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Old 06-28-2014, 02:12 AM   #1
Tim Abracadabra
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Choosing a Server Distro for a domain controller in a SMB environment


Hi LQ,

This is my first post here so please excuse my noobness. I used to work with UNIX (Sun OS on E10000's) back in the late 90's and early 2000's but my Linux experience is limited and ... may we say...dated. I think the last distro I used was Debian etch.


I have a question regarding choosing distro's for servers in a smb environment with older hardware. I have a customer who wants to replace Exchange servers with the Zentyal version 3.5 product (Ubuntu Server 14.04 based) that is due to be coming out next month.

For security and to eliminate a single point of failure I have proposed building a separate server on their internal network to serve as Primary Domain Controller running as the active directory services replacement using Samba4, Kerberos, and Bind9-dlz.

I've think I got it narrowed down to 3 distro's for the PDC but I would really like to hear your opinions.
  1. Debian 7.5 - (I remember this flavor seemed very stable and secure.)
  2. Ubuntu Server - No Graphics so lightweight and matches the OS the Zentyal product runs on.
  3. CentOS - Based on RedHat
I have a Ubuntu server I am testing now but some things seem ... different security wise from Debian and overall it just seems bulky.

I am still very rusty, times have changed and I've got a lot to learn and relearn so please bear with me.
I'll get better, I [promise !
Thanks,
Tim

Edit: I do understand that Samba4 is not yet AFAIK in stable for Debian or available? for CentOS and that is OK. In fact I might lean to wait for Debian certification which may not happen until somewhere at or after Samba 4.2.
Just looking for a production OS recommendation.
(And maybe a welcome !)
Thanks LQ Troops !

Last edited by Tim Abracadabra; 07-05-2014 at 05:09 AM.
 
Old 06-28-2014, 05:24 PM   #2
jefro
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Hello and welcome.

I stopped thinking at older hardware and latest OS. How old is this hardware?
 
Old 06-28-2014, 06:33 PM   #3
Tim Abracadabra
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Hi jefro. Thank you for your kind reply.

Quote:
Hello and welcome.

I stopped thinking at older hardware and latest OS. How old is this hardware?
With times being what they are the (prospective) client is trying to really keep costs down and use existing hardware where they can which is one of the reasons they want to try Linux.

The "Server" Hardware for the PDC is a 3 Ghz Pentium 4 with 2 GB of Ram. The Primary hard drive is ~160 GB.

Tim
 
Old 07-05-2014, 03:53 AM   #4
Tim Abracadabra
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Adding resolution.

We are going to use Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS (No GUI)
for this PDC.

Reasons are:
  • Current testing shows the platform is stable.
  • The non-gui Server version of the OS is ~compact and resource usage is acceptable.
  • This PDC will provide an offload of responsibilities from the Zentyal SMB server.
  • The Zentyal server will provide a secondary Active Directory/Directory Services Controller.
  • The Zentyal Server is running the same flavor and version of linux.
  • Any security concerns can be addressed and tweaked.
  • The on-site IT person is the owners daughter who recommended the Zentyal product and is familiar with Ubuntu.
  • Down the road we might be able to upgrade the "Servers" from PC's to
    actual servers and at that point another OS re-evaluation can be done.
  • By that time the Samba4 product will likely/hopefully be more mature and
    be in the stable repositories for Debian and CentOS (TBD).

Thanks to all,
Tim

Last edited by Tim Abracadabra; 07-05-2014 at 04:20 AM. Reason: Add / to be more clear fo AD/DS C
 
Old 07-05-2014, 09:14 PM   #5
tlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Abracadabra View Post
Adding resolution.

We are going to use Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS (No GUI)
for this PDC.

Reasons are:
  • Current testing shows the platform is stable.
  • The non-gui Server version of the OS is ~compact and resource usage is acceptable.
  • This PDC will provide an offload of responsibilities from the Zentyal SMB server.
  • The Zentyal server will provide a secondary Active Directory/Directory Services Controller.
  • The Zentyal Server is running the same flavor and version of linux.
  • Any security concerns can be addressed and tweaked.
  • The on-site IT person is the owners daughter who recommended the Zentyal product and is familiar with Ubuntu.
  • Down the road we might be able to upgrade the "Servers" from PC's to
    actual servers and at that point another OS re-evaluation can be done.
  • By that time the Samba4 product will likely/hopefully be more mature and
    be in the stable repositories for Debian and CentOS (TBD).

Thanks to all,
Tim
Be prepared for a lot of updates on a weekly basis and reboots for kernel updates several times a month with ubuntu.

Ubuntu is excellent for server and desktop network environment, but for less admin work i would have chosen the Debian route. less updates and it just runs and even can run years if kernel updates aren't needed.
 
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:16 AM   #6
Tim Abracadabra
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Thanks tlan,

+1 rep.
That is an excellent point regarding the frequent updates with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Server Edition.

I do plan to test Debian as an alternative.
However, I will have to then compile the required Samba4 for that distro.

Going that path has its own additional admin responsibilities ;-)


I guess I have to choose my poison :-D

Thanks again and all the best,
Tim
 
Old 07-13-2014, 01:27 PM   #7
lleb
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yes please keep in mind that Ubuntu is a fork of Debian and even LTS still uses a fairly large amount of applications, libraries, etc... from the raw debian repositories.

Of the three you have listed I'd go either pure Debian or CentOS v7. If you are not familiar with the RH way of doing administration, then sticking with pure Debian is the better option.
 
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