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Re: Debian based remote office support

On Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 06:02:02PM +0200, Simon Tennant wrote:
> I have been following this list for the last 4 years and am a keen
> Debian user.  Now I am planning on setting up a business that will
> provide a linux based office infrastructure to small - medium sized
> offices (10-100 workstations).  I am hoping that some people 
> can pick holes in this architecture before I start building it.

Things to think about:
1.  How are you going to handle security updates to hundreds of hosts?
2.  What process are you going to use to build new hosts to ensure
3.  How are you going to roll out new applications?
4.  How are you going to test new apps before you roll them out to
to all hosts?

You might find some answers here: http://infrastructures.org

> The general idea is to offer office users a subscription based
> computing services.  The office users are presented with a net-booted
> and diskless client.  Remote users are presented with a Knoppix
> CD that creates a tunnel back to the datacenter infrastructure.
> The net-boot and diskless images contain a Debian build including
> Office utilities, mail and web software.  Perhaps will also include
> VMWare software for those that need to run legacy applications.

Qemu with the kqemu accelerator module might be a cheaper solution than

> I would like to come up with a solution whereby all critical data is 
> housed in a data-centre and each office we deploy to is "dumb".  If the 
> office server dies, gets stolen, whatever we just stick a new one
> in and Bob's your uncle.  I can set-up email, proxy, Kerberos and
> LDAP to all connect back to a data-centre, but, how do I make the
> file-sharing work well across wan links?

OpenAFS might handle this, I'm not sure.  You might be able to setup a
local mirrored AFS server that makes asynchronous writes back to the
master AFS server at the data center.

> What is the rest of the groups feeling about running services like
> file-sharing and email across somewhat unreliable networks and how did
> you get around these problems?

If you solve the larger problem(file sharing) then the smaller
problem (email) takes care of itself.  You can just store the mail data
using the same file server and present it to the local users via a local
IMAP server.

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