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alexisvincent
Jul 3, 2012, 06:10 PM
Hi Everyone,

I've been put in charge of setting up a server that will be used as a central hub for current projects and I'm looking for an efficient way for document collaboration.

I have a mac mini server that will hold data (mostly word, excel and PDF documents) for projects being actively worked on. The rest will be archived on an external thunderbolt RAID drive. I'm looking for a way to be able to push certain folders to authorized people's computers. Under normal circumstances this would be simple, maybe a dropbox config or lsyncd coupled with rsync but this is not an option in my case for a number of reasons. Here are the requirements:

Currently there are 2 people that need to access the files, both have macs (Retina MacBook Pros) but the solution needs to be scalable, probably not to many more but maybe the occasional temporary partner that will need restricted access to certain files and folders.

It needs to be relatively cross platform. Ideally it should work with a windows client as well.

It must be able to be run and controlled from the mac mini server. I am open to perhaps a windows vm, if there is no osx server software or the software is unstable.

The data must not be stored elsewhere, meaning I don't want copies in the cloud. All data is highly sensitive and therefore cannot be trusted in the hands of a third party server. This means that unfortunately dropbox is not an option. In short data is self-hosted.

Here's where things get a bit more complicated. Some kind of document management system must be put in place. If more then one person decides to work on the same file at a time, lets say a word document, I don't want any information to be lost when saving due to conflicting edits (ie. only the last saved version being saved). And I'd like version tracking if possible. Maybe a check-in/check-out...? This requirement/point is probably the most important.

All files should be mirrored across the computers and not just saved on the server, to allow for offline editing.

The solution obviously would ideally be fast and reliable.

And finally the people who will be interacting with the clients everyday arenít geniuses like the rest of us :P So they would need to be able to use it easily.


Options I've looked into:
MS Document Collaboration w/Sharepoint
Issues:
-Currently doesn't have a mac server software solution. Perhaps this could be worked around with a vm. (Not ideal)



lsyncd + rsync to server where data is backed up to a separate folder every time a change is made allowing for a manual version control system
Issues:
-I doubt this would be stable enough but I'm open to ideas



SparkleShare - a great project I encourage you to check out. It provides a dropbox alternative using a self hosted server and a git back end. (Probably the option I'm most interested in)
Issues:
-There is no version tracking built in for the mac client. (Perhaps this could be worked around by interacting directly with the git repository?)
-The second problem is, I'm not sure how well git would handle the binary .doc files...


And various others, although none that I thought suitable.



Iím open to any ideas and all kinds of hackery :P

I know itís a rather hefty problem, and maybe this isnít the best place for help but I am hopeful. Thank you for reading up till here, much appreciated.

And thank you again ☺



ulzeraj
Jul 7, 2012, 12:48 PM
If you are open to use VMs, have a look at Novell Vibe. It runs over Windows and Linux.

It is free for up to 10 users and no guests and there is also a 60 day trial license that can host for more users. It also features a free IOS app on the store.