A Linux computer to drop into the place of a MS server when it inevitabally break.
This is an idea for a distro for running from on any workstation that takes over the functions of the full server, if only temporarily.
The system would work in three parts.
This comprises of a multiplatform client that sends information to the server (see part two)
This client would collate information regarding shares and permissions, take a backup of users and logins, and save information regarding mail. When I say mail, what I mean is information regarding pop3 connectors, and smtp information. If the server currently runs ISA server to manage the internet, the basic information will be recorded, only the basic rules will be saved.
Any superflous information will be unrecorded.
This is the main server hosting a database for all of the server configurations. This is updated by the client periodically, and stores and serves the data as needed. This server would be based on mySQL and apache to serve back the configuration when requested.
The main distribution. This is the liveCD that is created with most of the services needed to run a small business. This would include such things as apache displaying a holding page (if they host their site), mail servers compatible with MS exchange, and many other small applications that handle every day things.
This liveCD would essentially be an unconfigured server on a CD. On this CD there is another client package that downloads, and configures the liveCD to take control of the domain. This configuration would happen very quickly, and would update all services needed based on the configuration from the server (part two)
Once loaded, and running, the liveCD will allow workers to log onto their machine and use mail as if they were using their own server.
As you can see, this is the ultimate disaster recovery tool. If the server goes down at a remote site, ask them to put the emergency CD in a spare computer, and login to the server (or use a USB key) to download all of the settings. The basic needs of the company will be in place, and minimal disruption will occur.
This buys the engineer a little more time to do his/her job on the server, while the CD takes care of most other things. For minimal problems, the liveCD can also set up a fake root on the local hard disk, for reception of user data.
This is an idea that is not so half baked. I am actually at the stage of testing this system in the field.