I’ve been a happy owner of my old DMP eBox-4854 for a few years now. These days, I use it as a home server for different things ranging from acting as a POPFile server to providing Samba services with my attached 3 TB external hard drives. Most recently, I found that I grew tired of having to either make sure I was using Web mail, IMAP, or another annoying means of managing my growing list of email accounts from one central location. Too many clients or being forced to manage everything from a Web mail solution was not what I had in mind. I am not a “cloud” kind of guy when it comes to my email.
What I ended up doing is what I’ve ended up doing with most of my data these days — SSH and/or server type access. This means that instead of needing to use Web mail, multiple email clients on numerous machines, or worse, trying to keep everything on one PC… I’ve made it so that my Evolution email client is “forwarded” to any connected PC using the GNOME desktop. Set up properly, I can SSH in securely to my email client from anywhere in the world and the Evolution client feels like it’s running right there on my local machine. It’s beyond fantastic, and I don’t know why it took me so long to set this up.
The bigger story here is that I am finding myself becoming more and more reliant on home server solutions as it’s a pain to keep everything balanced out on multiple machines. By simply using SFTP or Samba for file access, SSH X forwarding for secure email access (bundled with SSL in the Evolution PIM itself), I have found myself in a stronger position when making drastic updates or “tweaking” my home office computers. Despite having a dedicated partition for my user data, I always dreaded being tied down to either IMAP, single email client or Web mail should one machine go down. Now I no longer have to worry about it.
As one might suspect, I run nightly backups to other media automatically as nothing is 100% safe. Needless to say though, this change in my home office is something I recommend if you’re tired of Web mail and want to keep all of your email at the house, but without playing musical email clients. SSH with X forwarding is awesome, so long as you remember the RSA key over a hackable password, that is. I cannot recommended these little eBoxes enough for a solid low powered, STABLE means of providing simple server functions for a home office. Not a replacement for a real server for hardcore SoHo users by any means, but more than enough to act as a printer server, or SSH access device, among other light duties. Did I mention it’s solid state and completely silent?