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Home directories: local(fast) x remote(secure, available)

Dear Srs,

I have a bunch of machines (<20) and users (~15) working in a develoment facility.
I like to keep home directories inside the server room - they're mounted via NFS.

This give me short times for disaster recovery, since the desktop machines can be
recovered with partimage, and all relevant data is in the server room, where all
machines are redundant, are under close supervision, and so on.

In the downside: NFS is not as fast as a local filesystem (we've got 100Mbit
ethernet, only), and from time to time this costs me something. Beagle, for
instance, is not feasible for home directories this way.

I'm considering to move the home diretories to the desktop machines, for
performance, but the users will have to keep their desktops running even when
they're away from their desks (in the lab, or telecommuting, for instance) the keep
their homes available. Also, it will be necessary to extend the backup procedures
outside the server room. In fact, I would have desktop machines acting as server
ones, while running outside the controlled server room, and I really don't like it.

What do you, gurus out there, think about that? Any suggestion? Does anyone know
about some kind of home caching solution or something?

Thaks a lot,
João Roscoe

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