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Looking for ideas / thoughts on a small office setups. Users : 25 Remote users ; 5 Remote office : 3

I'm a big fan of small business server but looking for mail archiving and NAS storage solutions to separate user data from AD and email.
Look forward to your thoughts, setups. Anyone with hosted solutions experience would also be nice.


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migrated from Dec 19 '09 at 13:19

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

can you expand your question a bit? What's currently in-place? i.e. are any of these offices setup? If so, do you have Microsoft Exchange in place? Describe "mail archiving" -- are you talking about long-term mail retention for compliance reasons? How do you see the NAS "separating user data from AD and email"? – gravyface Apr 19 '10 at 13:11
Sounds like you're current users are pretty low-load. If your current server is keeping up with demand, you may just want to add storage to it directly. Buying a cheap NAS is going to put potentially critical data on a device with a weak service plan (if any); keeping it on a server with a full warranty likely safer. Can you describe the problem you're trying to solve, are you out of disk space, how old is the server, is the software limiting you, etc? – Chris S Apr 19 '10 at 13:19

I posted a comment asking for more information, but with a (loose) understanding of what you're trying to do, I'm recommend the following:

I'm assuming budget constraints are in the "small business" range, so I'd say get an ALIX-based pfSense firewall from Netgate for each location, setting up IPSec/OpenVPN site-to-site tunnels to one "HQ" -- whatever location has the most on-site users should get the Small Business Server.

As for separating user data from AD and email, you can move the Profiles, User's Shared Folders, and/or any other network shares to any logical drive -- as long as the server can see it, you can move it there. Same goes with Exchange's database.

You mentioned email, so I'd recommend setting up Outlook Anywhere to work across the tunnels or perhaps using IMAP; both a little more friendly for higher-latency links like your IPSec tunnels than MAPI profiles.

No idea what other user applications you have, can't comment on that.

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I would prefer iSCSI SAN solutions. Try StarWind software. It has free and trial versions and I'm sure it'll satisfy to all of your requests.

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imho, an iSCSI SAN is overkill for this application... might depend on what exactly the budget is. – quack quixote Nov 18 '09 at 15:32
What do you mean? souds like you had no experience at all. There is a free version too. – ToreTrygg Jan 13 '10 at 16:02

I would probably setup some type of samba fileserver with a LVM (OpenBSD, FreeNAS, Debian, Redhat, etc take your pick) along with postfix running a local mail account for each user.

Assuming you're running Exchange, you can backup email in a clever manner by setting up a forwarding address for each user's mail to [username]@nas.local or something similar thereby creating a constantly updated backup of each message.

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Well, i like Thecus producs. They have linux installed and different plugins available.

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