Chapter 4. Design philosophy

Table of Contents
Principle 1: Automating best practice
Principle 2: Simplicity
Principle 3: Extensibility
Principle 4: Reliability

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

The SME Server automates the best practices of a skilled systems administrator, providing a simple interface for the users and consistent, modular extensibility for the developers.

Principle 1: Automating best practice

A good systems administrator knows what tasks must be done, either regularly or occasionally, to manage an Internet-connected server. Some tasks, such as backups and ensuring system security, are regular and ongoing. Other tasks, such as setting up file sharing or adding a new user, are only performed from time to time. In each case a good system administrator will not only know how to do the task itself, but also how to do it in a secure, maintainable, extensible and efficient manner, in accordance with current industry best practice.

However, not every server has a dedicated, experienced system administrator. This is especially the case in small businesses, where there may be no IT staff at all. Therefore, the goal of the SME Server is to automate the activities performed by a good sysadmin, from simple tasks such as adding users right through to backups and other complex activities, to the point where they can be easily performed by someone with little or no technical knowledge of the system.