Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Home networking

I've learned a lot about home networking in the last few days, specifically using some of the cool Windows domain features. I've had an Ubuntu server for a while, which I use for DHCP, DNS and some shared directories, but in the last week I've configured Samba on it so that it acts as a primary windows domain controller. That means that the user accounts on the Ubuntu server can be logged onto on any machine that joins the domain on the network. Since Cian is starting to really get up to speed on his computer use, and Neise isn't far behind, this is going to be really useful. The kids could be using either the server, my machine, or one of the various laptops, and being able to log into the same account everywhere is really useful.
There is an option is make your domain account users roaming profiles, but that means syncing data back and forth from the server to client every time you log on and log off, which for large document sets, is prohibitive, so I've just used normal profiles.
I've also leveraged the domain accounts to really sort out my backup strategy at home. When you log on to a domain account, the server sets you up some extra shared drives, including your home account on the server. The really really nice thing is that you can retarget your Documents folder (among others) to point to a directory on the server, instead of the local drive. Vista has really clever tech for keeping these in sync, so it isn't even noticable as remote. The Ubuntu server has two physical disks, so all the users' home directories are on one, and it backs these up to the other one, so a single disk failure isn't going to let you lose any documents.
I've also just purchased a 1.5Tb drive connected by eSata on my main desktop to backup all the public media, videos, photos, music, installers, VM data and other public data not associated with user accounts.
Now for off-site backup. Hmmm. Can I post you a DVD or 20?

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