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Need a NAS that integrates with AD

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For a customer I need a couple of reasonably affordable NAS's. They have one central location with a W2K3 server and Exchange 2K3. They also have several small offices, typically only 2 to 4 users that will connect to the main office through VPN in the near future. The VPN's started mainly to give all users direct access to the Exchange server instead of using POP3 (!) like they do now (I know, RPC over HTTP works but it's a project I inherited). Of course once they have a VPN they can also access data on other sites. This would be done infrequently as their data is fairly site specific but once in a while it might be necessary for the central office to access data on the remote offices and vice versa. Different remote offices do not have to be able to access eachother's data. So far it's only a question of setting up the VPN's and file security on the server.

The biggest site (8 users) will get a small server which will be a second domain controller. What I need for the other offices is a small NAS for every site. Capacity isn't an issue - they have little data, less than 10 GB per site - but what they have is important. The NAS needs to have a mirror at the very minimum. It should have some form of integrated backup - a small tape drive or a REV, whatever. It should also integrate well with Active Directory as I want to easily configure file security based on groups and I have to be able to redirect My Documents through a GPO to the NAS. They already have 2 Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS's which are perfect for the job (mirror, Rev drive, Windows Storage Server 2003) but most solutions I can find are Linux based. Preferably I'd use something with Windows Storage Server 2003 as AD integration is not an issue and frankly, that's what I know best. The NAS's also have to be able to serve as print servers, at the very least for network printers and if possible for USB printers connected to the NAS.

You may ask why we don't put all data on a central site. Currently their link for the VPN's is a 1 Mb SDSL which can be upgraded to 2 Mb but these things are not cheap over here. There are far less expensive and far faster ADSL connections available (1.4 Mb up and 20 Mb down) but on those products we can't get an IP pack (they now have 4 WAN IP's) and we also can't get an SLA as good as they have now on the faster/cheaper solutions. Site to site VPN and internet access on the central site will be on 2 different internet connections. Road warriors will connect to the central office through the connection used for internet access.

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A server built on Windows Server Storage Edition will get you going... These come from the likes of Dell, Iomega, and HP. If not more...

But it's a windows powered server with a few other value adds related to DFS, FRS, reporting, etc.. Not to mention I think it can also be an iSCSI target too!

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It should really be a small box, not a full blown server, to keep power and space utilization minimal.

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Can't buy Dell for a couple of reasons, the major ones being that I don't trust their support service and we're a HP shop. I'd also like a smaller box like the 2 Iomega StorCenter Pro 250d's they already have but it seems hard to find things like that with Windows ont it. Everything seems to be Linux based for some reason.

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HP makes a home style storage/server box.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/can/computer/ca..._media_desktops

Jesums, I hope that link works..

The EX series have been decent for small 5 man businesses and such. The downside is that they don't have redundant power supplies. On the flip side, I've replaced 2 power supplies in the past 4 years in three US and 1 European data-centers.

Possibly not what you are looking for though.

F

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How about this:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversyst...uy/default.mspx

At least you can get a list of vendors that are Microsoft listed. I'd start with AMS Storage, then DNF has some really tiny units. Think SFF!

From there you can see what else works... But the DNF looks slick, I really want to get my hands on a copy of Storage server, but it's not on MSDN :(

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Possibly not what you are looking for though.

Looks nice for home use but I want something I can centrally manage with policies and such.

I really want to get my hands on a copy of Storage server, but it's not on MSDN

I've been looking there as well, it's an OEM product only I think. Otherwise I'd quickly build a breadbox sized machine around an Atom or something myself. OTOH my client has a couple of Server 2003 licences they're not using so I might go that way regardless. Problems is having enough ports for 2 disks and a backup device on those things.

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Possibly not what you are looking for though.

Looks nice for home use but I want something I can centrally manage with policies and such.

Ping your HP rep. Perhaps you can get ahold of the EX hardware with SServer or 2k8server. I usually order them naked and have my lab kickstart them with RHEL.

F

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Typical but in Belgium there's no such thing as a Mediasmart home server. Guess I'll have to go for a Linux based NAS.

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Hopefully someone will make a small office NAS based on this. I can't think I'm the only one who'd want a relatively small Windows based NAS instead of Linux. I'd happily pay some more for it.

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Damn. Forgot to mention that I'd like an integrated backup solution as well :-) It seems that if you want that you have to go for mid tower or rack machines.

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I just requested full specs of that unit. Do you think I could fit a tape drive inside that little thing? It would be ideal as I'd like to avoid mutliple boxes. And DDS is good enough or this purpose.

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Guess it depends on the HDD config? I think that case, and dont hold me to it, is that it supports 3 or 4 HDD's.

So an internal DDS or even internal LTO drive would work. Now the question comes down to what interface drive and what will fit slot wise... I've seen some IBM units that are USB, and U160 SCSI units for LTO-1. Can the case fit a SCSI card? That I'm not too sure of.

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SATA DDS would be fine.

I'm wondering though whether I shouldn't just let them use a PC with W2K3 (member server) as a workstation. An HP dx2450, 4 GB of RAM and a DDS on SATA would be cheaper compared to a separate pc and NAS, even if they have to buy a license (if OEM is still available that is...). It's not an elegant solution but I have to take into account the hardware I can actually purchase and the software on it that is compatible. Those Linux based things don't give me a warm feeling.

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