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My office is a one man show. I have an occasional assistant that helps with payroll and other QB entries for some of my business clients. I am wanting to know if a server is needed. I would like to run the programs from a server and use the desktop machines as workstations. I know I can do this using one machine as a host, just not sure about the server. I know they can be costly and I would be one that would need someone to assist with setup. Opinions please.

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I have not done in ATX but I have done it in proseries. 

You have your data on a shared drive, let's say, on the "server" computer, which in turn is your current computer. 

You install ATX and use the "server" option to install and point it to the shared drive to get the data and to save the data to. After that, you follow the instruction and install on the other computer using the workstation option.   For proseries, once you install the server portion, it creates an installation file for all workstation and you only click on "set up" on the shared drive and installs.

As you know, your computer MUST be up and running in order for the workstation computer to have access to the taxpayers information.  Also, any updates need to be run on the "server" computer and the updates will be distributed to the work station computer.

For  QB, you save the data on another folder on the shared drive (on your computer) and you install QB on each computer individually or as network if you have paid for it.  In the simplest way... only one person can work on a QB client at a time. Again your computer needs to be on in order for the data to be available. 

So, no need for extra equipment if you have two computers and a router. 

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IMO, which isn't worth much anymore because the technology changes so fast, the biggest advantage to a server is the extra backups that are made constantly.  Our server has three drives that are mirrored so I don't have to worry about data getting lost.  We also have a once a day cloud backup.  All of this is managed by a company that specializes in computer technology and security.  I started with a sneaker net, upgraded to a real network that was basically on a more robust computer, then to a server.  Like Pacun, I use ProSeries now, but I used ATX in a network environment until 2012.  I did not have as many problems as some people that year, but more than I found acceptable. 

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Out "server" is just a regular computer that no one uses (it's in a closet) because we didn't want to mess with a special server version of windows. We just put one main data folder on the server and shared that folder. Underneath that folder are client name folders with myriad subfolders so everything for that client is in one place.

The server gets backed up constantly using backblaze just as every other computer in the office does. There are always going to be some files kept on each workstation like emails or CPE materials, etc.

The server also gets cloned every night when no one is working and we keep the last 4 versions of the clone. We haven't figured a way to send it offsite because our upload internet speed is too low for such a large file.

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I am using Drake, Drake Accounting and QB. I have not used ATX for numerous years.

Abby, your setup is exactly what I was thinking about. Just another machine as a host to share folders and runt he programs from the host.

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I like Mrs. Gail's solution.  Our computer is so important, especially, if trying to go paperless.  I will try to figure out how to do mirror and clouds back up as well.  I am not very good at this, hope it is not too hard for me. :(

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