Use XPEnology and GCP as small business solution


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Hi guys, I'm looking to see if it's possible to have a free solution (or minimal cost) for my small family business using XPEnology and GCP (Google Cloud Platform).

 

So what I need for my business and how I think to accomplished them is as below.

- Website (GCP)

- Local Shared Storage (XPEnology)

- User management for employee (XPEnology)

- Employee business email (GCP + XPEnology)

- Remote access (XPEnology)

 

I came across this on YouTube about the free website hosting on GCP here. Let's say I will set my domain name to "mybussiness.com"

 

Then I plan to install XPEnology on my old PC and acted as NAS to keep my business files.

 

With XPEnology, I can assign individual account to my employee and manage their file access.

 

Now this is where I get stuck.

 

- How do I setup individual email to my employee with mybusiness.com domain.

- How do I setup so that any email that send to my employee email will be delivered and keep in XPEnology NAS?

- It's optional, but is there a way to setup remote access to XPEnology? Maybe through VPN or something?

 

Of course, there are already better solution offered from many web hosting site that come with email options, but I am worried it might exceed the storage limit.

 

Anyway, this is just my side project at the moment but let me know if you have any know-how or ideas I can try. TIA!

Edited by JackGan
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Running business stuff on XPEnology is not recommended since you‘ll never know how long this project will be maintained and if your box survives critical updates which are required if you run services exposed to the internet like a mailserver. 

 

If you intend to run your own mailserver this will require some deeper knowledge. Things to be considered:

 

- DKIM

- SPF

- static IP and reverse DNS entry

- DNS settings for your domain (MX records)

- some providers like Microsoft require  that you register your MX before you can send mails to their domains

 

Our you can run it in combination with your provider so that it polls mails and send them over a relay. Synology’s MailServer Plus is nice, I run it on several original boxes for business users. But as mentioned, it requires work and knowledge.

 

Alternatives would be an original Synology, Qnap‘s QuTSCloud for Hypervisors or small business linux distros (Zentyal, UCS, etc.).

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On 12/2/2020 at 9:51 PM, Hemps said:

For remote access I use Zerotier, works a treat.

Wow never know there is something like this available and come with a free version! Guess that sort out any network access issue between devices. Thanks a lot!

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On 12/3/2020 at 2:48 PM, jensmander said:

Running business stuff on XPEnology is not recommended since you‘ll never know how long this project will be maintained and if your box survives critical updates which are required if you run services exposed to the internet like a mailserver. 

 

If you intend to run your own mailserver this will require some deeper knowledge. Things to be considered:

 

- DKIM

- SPF

- static IP and reverse DNS entry

- DNS settings for your domain (MX records)

- some providers like Microsoft require  that you register your MX before you can send mails to their domains

 

Our you can run it in combination with your provider so that it polls mails and send them over a relay. Synology’s MailServer Plus is nice, I run it on several original boxes for business users. But as mentioned, it requires work and knowledge.

 

Alternatives would be an original Synology, Qnap‘s QuTSCloud for Hypervisors or small business linux distros (Zentyal, UCS, etc.).

Yeah I'm aware of possible issues that I will bump into when setting up XPEnology for business use, especially on the down time. I think for now I'll get an official Synology so I can have something up and running without much problems and will just use the XPEnology as a DIY project and see how well I can deal with it when issues arise.

 

I will need to research more on DKIM and SPF , but are those free DDNS enough to get around the static IP? How or to whom do I register my MX with? My understanding on the MX records is to be done on GCP or whoever I have my domain with, but correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Also, since you had tried their MailServer Plus, do you encounter any issue sending or receiving mails? Any mail relay service you can recommend to make it works for sending and receiving? And when someone said you might lost your mail when your machine lost power or connection, is that means it was sent successfully from the sender side but I failed to received it or the sender will be notified on a failed delivery?

Edited by JackGan
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You‘ll need a real domain which is relatively cheap. Most of the hosting providers let you modify the DNS records so that you can edit values like MX, DKIM, SPF, etc. It’s possible to work with CNAME records that point to your DDNS record but to work „clean“ a static IP with a reverse DNS entry on your ISP side is advisable. 

 

There are multiple approaches available:

 

1.) you host everything on your Synology (real MX/SMTP)

 

2.) you use your Hoster as a „connector“ where each mail account is polled from the Synology. This would include an address for SMTP relaying (for example: mailserver@yourdomain.com)

 

If your Synology is not reachable for whatever reason most SMTP servers will retry sending mails to it for at least 24 hours. 

 

As written before some mail providers have portal sites where you can register your IP as a „valid“ SMTP to ensure that mails are send to their network. 
 

I personally switched from 12 years of G-Suite business heavy use to MailServer Plus along with Synology Contacts, Calendar and Team Folders and never missed anything or encountered any mail problems. Nice side effect: you‘re in total control of your data. But a solid backup strategy is an important key factor. I recommend at least one stable backup destination where your Synology can backup all your important data with HyperBackup.

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