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Remote clients mount over Solaris WAN...

Posted on 1998-09-30
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Last Modified: 2013-12-23
We are a financial institution with branches in 8 different
geographical locations within the same country.
We are setting up a WAN connecting all our branches to the
HQ via Bay Networks routers and frame relay encapsulation
provided by a local Telecommunications Company.
Our remote servers are Sparc 4 & 5's running Solaris 2.5.1.
Our HQ server is an Enterprise E-3000 running Solaris 2.5.1.
We are instaling a Client/Server application that uses data
held in Informix database and in Cobol VSAM datafiles on the
servers. The Clients are running Windows95.
We also want to run our organization mail communications over this WAN. We want to keep Microsoft Mail, which we are
now running over dial-up connections via a gateway PC.
To eliminate dial-up since we'll have the WAN, we would need
to have all remote clients mount the Maildata directory
from the HQ server on their Win95 PC's.
How can the remote branch clients (with different subnet) map the directory on the HQ server to a drive on their local
PC.
I know that it is possible to implement this using Microsoft
Browsing using Win NT servers and clients.
Our investment has been on Solaris and we don't want to invest in Win NT if it is not necessary.
There must be a way to accomplish the same process of browsing without using Win NT.
I tried sharing the filesystem from HQ to a branch which was
then mounted at the branch server. However, the branch server could not share this filesystem to its clients.

I would appreciate any ideas and advice!

Thanks Denmark W.
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Question by:dweatherb
3 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:n0thing
ID: 1582400
I don't know why you want to mount one directory for every clients on your LAN over the WAN. It's a waste of bandwidth and not a very efficient method. If you've already used NT as your mail server. Why don't you install MSExchange & have it served as a POP Server, where your clients will access and pull out their mails only when they needed. MSExchange is an expensive solution. If you want to migrate your entire mailing system over Solaris, it would be the best solution, the software is free, and the OS is very stable, you could minimize the downtime which unfortunately happens  with NT fairly often. Which every install of a new software, server crashes, etc. Mounting a directory over a WAN is a dauting task, specially if your organization have more than 200 clients. 200 different mounts ... everytime your NT is down for a new software install, or an upgrade, every clients has to remembÿÿÿÿÿer to mount it again and keep it alive even when they don't need it 90% of the time.

Good luck,
Min
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Author Comment

by:dweatherb
ID: 1582401
Good idea Min, I was considering that option, but the limitations are that our users are not
unix literate, some are not computer literate. Hence, even if we use Solaris Mail, I will still
need a solution to deliver mail to the Win95 clients. Do you have any suggestions?
I probably need a mail gateway right? I would appreciate some details about configuring
this since It's new to me.

Thanks in advance,

Denmark Weatherburn
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Accepted Solution

by:
MichaelKrastev earned 100 total points
ID: 1582402
I would suggest too to distribute the mail service among several remote mail servers and make the HQ server a mail hub. This coupled with directory service will make the administration of users easy. But if you prefer to use file sharing to provide access to the mailboxes, you may try this:

1) as you already did, mount (with NFS over TCP) the mail directory on the remote servers

2) start native windows file sharing service, using either Samba or commercial package (there are from SCO and SUN at least)

This will work because the second file sharing is implemented as a user process, and unless an explicit check is made, the demon will not notice the underlying fs system is remote. And it will serve it.
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