If there important file's a remote location would be ideal but tape drives or external hard drives will be just as efficient.

Anyway just my view I hope it helps.

  ciscodisco 08 Jun 11

I Wish there was an edit or delete button.

  ItsAsh 08 Jun 11

Thank you all for your time in posting.

I have however made my decision. I am not a Windows fan personally, although I've used Windows (since most companies only use Windows for numerous reasons), I find Windows 7 the most stable.

Assuming the choice is Windows, it would be 7 because XP is worse than an omega.

Nonetheless I decided I would like to go down the Apple root.

  1. The business idea is a web media company, so initially starting up as two members of staff, hopefully expanding. I've decided on getting MacBook Pros, I have decided on Cinema Displays, mouse & Keyboard.

  2. Reasons for my choice:

  3. Coming from a music industry point of view, Macintosh is the priority choice over windows for security, Windows is more prone to freezing, lagging or temporarily crashing than Mac, so when doing a live set infront of 1000's the last you need is your laptop to suddenly stack-out.

  4. MacBook Pro is completely portable, so I can work remotely from home, customers location, while on a train journey. I also have the macBook Pro as a personal laptop.

  5. MacBook Pro is better for designing, as my company will be responcible for designing posters, flyers, leaflets, stationary, websites, e-newsletters, interfaces, UI's etc. Mac again is a better option on the design front.

  6. MacBook Pro will then be plugged into the Cinema Display, Keyboard and Mouse at the office in order to work with it like it was a Desktop. It is absolutely imperative this is portable, desktops are out of the question.

  7. Finally I do have a further question about the internal network, I would like to store local files such as images, videos, documents, templates and any files, practically HR files (and potentially user-profile contents).

A) What would you suggest would work best with this set-up? B) I will be running an intranet online for storing sensitive documents, files and legally required information. C) I've not really used Macintosh; majority of the time i use CentOS/Red Hat however recently migrated to Debian/Ubuntu.

Thanks, Ash


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