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Old 04-16-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
operatorfromhell
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Linux Home Server - Kubuntu 12.04


Hello one and all. I am brand new to this forum and this is my very first post. I will give a background about myself. I am a Microsoft Windows System Administrator at my current company. I know all about Windows and all the technologies involved. But I want to learn about linux...I am dying to learn linux. I want a reason to leave behind the world of Microsoft. MAKE ME BELIEVE!!

Enough of the background...on to my question.

I want to run a home linux server. Let's start out by giving you guys the basic info on my server hardware.

AMD X6 (Six-Core) @ 2.7GHz
8GB DDR3 1600MHz
6TB (6 x 1TB drives)


Now I will tell you the current software configuration:

Windows Server 2012 Standard
VMware workstation (running two VMS)
VM #1 = Server 2012 IIS 8.0 webserver
VM #2 = Sophos UTM 9 gateway

The host is providing mail services (with mDaemon), active directory, dns, and handling the dhcp scopes.
It is also providing file services and makes use of the storage I have via a software called FlexRAID. I also have auto-torrent (with btguard) and auto-usenet downloading setup.

I basically have an all in one home server solution....just in windows...


So I am asking in this forum...where do I start to look for an equivalent solution in linux??

I will be up front and honest when I say I am afraid of the command line in linux. I know very basic commands from SSHing into the firewall like mkdir ls cd tar -xzvf etc. VERY BASIC. Also due to the "limitless" nature of linux (no license restrictions) the kubuntu desktop is the "same" as ubuntu server. Meaning, that any package I can install on a server ubuntu I can install in linux? Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that is a valid statement. What I am getting at is...I want to be able to have a GUI, but still want to navigate the command line in linux.

I want a linux home server that:

Can do virtual machines (I believe they have vmware workstation for linux).

Can do some sort of software RAID like FlexRAID.
Can provide web/ftp services
Can be set up to auto-download torrents/NZBs
That I can SSH into, or RDP into at a moments notice.
Can provide mail services.
I also want to experiment with openLDAP...I want to give it a try...
And finally a server that can do DNS.

I want the same thing just in the linux version long story short LOL.

I feel that linux would better utilize the hardware.

Windows just lost my interest, I want something refreshing, I know a little bit about linux, im not just totally stupid when it comes to linux, but I am certainly no linux guru.

Thank you all in advance for your help, I am glad to join the forum.

PS - I don't want someone to give me all the answers. I want to be pointed in the right direction is all. I can fend for myself. =) That is part of this whole thing is to sink my teeth into a brand new challenge.

Last edited by operatorfromhell; 04-16-2013 at 03:18 PM. Reason: To not seem so needy =)
 
Old 04-16-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
operatorfromhell
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45 views already and no replies! Come on guys where is the enthusiasm! =)

By me saying I am not dumb I mean..

I know that there is virtualbox for linux. And I know that there is a php extension for setting that up. So essentially I could have a headless machine
running virtual box accessing it via a web browser.

I know that you can install torrent clients such as deluge, and that you can configure said clients via a web browser.

I also know that you can administer the server via web browser with webmin.

the base for all the above would of course be apache2 mySQL (for website) and PHP (for website and virtualbox)

I can install all these, know about the package manager apt-get and installing the software sources beforehand.


I am in no sense a linux idiot. I get the feeling I am coming off as "too needy".

All I am asking for is opinions on all these things. I want a more experienced individual to point me in the right direction. This is your opportunity to round up another linux user. I don't want to get the basic stuff and miss out on better software that I am unaware of!
 
Old 04-16-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operatorfromhell View Post
45 views already and no replies! Come on guys where is the enthusiasm! =)
This is a volunteer forum. Posting a follow-up and wanting folks to reply quicker is fairly rude...especially after not even 2 hours had gone by. Also, all you succeeded in doing is removing your post from the zero-reply list, making it LESS VISIBLE, and LESS LIKELY for someone to read/answer it.
Quote:
By me saying I am not dumb I mean..

I know that there is virtualbox for linux. And I know that there is a php extension for setting that up. So essentially I could have a headless machine
running virtual box accessing it via a web browser.

I know that you can install torrent clients such as deluge, and that you can configure said clients via a web browser. I also know that you can administer the server via web browser with webmin. the base for all the above would of course be apache2 mySQL (for website) and PHP (for website and virtualbox) I can install all these, know about the package manager apt-get and installing the software sources beforehand.
Let's go back to the questions from your first post:
  1. Can do virtual machines (I believe they have vmware workstation for linux).
  2. Can do some sort of software RAID like FlexRAID.
  3. Can provide web/ftp services
  4. Can be set up to auto-download torrents/NZBs
  5. That I can SSH into, or RDP into at a moments notice.
  6. Can provide mail services.
  7. I also want to experiment with openLDAP...I want to give it a try...
  8. And finally a server that can do DNS.
...so...
  1. Yes. Virtualbox, VMware, and other options exist. Virtualbox is robust and easy.
  2. Any Linux can do software RAID.
  3. Any Linux can provide web/FTP
  4. Any Linux can run torrent downloaders, and any Linux can run jobs automatically to download things.
  5. Any Linux supports SSH. RDP is a Windows term...you're thinking of VNC for Linux/Unix, and again, any Linux supports that.
  6. Any Linux can provide mail services
  7. Any Linux can run openLDAP (either as a server or a client)
  8. Any Linux can provide DNS services.
Quote:
I am in no sense a linux idiot. I get the feeling I am coming off as "too needy".

All I am asking for is opinions on all these things. I want a more experienced individual to point me in the right direction.
You mention all that you know, and seem to answer most of your own questions. If you want to set up a home server, pick pretty much any distro of Linux and enjoy. They can ALL provide the services you mention easily, and how-to guides to set them up are easily found on Google. The decision you have to make is how often you want to upgrade/update your box. 'Regular' distros (openSUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc.), are more bleeding-edge, and the online repositories don't live very long past end-of-life. 'Server' distros (CentOS, Scientific, Ubuntu Server), don't get upgraded/updated often, and the repositories tend to stay current for years.

If you like to experiment with lots of different things, then any distro will do. If you're looking for something to sit in a corner and grind for years, a server distro is better.
Quote:
This is your opportunity to round up another linux user. I don't want to get the basic stuff and miss out on better software that I am unaware of!
We don't work off commission. The beauty of Linux is that you can load a basic system on day one, and keep adding to it as needed. You don't need 'service-packs'...just load whatever new features/software you want. If you need advanced features, download the source code, and build it with what you need. The instructions are easy to follow, and you have all the tools you need.
 
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:16 PM   #4
operatorfromhell
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Woah. Very defensive! I must have struck a nerve mentioning "Windows" in this Linux forum. Certainly my bad. I also never suggested the attempt to persuade me for any of your financial benefit. My level of enthusiasm was clearly expressed earlier with a quick follow up post. It has zero to due with my impatience as insinuated. While part of your reply was valid the other part was very vague. By telling me that any Linux will run anything you have only given me fundamental knowledge at this given point I express based on my first post. I came here for an opinion of how someone would set those services up. I don't want to be told they exist! That is quite obvious! I visited this web forum in the light that I was going to receive appropriate help. Hopefully any further posts (if any) contain practical and usable information that I may take to actually implement in a real environment. Also it would be nice to have said information conveyed to me in a less defensive manner. Thank you and sorry for mentioning Windows in this thread.
 
Old 04-16-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
jlinkels
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What TBone said +1.

Leaving the discussion on who is defensive and who is impatient alone.

You could install your first Linux on a VM in windows and play around but then you cannot test it as VM host. OK for a first try but not more.

Make a decision on whether you want Red Hat derivatives (Fedora, Centos) or Debian (Ubuntu, Debian, Mint). They differ mainly on package management, directory structure and start-up management. And there is Slackware which is different of both of them but quite pure.

Command line knowledge comes automatically. Google every problem with "how to set up foo in a bar Linux". There is no action which I have not been able to Google. There is no such thing as advanced command line. It is the command with options. They use +,-,|,>,< and & and the 26 characters of the latin alphabet.

Yes, it will be confusing. But I can assure you that Windows is a lot more illogical and a lot less orthogonal. Windows users deny that but that is because they are used to it. Since you were able to transfer from a normal user interface to a smartphone display to control your server 2012, you'll be able to transfer to the other direction, command line, as well.

jlinkels
 
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:05 PM   #6
TroN-0074
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I dont do much of the stuff you want to do. However I hear a distro that is good for server environment is CentOS. Also if you learn that distro well it might even help when applying for jobs in the enterprise because it follows RedHat really close. You can check it out and download it free of cost at this link http://www.centos.org/

Now like mentioned above any linux base distribution would allow you to run server services, torrents, mail, virtualization and stuff but some distributions are meant to be for the desktop instead. That is why the distros that are made for server in most cases are no deployed with a graphical interface but you can always install a minimalist GUI.

Other distros that worth to look at are
Debian--------------->http://www.debian.org/
SlackWare------------>http://slackware.com/getslack/ (Do the bitorrent download if you can)
FreeBSD ------------->http://www.freebsd.org/ (No Linux but really good for server, also ton of documentation)

Good luck to you
 
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:47 PM   #7
chrism01
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All of the above advice

Because Linux is (mostly) free and most distros can do most jobs, we encourage people to try a few before deciding via eg some sort of VM tool or a LiveCD (basically it runs just on CD, does not touch HDDs).

As you seem to be heading towards a server type install, I'd also recommend Centos.
Its a free rebuild of RHEL, which is currently the biggest commercial distro.
Latest is v6.4 & I recommend 64 bit; check the BIOS for Virtualisation Tech is on http://virt-tools.org/learning/check-hardware-virt/.
With RHEL you get paid support; with both you get updates; see here for length of support details http://www.redhat.com/security/updates/errata/.
You can find loads of books/manuals at www.linuxtopia.org and remember that RHEL manuals work for Centos (apart from RH Network updating).

You need to become familiar with the cmd line to be agood admin; GUIs are useful, but they don't have the power & flexibility of the cli.
(What would you do if the GUI broke??)
Try these
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz
http://tldp.org/LDP/Bash-Beginners-G...tml/index.html
http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/

A GUI on a server is optional and usually NOT installed in a commercial env.

HTH & Welcome to LQ
 
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:49 PM   #8
operatorfromhell
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Thank you for the info. I like what you said about smartphone interface. It was very clever. I run the latest of generally any software so I plan my Linux installations to be the same. I already like being able to SSH into this new install from work to my house. Sophos is my firewall OS and it's Linux. Administration is done via web interface, I highly recommend it BT the way. I've already gotten most of the installs done. I decided to jump into configuration. Backed all my data up to the drobo and blew away my hard disk. Bye windows. Installed Debian and have installed web services configured all rw permissions for /var/WWW/ installed samba , installed webmin, have all DNAT rules set up, I found a nifty phpvirtualbox that I have been wanting to try next. I guess windows administrators are not so hopeless when it comes to Linux. I can certainly feel a difference when using Linux. I feel more...in control? I'm not a fan of licensed os , this is why I am moving away from windows. I want free...
 
Old 04-16-2013, 08:30 PM   #9
k3lt01
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For a server, and yes you can install a GUI if you must, I would recommend Debian. There is a reason it come 1st in the LQ member choice awards and it has nothing to do with fanboy reactions unlike a few distributions I wont name. Debian is stable, the repositories have everything you need to do what you need to do (Ubuntu wouldn't have been anywhere near as successful if it was not for its Debian base) without all the bloat and fluffy add ons.
 
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
chrism01
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Why not recommend Cobber Linux
 
Old 04-16-2013, 08:51 PM   #11
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrism01 View Post
Why not recommend Cobber Linux
Lol, cause it wont be out until Wheezy is stable anyway and it is based on Debian so I recommend using the best distro for the job. The Cobber backgrounds are available to use if we want pretty pics of this great land on our servers.
 
Old 04-17-2013, 09:31 AM   #12
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operatorfromhell View Post
Woah. Very defensive! I must have struck a nerve mentioning "Windows" in this Linux forum. Certainly my bad.
No, sorry. No one here cares about Windows one way or the other. Your post was a bit rude, period.
Quote:
I also never suggested the attempt to persuade me for any of your financial benefit. My level of enthusiasm was clearly expressed earlier with a quick follow up post. It has zero to due with my impatience as insinuated.
Saying "MAKE ME BELIEVE" would imply that, as would "This is your opportunity to round up another linux user."
Quote:
While part of your reply was valid the other part was very vague. By telling me that any Linux will run anything you have only given me fundamental knowledge at this given point I express based on my first post.
What's vague about it? You asked if Linux could do what you listed. I told you it could, and that ANY version of Linux could do it. Should I have listed each and every distro instead? I even explained the differences between consumer and server grade distros and mentioned a few, to help you choose.
Quote:
I came here for an opinion of how someone would set those services up.
..and until you pick a distro, the instructions on how to set them up are different. Again, should we have listed each and every how-to for all the distros?
Quote:
I don't want to be told they exist! That is quite obvious! I visited this web forum in the light that I was going to receive appropriate help. Hopefully any further posts (if any) contain practical and usable information that I may take to actually implement in a real environment. Also it would be nice to have said information conveyed to me in a less defensive manner. Thank you and sorry for mentioning Windows in this thread.
And it would be nice not to expect volunteers to hurry up, and to then get told your vague question didn't have exact details in the answer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by operatorfromhell
Thank you for the info. I like what you said about smartphone interface. It was very clever. I run the latest of generally any software so I plan my Linux installations to be the same. I already like being able to SSH into this new install from work to my house. Sophos is my firewall OS and it's Linux. Administration is done via web interface, I highly recommend it BT the way. I've already gotten most of the installs done. I decided to jump into configuration. Backed all my data up to the drobo and blew away my hard disk. Bye windows. Installed Debian and have installed web services configured all rw permissions for /var/WWW/ installed samba , installed webmin, have all DNAT rules set up, I found a nifty phpvirtualbox that I have been wanting to try next. I guess windows administrators are not so hopeless when it comes to Linux. I can certainly feel a difference when using Linux. I feel more...in control? I'm not a fan of licensed os , this is why I am moving away from windows. I want free...
It's great that you chose, so now your questions can get detailed answers. Debian is a fairly solid distro, and should you chose to use Ubuntu on another system, it won't be that different (well the desktop GUI might be, but you can pick what you want).
 
Old 04-17-2013, 10:02 AM   #13
operatorfromhell
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It seems...

I have a debian linux server running full steam, full circle. It took me one day to set up a multi-service linux server. Compared to Windows....that's great. I set up my windows server in like 2-3 days...suprisingly a linux cli is far easier to use. Things happen as quickly as you can type apparently. I thank all of you for all the help.

Here are my now current specs for the server.

Apache2, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP stack, although installed seperately) with phpMyAdmin - running a wordpress instance for my website.

Zimbra Community Edition (latest version) - This one took about four hours to figure out. But I finally got it working. Mail server.

FlexRAID is also apparently compatible with Linux so nothing new there.

VirtualBOX with extension pack and phpVirtualbox - Can administrate all VMs through a web browser anywhere in the world thanks to DNAT and DynDNS. (no static ip)

VirtualBOX runs my gateway (Sophos) and I haven't come up for any other need for another VM yet.

I of course also have webmin installed and configured DNS through that.

Deluge works brilliantly, running through BTGuard for a proxy. SABnzbd also works like a charm for auto-usenet downloads.
I have two programs that work in conjunction with SAB - Sickbeard for TV Shows, Couch Potato for movies.

I have no X window system on it at all. The server is totally headless. I used a monitor for the install, installed openssh-server and said off with it's head.

Set up Samba shares, for the Windows clients in my house. Converted unix users to smb users through webmin, changed permissions from 755 to 775.

Then I became wise..(which does NOT happen often) and grabbed one of my 100ft HDMI cables and ran it from my server room in the house (where that server is, in the bottom of the rackspace since this particular server is a "desktop") all the way to the living room TV. I installed XBMC on that "server", and that works in conjunction with the auto downloads I get. It pulls from the "storage pool" that I have set up in FlexRAID (and FlexRAID presents the entire storage pool as an SMB share)so debian can mount a drive/network location that looks like one big drive (4.5 TB even though it's really 6 x 1TB drives using 1 TB for the redundant portion and 500GB for the host OS debian)

So long story short, I have a web server, vm server, gateway, file server, media server, download server, DNS server, mail server all wrapped into one package.

Viewing my opmanager, I saw the resource utilization was CUT IN HALF using the new debian install. I will follow up with pics later. The CPU went from 76% load on average and 80% mem usage, to 44% CPU and 56% mem usage ( this was likely largely due to the fact that I had multiple VMs on the previous install, but nonetheless I am pleased)

I am planning on making a guide for other n00bs. I n00b helping another n00b out =)
 
Old 04-17-2013, 10:22 AM   #14
TroN-0074
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operatorfromhell View Post
I am planning on making a guide for other n00bs. I n00b helping another n00b out =)
A guide will be good, I for one would appreciate that.

Thank you and enjoy your new server
 
Old 04-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #15
goumba
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One tip as you have chosen Debian, is to run
Code:
dpkg-reconfigure debconf
as root, and change the priority level for which debconf will ask questions. It's a very handy tool which is missing in other distros.

At its default debconf is set to only prompt for high priority answers, using defaults for everything else. This is fine in most cases, but until you're comfortable with a shell and editing conf files by hand, having debconf pronmpt for answers when installing packages (and reconfiguring those already installed) can assist in setting up custom configurations.
 
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