Description of Office Servers

An Office Server is simply a Server system used in an office, so covers a wide range of server types including

and so on


How are Office Servers used in Missions?

There are basically two types of servers

  • Microsoft branded servers
  • OpenSource/Linux based servers

Microsoft Servers


Open Source/Linux Based Servers

It is possible to use an Open Source server to perform any of the above functions.

SMEServer is a Linux based server based on a customised Redhat 7.3 installation which admirably performs those roles. Crosscape Technology Ltd supports a number of missions using SMEServer.

Issues with Office Servers


Tape Backups

Backups for office servers are vital, but it turns out that tape drives are comparatively expensive. There are some IDE based tape drives around, although the media is still expensive, and the amount of data held is small compared with the size of disk drives today.

CD/DVD Backups

CD & DVD backups have been popular, but are usually not suitable for server backups due to their limited capacity.

USB Disk Backups

Backing up to a series of USB disks is actually economical. USB disks are also effectively hot-pluggable, so the server does not need to be shutdown to install or remove the disk. Multiple disks are required to ensure that the latest good backup is not over-written.

Offsite Online Backups

With the availability of cheap, reliable internet connections it is now feasible to backup servers offsite. Apart from the initial setup, normally only changes are sent to the off-site server. However with Asymmetric broadband connections (eg ADSL) the upward connection speed can be quite low. It is also necessary to trust the backup provider. Cost is also a factor with most providers charging a siginicant amount.

Implementing your own offsite online backup system may be an option.

Backup Software

Symantec Backup Exec System Restore is a great option. The near-line images created can easily be restored to different hardware as well as to a VMWare virtual machine. A great way to ensure that even if hardware fails, you can have your server back up and functioning in a matter of hours rather than days. Server pricing starts at $1,100 retail and desktop is $70. Well worth it and recommened. Shawn - Missionary Tech Support

For smaller installations, especially laptops that might not always be conencted to a network, you may find Second Copy a good backup application. It will synchronise folders and disks across drives and networks. About USD30.00 per seat, less in quantity. "Second Copy® is the perfect backup product designed for Windows 9x/Me/NT4/2000/XP/2003.... It makes a backup of your data files to another directory, disk or computer across the network. It then monitors the source files and keeps the backup updated with new or changed files. It runs in the background with no user interaction. So, once it is set up you always have a backup of your data somewhere else." David B

Disk Storage Arrays

Disk RAID arrays have been developed to increase size/ speed and/or availability of disk storage for server. Normally this is RAID 0 - striped, RAID 1 - mirrored, or RAID 5 - redundant data striping. See wikipedia: Redundant_array_of_independent_disks.

Disk Arrays can be SCSI SATA or Fibre Channel.

Different implementations and solutions using Office Servers

Hardware for Servers

See the article on Servers for help selecting hardware.


Original page:
from the MissionTech Wiki created by the International Conference on Computers and Missions

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