My partner runs a small accounting practise. The computer support guy has recently gone out of business, so I’ve been volunteered (!) to replace the aging company server.
I should say that my background is in C++ development, so I don’t get much of a chance to do systems administration and I’m not too familiar with it all, although having said that, I’ve set up linux in the past including SSH, DNS, Apache, iptables etc
The server is old ( it has a Pentium 4 CPU) and very slow. It runs Server 2003 with 2.5Gb RAM. The client PC’s have equally unimpressive specs, and everything runs over 10/100 ethernet.
What I’d like to know is – if I move away from Server 2003 and onto Window 7 Professional ( with a linux virtualbox host for DNS services ), will I lose any services that I can’t replace with Win7 / linux ?
The server currently handles the following tasks:
Application Server (Sage)
Storage (network accessible shares)
Backup (of network accessible shares)
I’ve been toying with the idea of moving away from MS Exchange, which should alleviate the need for running Windows Server. In place of MS Exchange, I was going to move them over to Google for Business.
With Windows server out of the way, I’d like to install linux on the server. This’ll allow me to setup file sharing, DNS and a virtual host running Windows 7 Professional.
I need to run Windows 7 professional in order to host the Sage Accounts Production Advanced application set.
In terms of ease of use for administering samba, DNS, which linux distro (or web based config panel) should I consider?
I’ll be out of the country next year and will need to provide support remotely. So I’d like to be able to VPN into the network as required. I’ve never installed any VPN software before, which (free?) products should I consider?
I’d like to setup a remote backup job. So I want to do incremental backups offsite. How can I do an incremental backup of an entire folder / share?
You’ve got several questions here. I think it would be in your best interest to split this up into multiple questions…you’ll get more focused answers.
In terms of ease of use for administering samba, DNS, which linux
distro (or web based config panel) should I consider?
I think you should just learn to administer them from the command line. This means that the only access you need is
ssh, which is easy to set up, and you have the ability to completely administer the system. From this perspective, all Linux distributions are going to be similar, because in the end they’re all running the same applications (e.g., Samba and BIND (or dnsmasq)).
I am personally not a fan of web-based configuration panels, because invariably I find that I want to do something not supported by the web application.
I’ve never installed any VPN software before, which (free?) products
should I consider?
OpenVPN is a very good free VPN product with support for Linux, Windows, and OS X (and Android, if you have a rooted phone).
I’d like to setup a remote backup job. So I want to do incremental
backups offsite. How can I do an incremental backup of an entire
folder / share?
There are lots and lots of options for backing up your files, and just about all of them support incremental/delta backups. Something like rsnapshot is easy to set up under Linux and maintains a backup history (so you can restore not just he latest version of a file but historical versions as well).
This presumes you have a backup destination available to you. There are also a number of online backup services with relatively affordable pricing that you may want to look at. A google search for “online backup service” will yield a number of useful results.
- Incremental backup up from a remote ftp box to a Windows server
- HP-UX -> Linux incremental remote backup
- How to easily store incremental backups of a linux server on a remote windows machine?
- How to backup data from linux servers to linux server (incremental + snapshot)?
- Is it possible with NT Backup (or MS Backup) to restore all of the latest files from a certain folder out of an incremental backup file?