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Old 12-18-2005, 05:22 AM   #1
littlebiker
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Which linux to choose for my specific requirements


Hi guys,

This is my first post and my entry into the UNIX and Linux world. I started with trying FreeBSD but couldn't get it installed on any of the boxes 'coz of this error: "unable to transfer the base distribution from acd0". Tried 5.4 and 6.0 release. Burnt numerous time but nothing helped. So I am now planning to get a linux flavor running for my office.

We plan to replace a Windows 2003 server by this installation. So here are the things that a new server should let us do:

1. Act as a Network and File Sharing Server.
2. Something similar to active directories for windows users login
3. Act as a proxy server for internet
4. After getting a fixed IP from our ISP use it for hosting Mantis Issue Tracker and similar software for our employees. Won't need 100% uptime of the server.

I am currently downloading Fedora, although RHE seems to be truly enterprise but for small business like ours we would like a free linux.

I must say i have installed Fedora and RHL successfully in the past but always had trouble getting it on the network. Sometimes it couldn't detect the network card and sometimes I didn't know how to go about let it lead the network.

Please advice me on which Linux is best for my requirement, is fedora a right choice? Is there are more light weight - easy to manage linux/unix that would do for us?

Thank you so much! cheers!
 
Old 12-18-2005, 06:24 AM   #2
Thoreau
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Can you tell me how many computers you have in your entire workplace, and what OS are they running? Also what would the users be accessing with LDAP aka AD.

Also, what do these people do for a living? Are they important or just some paper pushers. Will people die if they cannot access information? Or will nobody care. The latter is a hardware geared question, not software.

I will tell you now that the above processes can be run on the same server, but doing so would be dumb. I'll tell you why later.
 
Old 12-18-2005, 06:57 AM   #3
littlebiker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thoreau
Can you tell me how many computers you have in your entire workplace, and what OS are they running? Also what would the users be accessing with LDAP aka AD.

Also, what do these people do for a living? Are they important or just some paper pushers. Will people die if they cannot access information? Or will nobody care. The latter is a hardware geared question, not software.
Well we are small software company using 5 Windows XP and 1 Mac OSX. 1 server that currently runs windows 2003 server. We don't really use active directly effectively now. It's just there unused except for using login records and accounts. Server is mostly used for backup and pooling in common resource files. For people coding php they run their scripts on their respective OS. We have Dell PowerEdge SC400 and other optiplex systems.
 
Old 12-18-2005, 12:55 PM   #4
XavierP
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Fedora is a bleeding edge distro, this means that it may not be stable and certainly isn't designed for live server use. I would suggest downloading CentOS - it's basically RHE without all the RH branding. You get the stability and use of RH, without all the RH logos and suchlike.

A large number of people on LQ use it and it is very stable and configurable.
 
Old 12-18-2005, 01:34 PM   #5
Dr Thrall
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1. Act as a Network and File Sharing Server.

every Linux distro can act as Gateway. And for File Sharing, samba is available for all Linux distro

2. Something similar to active directories for windows users login

LDAP ...

3. Act as a proxy server for internet

squid ...

4. After getting a fixed IP from our ISP use it for hosting Mantis Issue Tracker and similar software for our employees. Won't need 100% uptime of the server.

Get source of softwares and compile it on your distro.

For server, i don't think there is any specific distro. Every distro can act as server. All you need is to administrate the box. Yes, it will be easy if distro offers its self software upgradate and stuff like that. For this i recommend Fedora(due to yum) and Gentoo(due to portage).

~Nadeem
 
Old 12-18-2005, 02:42 PM   #6
sundialsvcs
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Start by familiarizing yourself with any Linux distro, before you make any specific any business commitments for the new system.

Any Linux distribution will have the tools mentioned here, available or installed. The question is, how rapidly you can come up-to-speed on each one.

And... I have to say this... you need to ask the frank question of what's going to turn out to be best for the business, and if that means either continuing with what you have for another six months, or replacing it with .. (ick!) .. well, just look at all the options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebiker
We plan to replace a Windows 2003 server by this installation. So here are the things that a new server should let us do:

1. Act as a Network and File Sharing Server.
This involves the use of Samba. This tool implements Windows file-sharing protocols, by now, extremely well. As good as Microsoft itself does it.
Quote:
2. Something similar to active directories for windows users login.
Once again, Samba can provide login verification services for a local Windows network. Does that mean that you should instead use LDAP? Either one is an option; it depends on what you are currently doing now.

Quote:
3. Act as a proxy server for internet.
That would be Squid, probably...

Quote:
4. After getting a fixed IP from our ISP use it for hosting Mantis Issue Tracker and similar software for our employees. Won't need 100% uptime of the server.
Whoa! Okay, I see that Mantis bug-tracker is a PHP/MySQL application. Once again you can set up the Apache web-server, install PHP and MySQL, more or less following the directions, and get this going. (It's called LAMP = Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP.)

Quote:
I am currently downloading Fedora, although RHE seems to be truly enterprise but for small business like ours we would like a free linux.
What's "free?" If your time is not "free" to your company, as most certainly it is not (by virtue of the fact that you eat on a regular basis), then what you really want to do is to economize on your time. You want to get the job done as quickly and cheaply as possible. If you can find a turn-key installation of Linux that has all these basics pre-set-up, then that is what you should do. If you "pay for" a distro, and for a pittance-per-year you do not have to worry about security-updates, basic installation issues and so-forth, then that would be a very good buy, especially for you.

Quote:
I must say i have installed Fedora and RHL successfully in the past but always had trouble getting it on the network. Sometimes it couldn't detect the network card and sometimes I didn't know how to go about let it lead the network.
Please advice me on which Linux is best for my requirement, is fedora a right choice? Is there are more light weight - easy to manage linux/unix that would do for us?
Thank you so much! cheers!
A commercial distribution, such as Red Hat, with an update service such as Red Hat Network, might be an excellent fit for you. This is a "build vs. buy" decision, and to the greatest extent possible you should seek to buy.

Have you looked in the Yellow Pages lately? I mean, sure, you want to make this a learning experience and that's all well and good, but for your business would it make sense for you to hire someone to, at least, assist you with the installation and to contract for its basic administration, at least for a year? No, I am not "fishing for business" here! Time is money and sometimes money's cheaper.

Take a legal-pad and a pencil and make yourself a detailed punch-list of all of your objectives and all of the steps that you can think of that must be completed to get you from "where you are" to "where you want to go." Even though you do not right now know how to accomplish all of those steps, the first and most important task is to list them. That's your task schedule; the question becomes what is the most cost-efficient way to accomplish them.

Although the task-list might seem daunting, even impossible, fore-warned is fore-armed.

Does the original impetus to "change from status-quo" still survive at this point? Assuming a cost-figure of, let us say, $300 per day for [i]you[/u] .. which is perhaps a conservative estimate of the opportunity-cost if nothing else .. is it still holding up? What if you did absolutely nothing? "Slow" the existing system may be, but is it going to pay-back $5,000 worth of labor to replace it? These are the sort of probing questions that you should ask, while the existing status-quo is still humming along (perhaps with the occasional hiccup).
 
Old 12-19-2005, 06:18 AM   #7
Thoreau
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1. Act as a Network and File Sharing Server.
2. Something similar to active directories for windows users login
3. Act as a proxy server for internet
4. After getting a fixed IP from our ISP use it for hosting Mantis Issue Tracker and similar software for our employees. Won't need 100% uptime of the server.

Windows XP and 1 Mac OSX. 1 server that currently runs windows 2003 server. We don't really use active directly effectively now. It's just there unused except for using login records and accounts. Server is mostly used for backup and pooling in common resource files. For people coding php they run their scripts on their respective OS. We have Dell PowerEdge SC400 and other optiplex systems.

OK, you don't use AD. You may want to connect to work removely via a VPN. Just some forethought. To do that optional nicety you will need a static IP. That means DSL or a T1. A T1 costs 750 a month, so I suggest the fastest static IP DSL package they have. 5Mbit in my area is about 60 bucks a month. 10 bucks for a static IP.

If you don't want remote access, then you can get any cable or crap dhcp link and go from there. Although businesses typically do static, because this does come up. Your coders will appreciate being able to ssh or vpn into work to get a file or work from home during an emergency or whatnot.

Anyhow, there is a product that will do all of the things you listed. It it prefabed just for your situation. http://www.clarkconnect.com/info/ has an office edition that will do proxy, intrusion detection, remote access vpn, ssh, file sharing, you can compile your issue tracking software on the internal webserver page(which it also includes). It is redhat/centos based with apt-get(apt4rpm) for installing/upgrading your software. It has an internal web interface for configuring everything.

The main concern is making sure your mirrored drives(they are mirrored I hope) are running on a chipset which is linux compatible. I can't find information on your model server's scsi or sata chipset. Hopefully it's scsi. You can test your servers mirroring with any linux distro to make sure that it's doable. If that's cool, then no worries.
If you need a proprietary driver which only runs on a handful of OS's, then you have worries.

The cost of the above-mentioned distro is 250 bucks with 5 years of support. The server will automatically update itself and you'll never have to touch it. If you want to upgrade the entire OS to the latest kernel/version(they release every 9 months or so) then you just type apt-get dist-upgrade and reboot.

I would have recommended a seperate box for your firewall/proxy, but you are such a small office, the load will be nonexistant. And this particular distro is built with security in mind for this all in one setup type setup.

You will be able to give users sitewide sharing access to folders or just allow their logins to access their own fileshare or most likely you'll want to do both. This product also does remote monitoring and will email you if the server is being attacked, or having system errors, and will email you a pdf of graphical usage on a weekly/monthly basis.

You will have graphical usage via 'sarg' and will be able to drill down on sites as well as the ip's that hit them on your lan. You can also remotely configure your server via webmin, just as with all linux distro's. All in all it will do what you want and much more and with very little fuss.

You can test out the home edition to get an idea of the basics. The support is very knowledgeable because they are the ones that actually customize it. Their response varies between 2-8 hours.

And that's my opinion of what would be the fastest- easiest way to go with your small setup. You can do all of these things by yourself of course, but then you will have to calculate how many hours it'll take you to configure this and maintain it by yourself. All distro's have this ability, but they are not at all setup like this out of the box. Unless you are a linux guru with some time, I'd recommend the above solution to make your life simpler.

Last edited by Thoreau; 12-19-2005 at 06:21 AM.
 
  


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