Office servers for small business

Installation of complete small-business office server systems

Installation, configuration, management, and support of Linux based servers for different needs for small and medium offices.

Multipurpose office servers

Zentyal and ClearOS are two multipurpose office server suites that can replace MS Windows servers in a network with Windows clients. Both the products are also available in an open-source edition and offer a wide range of features :

  • Directory and domain server
  • Mail server and groupware
  • Firewall, content filtering, and IDS (Intrusion Detection System)
  • DNS, DHCP, VPN server

File servers

An efficient and controlled files storage and sharing with access control can be implemented with a NAS (Network Attached Storage)

Synology is the manufacturer of a wide range of NAS devices based on the Debian Linux operating system that adapts to every type of need from small offices to large enterprises. Every device has support for RAID protection and several backup solutions both local and remote or cloud-based. The features of Synology can be extended with many software packages to offer also other services, like an OpenVPN server.

OpenMediaVault is an open-source NAS solution that can be installed on a Debian Linux operating system and custom hardware. This can be a :

  • rack server
  • tower and mini server
  • a custom-built computer
  • cards computers like RaspberryPi, Rock64 or Rock64Pro

For large organizations and enterprise environments, FreeNAS is the most advanced NAS solution.

A very interesting alternative to the classic file sharing through a persistent network connection between client and server is the creation of a private cloud on the local area network. In this scenario, each client has a local copy of the files stored on the locally attached disk and the files are kept in sync with the central server repository. The advantages of this solution are :

  • multiple copies of the files are available inside the local area network, in this way in case of a server crash a backup copy is always available
  • the clients can work also if the server is down for maintenance
  • the network traffic is minimal: only when a change occurs it is necessary to resync the clients
  • it works well also on slow networks
  • accessing a file locally is faster than accessing it through the network

Synology Drive offers this feature out of the box and provides also synchronization clients for Windows, Linux, and Mac. A very powerful open-source alternative is Seafile that permits the creation of a personal private cloud with permissions control, file versioning, and snapshot. Seafile can be installed on a Debian Linux server or also on a RaspberryPi. Backup servers

A backup server is a central repository inside or outside a local area network that receives the copy of important files from clients and server computers. This means it must have a large amount of storage space and a series of features to guarantee data consistency and reliability.

Synology provides a complete range of features to act as a backup server and it supports also redundancy to another device.

Other open-source solutions are Borg Backup (for Linux and Mac) and Duplicati (for Linux, Windows, and Mac). They can be installed on a Debian Linux server and receive from the other connected computer the backups.

A more simple solution, for Linux and Mac computers, can be implemented using classical open-source tools like rsync and rsnapshot and an ssh server.

To maximize the reliability of the backup solution, it should be fully automatic and require user intervention only in case of failure or problems, and multiple backup locations should be present: local, remote, and on the cloud. A remote backup location could be for example another office branch reached through a VPN or a remote server in another place, physically separated from the computer to backup. In addition, multiple versions of the backup should be stored to allow the restoration of previous copies of the data if necessary.

Moreover, the integration of the backup solution with a storage cloud service like BlackBlaze should be considered and implemented.

Mail servers

For medium and large organizations self-hosted mail servers are very useful. They permit to make a centralized backup of the messages, preserve privacy and reduce the operating costs associated with the mail service. Zentyal and ClearOS can be used to run a self-hosted mail server. A more complete collaboration suite is Zimbra, available also in an open-source edition. Web application servers

In these years many very useful web applications have been developed that cover every need. Having the applications installed on its server permits a company to protect its privacy, own its data and reduce the costs of hosting. For team communication, Mattermost is a new real-time collaboration platform. Gitea is a self-hosted cross-platform solution alternative to GitHub, that permits your software developers team to collaborate keeping your code source private.

And if you need a custom-crafted web application don’t hesitate to contact us!

Database servers

Installation and configuration of open source database servers MariaDB(MySQL) e PostgreSQL. Both the database servers implement the replication and synchronization between multiple servers to offer high availability in critical conditions. Web-based management interfaces like phpMyAdmin and phpPgAdmin allow management of database servers remotely only with a browser.