Install a single Linux box. The Linux box is a dual Athlon with 1GB of RAM, two 100GB drives, a 100GB tape drive, an 8 port serial card, 2 network cards and between 1-8 modems.
The drives are mirrored with Raid 0 as a live data backup.
The modems are voice/fax modems that will accept either a voice mail or a fax and store it in a designated mailbox.
One or more of the modems can also be configured to connect to an ISP. Or to allow a PPP connection on an incoming phone line.
One of the network cards is on the inside of the firewall and the other network card is on the outside of the firewall. The firewall provides services only for the inside of the firewall.
The firewall allows ssh, pptp, and ipsec secure connections to the
The services provided are DNS, DHCP, HTTP, netatalk and samba.
Users are added and removed using a secure web page.
Windows boxes can be connected to the network and will get there username and IP number from the server. Once a box is given an IP address, it is always given the same IP number. The users will also mount a shared drive and their home drive using smb.
The main benefit comes from using the web server to provide web services. The user can log into the web server and get access to their inbox and folders. They can get email, faxes and voice mail all in their inbox on the web.
There is also a discussion server that allows people to create topics, and discuss those topics with each other.
The employee manual can also be placed online and revised on line, tracking all changes and when those changes are made.
Applications that the business needs to use are also placed on the web. Of course there will be an accounting package, an accounts receivable app, a POS app, and any other small apps that every small business needs.
The real power comes from a custom app that is written for each kind of small business. There will be an application module for veterinarians, pharmacies, grocery stores, schools, air heater seal companies, metal shops, hardware stores, gas stations, and so on and so forth. And of course the apps will be written using PHP on top of mysql, so they are infinitely customizable and extensible.
The beauty of having a system like this is that it will allow either windows workstations, Mac workstations and Linux workstations to all work equally as well as the front end to there server.