The perfect network server

Serving small networks with free software

This article was sponsored by:
Hacker’s code | Intermediate

By Ryan Cartwright

Online on: 2007-04-18

So you need a server? Not a web server of course, you rent someone else’s for that. No, you need a file server, print server, intranet, mail server and more. Can free software provide the answer? Of course it can.

Well what kind of answer did you expect from Free Software Magazine?
Growing pains

Many office networks grow in an almost organic way. They start life as a single PC, then a second is added and before you know it there are five or ten. Sometimes these are standalone but more often they will be peer-to-peer networked. Eventually this becomes cumbersome and some kind of server solution is desirable. At this point the fledgling IT budget becomes hungrier. Proprietary servers are expensive to buy and licence. Free software has for some time offered a choice of alternatives in this field and this article aims to discuss those options and explain how you might deploy a free software LAN server, which will allow you to start small but which can grow with you with minimal extra outlay. So, if you are looking to deploy a server but are baulking at the expense and hardware needs of Microsoft Exchange, read on. Figure 1 shows a typical network layout for your server, for the purposes of this article I am talking about five to ten client PCs behind a single ADSL line.



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