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Old 02-16-2011, 08:41 AM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2011
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Question Linux, dedup, virtualisation for 2 site business - nexenta easy?!

Growing business, with sharp eye on overheads and no debts, of 8+8 laptop users over 2 sites needs better fix to manage ~2TB data set per site, with preference to automated site-to-site backup/sync.
Connectivity is kept economical but ADSL is limiting.
Windows client + NAS as file shares are a joke.
Each site needs local file share for some software, and KISS indicates that local data for mostly local staff is a good bet for continuity, if not email, when ADSL fails.

Whilst I can see that something like QNAP units would make the task of encrypted remote replication easy, given enough bandwidth, going or growing forwards, I can also see that dedupliation would yield much lower backup volumes, making goals more achievable on economical bandwidth.
My eye was turned towards OSX server, click click close done!, before realising varied issues with windows 7 clients, and the illusion that Apple care too much... not a good bet going forwards.

Wish list x2 sites:
Server for workgroups
Dedup backup on site
Remote encrypted backup/sync - varied profiles
windows VM for some logmein backup of Windows clients
resilience - do I need two servers per site? even a tiny server to maintain browser / wins database during any downtime?
nb. one site lacks much cooling for comms, so this is another concern, hence virtualisation to minimise total hot hardware.

What Server OS should this newbie look at?
Does NexentaStor seem appropriate as either OS or virtual dedup platform?
What hardware to purchase for this project?
Have been told to get 2008 server - a no brainer apparently! - but I don't love MS nor its complex licence model, etc etc etc.
But maybe MS server 2008 foundation makes a useful VM??

Can I do it? Where is the smallest learning curve?!
Old 03-01-2011, 10:57 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2005
Location: England
Distribution: Ubuntu, SLES, AIX
Posts: 268

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Hi oxfordite,

I don't know much about NexentaStor, it may be the way to go.
I presume they provide you with maintenance and support, which could be useful if you don't have technical people available; although I imagine that comes with a nice chubby price-tag.

If I was in your shoes, I would spec up 2 identical PC's...

I would run Fedora on these PC's because it is based on an enterprise distro (RedHat), but is free.
I'd also run one full release version below the current latest at any time to ensure stability.

I'd focus on disk -- RAID 5 for sure, at least 3x1TB drives (in each PC) if you have about ~2TB's at each site.
Easily expandable though, just bang in bigger disks later if you need 'em and increase the size of your array.
It also ensures you won't suffer any data-loss due to failing HDD's. If one fails, replace it and your RAID controller will just rebuild the new disk from the others.

I'd run an incremental rsync (over SSH so it is encrypted) between the 2 sites over-night, so they are identical each morning.
Incremental will only send the files that have changed, so depending on how much data you generate during the day, the process shouldn't take too long over your existing ADSL link.

Then I'd have a full backup each day from each server, straight to tape (just use 'tar').

If you need VM's (Windows or otherwise) you can use VirtualBox (it's free and runs on Fedora).
Just make sure you spec up your PC's so there's plenty of spare RAM and CPU resource.
Also, these entire VM's would be backed up by your daily tape-backup, so they'd be nice and safe.

You can run Samba to create any network shares your employees might need to share data.

... best of all, you won't have to pay a single penny for licenses, support or maintenance.

There should be enough information to fuel your Google'ing for a while here!
Good luck!


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