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Old 10-12-09, 07:15 PM
°TheMadDutchDude° °TheMadDutchDude° is offline
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Home server. Planning on creating one (maybe) - need advice and ideas!

Hello everyone!

I'll lay out the plan to start off with. My dad has recently formed his own company and I told him about the idea of a home server to store all of his emails on. He has a laptop which is from the company (long story to explain, but I will not go into it) and he has his usual desktop PC from which he prefers to work. He doesn't like working on the laptop as he finds it slow to work on (not speed wise, it's a nice laptop!) and therefore he prefers working on his desktop. The server is also going to be used for back ups of his data on both his laptop and desktop. I am planning to get the two syncronised so that they all have the same files which is probably going to be kept up-to-date and stored on the server so my dad can work from the files on the server and save them to the server.

Now, the founder of the company has got a server set up for their website and email accounts. Both me and my dad have full access to the email account as I contacted the person who set it up and asked for the password. There are no issues with passwords. I set up Microsoft Outlook on his desktop but there is a problem that relies within that. When I "send and receive" on the desktop, all the emails that are new will go to his desktop but there is no way to get them over to the laptop without saving them to a memory stick and transferring them when they’re saved in Word. The same occurs when we "send and receive" on the laptop.

So, can I set up a home server to get the emails stored on the server and then draw them from the server where and when I need them? That is my main concern right now. I NEED to be able to receive the emails on that server and access them from both the laptop and the desktop downstairs. Or any other system for that matter!

Now, with regards to the server itself; I am going to be using old parts from my dad’s desktop. I am going to be putting in a new motherboard and CPU for him and taking the old ones out from there which consists of an E2140 and a micro ATX based motherboard from quite a while ago. So there is more than enough power for the file server. I am going to be using Windows Server 2008 R2 (Ultimate) which is fully legit so I don’t run into legality issues. It will be running 2GB of RAM for now as it is only a file server with nothing installed on it bar the necessary software. I am also going to be using a cheap-o Novatech SATA RAID card which will house 2x 320GB hard drives in RAID1 for data security. The rest of the system is not too important.

So, my ultimate question is as follows. How difficult is this going to be to set up? I am fully prepared for a lot of head scratching involving setting the lot up but I would like to know if someone like me is able to do this. I am open to any suggestions. I believe I have all the software that I will need in order to be able to run a successful home server.

Sorry for the longwinded post but I need to lay myself out properly otherwise I would end up doing it in the end anyway.

Final thing that will probably not be important but should probably be mentioned. The server is going to be housed in my room which is upstairs. I am going to connect the server to our router through ethernet and the other computers will be able to access it through the WLAN.

Kind regards,

TheMadDutchDude

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Old 10-12-09, 07:29 PM
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Rastalovich Rastalovich is offline
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What an awesome challenge.

My immediate answer, as with alot of questions, is yes it's do-able, and there is a 'but'.

Jim/Kemp/Nat are better to advise on this sorta thing, but in my limited mind on these things, it's similar to adding a server to the domain within the physical building of the existing email server - but - and it's a big but - that's theory talking. Ur biggest fact is that ur not in the same building, not on the same physical infrastructure, which is where ur problems (however big) will lie.

I'm almost certain there is a method for doing this, the implementation is the main thing, I'm thinking it'll involve ur server talking to the companies server, with the access rights u have, then from that point making them available to the laptop or whatever.

Most corporations immediate concern is security. If u can remotely access the email server, so, in theory, could some1 else.

This is the point where my limitations bite in. All I know is that it's definitely possible as I've seen examples of it working without being on the ground level of doing it myself.

I'm sure 1000s of corporations are doing it in a similar fashion, only company building to company building, sometimes just for replication. Some have their own laid infrastructure between these buildings, but hey, the net is there and as long as we're not talking about replication on a massive scale, it can't be that big an issue.

Bet there's some googleage on it too.
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Old 10-12-09, 08:17 PM
°TheMadDutchDude° °TheMadDutchDude° is offline
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Thanks for the reply Rasta. I appreciate it.

The thing is, this server HAS to be able to hold the email information and has to be able to dish it out to the two computers he uses it on. It would also be useful if it could share them out to my system if it ever comes down to it and he needs to use it.

Jim, or anyone with such knowledge, please let me know!
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Old 10-12-09, 08:26 PM
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Rastalovich Rastalovich is offline
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Bout as far as my limits can take me m8. I did some googleage and as soon as I hit Exchange Server talk I got upset and had to break open a mtn dew to calm down.
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Old 10-12-09, 08:33 PM
°TheMadDutchDude° °TheMadDutchDude° is offline
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Haha no worries. I appreciate your thoughts. It's all valued!

The reason I need to know this is because I don't want to buy my dad a £250 server (cheap I know, but still, £250!) and it doesn't do what he expects it to do. It will annoy him to no end that he's "wasted" £250.
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Old 10-12-09, 09:10 PM
nathan nathan is offline
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Regarding emails, you have the option on most email clients to leave a copy of the email message on the server, so you can download it with another email client. Personally i dont like this method.

I'm running microsoft exchange at home (currently beta testing exchange 2010). You would need to change the MX records for your domain to point to a static IP at home and configure your router to your server. The server would then recieve the email (and spam ). Now you can configure your laptops/desktops to connect to your domain and access the email (which would stay on the server).

You can set up OWA (outlook web access) too, basically its a website to acccess your email from anywhere in the world (just like using your isp's webmail). Also using exchange you can configure many mobile phones to access the email such as winmo, iphone, symbian and i think android.

The downside too all this is cost. As well as buying the software, your gonna need CALs (client access licenses).

If you do decide to go down this route, send us a PM and i'll give you my email if you need help setting it up.

EDIT: You can buy pretty cheap low servers now a days, i'm running one like the following (i upgraded to 8gb of ram though as i play with virtual machines).

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168131

hope this helps.
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Old 10-12-09, 09:21 PM
°TheMadDutchDude° °TheMadDutchDude° is offline
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Thanks Nathan. Would you have any idea how you can get Microsoft Office Outlook to leave the message on the server? So I could get the data stored on our server, the laptop and the old man's desktop?

I don't think we can use OWA. However, I'm not to sure about this. Might have to look into it.

I want to go down the home server route though as it will prove useful for many other things such as backing up his data on a RAID array for redundancy.
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Old 11-12-09, 08:08 AM
nathan nathan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='°TheMadDutchDude°'
Thanks Nathan. Would you have any idea how you can get Microsoft Office Outlook to leave the message on the server? So I could get the data stored on our server, the laptop and the old man's desktop?

I don't think we can use OWA. However, I'm not to sure about this. Might have to look into it.

I want to go down the home server route though as it will prove useful for many other things such as backing up his data on a RAID array for redundancy.
http://support.tigertech.net/outlook-2007-lmos
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Old 12-12-09, 12:19 PM
°TheMadDutchDude° °TheMadDutchDude° is offline
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Thanks so much Nathan! Plus reps for you!
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