It’s not just in our working lives that digitalisation is constantly gaining ground; the number of digital devices we use at home is also increasing on a daily basis. A family of four or a shared flat can easily boast a formidable number of different devices and applications. It gets even more interesting when friends come to visit and want to play a movie on your television or use your printer. And it gets downright complicated if all these digital devices have to interact with each other too! In such cases, the requirements are often hardly any different from those of a small company, and the need for more comprehensive functions soon arises.
Many people already have a small home server at home, even if they don’t realise it. Boxes like QNAP, Synology and the like are often used for central file storage and as media servers, and these little boxes can really do much more than you’d think. So why not tap the existing potential?
Technical overload for private users?
Last year whilst preparing for a presentation at the Chemnitz Linux Days, I conducted a small survey (admittedly far too small to be deemed representative). In the survey, I asked UCS private users what they would actually use a solution designed for business use for in their homes. The replies I received could just as easily have come from small and medium-sized companies. Some respondents actually constructed multi-site networks within their families in order to be able to use shared calendars for appointments and have their own Dropbox cloud. Others even went as far as to include central user and rights management, so that their uncle could log in and use the same IT environment he had at home when he came to visit. To be honest, that certainly sounds like technical overload for most people. That said, even in the flat that I share with my girlfriend a shared calendar certainly made things easier and saved me a lot of the hassle that I used to get from her for forgetting appointments (as I never remembered to check the actual calendar taped to the fridge). In addition, our friends are all computer savvy and central user administration makes it possible to create guest accounts with corresponding rights quickly and without any problems.
Anyone with a QNAP can use these features without any additional measures. And, of course, free of charge!
QNAP with Univention Corporate Server and Zarafa appliance
The QNAP comes with a preconfigured and preinstalled appliance from Univention Corporate Server and Zarafa and can be expanded rapidly (within 30 minutes including download time) with the required functions. You then not only have your own media server at home, but also a QNAP server with UCS and Zarafa, which satisfies with all the requirements of a modern collaboration suite. In addition to the existing functions and thanks to virtualization of UCS, the QNAP server then also offers users a central server for the administration of mails, tasks, calendars and contacts. The integrated identity management also makes it possible to manage users and rights accordingly simply so that each user only has the access rights that he actually needs.
tl;tr: Complex networks are becoming more and more common in private homes, where they can be created quickly and simply with QNAP and the Univention/Zarafa appliance.