/ BLOG / Mad solutions to common problems

Whilst arguing discussing the merits of Exchange over RPC over HTTP/S, with SIR-Millar and Theo, and how it would’ve been nicer to see some viable calendaring alternatives in the long term (and how I’ve become a corporate whore), I started thinking about my current personal calendaring system, only to come unstuck. I really should be storing my calendar remotely, and not relying on the $work calendar. Unfortunately there are relatively few calendaring solutions out there. I’ve settled on caldav, as the Lightning extension for Thunderbird supports it. Unfortunately there aren’t really many good caldav servers. There is an apache module, but it looks like it relies on evolution data server, and also relies on custom patches. Just one more thing to chalk up to the todo list I fear.

This also got me thinking about a solution we’ve been using ourselves at work, very successfully I might add for over a year now, whereby we’ve virtualised our entire Windows, and partially non-Windows (phone system) infrastructure. We’ve rolled out cutdown versions of this to other clients, whereby we’ve virtualised one server (such as a terminal server). We’re now going for the whole she-bang, with one key difference. We’re also virtualising SBS, with a multi-terminal server environment. SBS is the one thing that’s worried me, but this morning I was happy to see that a mad Canadian has also done it (although they actually deployed it on real customers when we were still playing with the idea on our own network). Hurrah!

For those concerned about virtual environments I recommend doing some play/testing. It certainly works, and makes backup and restoration a practical doddle once you’ve got a new host box. Granted it does increase the strain on your backups, but with the cost of a decent LTO3 drive and tapes within reach of even small customers, it’s a no-brainer. Just make sure those backups go off-site.