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Old 03-16-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
AndyXS
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Windows Server To Linux


I come seeking you advice on a Linux Server to replace Windows. Although we do not actually run a windows server we were looking at installing one for a small office network until the idea of linux came along. We only run a network of 5 PCs and con't see why we should folk out almost $800 for a WinServer licence.

We want:
Windows logins for each user, private folders (such as my documents) but to be stored on the server, shared folders again stored on the server, printer sharing, internet sharing, file backup (maybe over the internet).

I understand that the file and printer sharing is done through Samba. The internet access requires a proxy server, which we have looked at Squid.

Question 1
Am I right in saying that the Windows Logins require a domain controller? If so, what is the software we need to use?

Question 2
Ideally we would like the user settings to go with the user which ever computer they login to. Can this be achieved using a Linux server and Windows Vista Business as the clients?

Question 3
Windows Server has a Security Policy which can be used to restrict the users from breaking the system. If we used Linux would we be forfitting this feature?

Thanks
 
Old 03-16-2009, 08:40 PM   #2
AsusDave
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Hey Andy,
The quick answer is yes... Linux will do all you need it to and more. SAMBA will enable you to do both 1 and 2 from your questions. Squid is a great idea for a proxy server (I use it myself in our network).

Can you clarify a little more on item 3 from your list? What exactly do you mean by "Breaking the system"? Do you mean that you want to restrict their access to the main server, shares, and the documents of others? If so, Linux is IMO more capable of doing that that Windows and is easier to set up once you get the hang of it.

Also, with only 5 PCs, have you considered setting them up as Linux boxes also? I think it would be an interesting experiment to see the time needed for users to become acclimated to Linux in an everyday business use scenario.

HTH
Dave
 
Old 03-16-2009, 08:59 PM   #3
AndyXS
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Dave,

I have seen Security Policies which restrict users from using floppy disks or CDs, prevented from changing the display settings, prevented from changing internet settings, etc... This is the kind of security I am looking to setup. Can this be done?
 
Old 03-16-2009, 09:38 PM   #4
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If you're asking whether a Linux server would stop people from breaking
their windows workstations the answer is no. But if you deny them the right
of local admin you won't need to enforce much?


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 03-16-2009, 09:39 PM   #5
AndyXS
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So what you are saying it that I could restrict their usage, but it would have to be done manyually on each machine through the Administrator. Is that right?
 
Old 03-16-2009, 09:42 PM   #6
AsusDave
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Andy,
I do not think you will be able to do exactly what you are wanting to do since MS Group Policies are a Windows server application only.

You could configure certain things on each Vista box, but that would be time consuming and a pain to update. You do have a lot of flexibility with Squid and some other tools to adjust a user's Internet experience.
 
Old 03-16-2009, 09:51 PM   #7
AndyXS
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I can always installed DeepFreeze to keep the systems as new.

So as far as the linux server goes, will this be pretty much "out the box" with samba and squid?

Would it be possible to give shared folder access to some users but not others?

Finally, whats the best way to backup the files? Initally I was looking at RAID1 on the server. Possibly using IDrive as an online backup to that. That sound ok?
 
Old 03-16-2009, 10:06 PM   #8
AsusDave
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Your server "could" work "out of the box" but I would recommend a bit of tweaking, depending on your exact needs. You will find it's really easy to assign all sorts of complicated access to files and folders in Linux.

The main thing to remember about backups is that RAID ISN'T A BACKUP!!! It only helps you to keep running in case of a hard drive failure. Don't get me wrong though, RAID is extremely valuable to increase your uptime.

How much data do you need to backup? If it is a couple of gigs and you have a good Internet line, online backups are OK. Backups are no good if they take 3 days to run each time. If you have a lot of data, look at setting up a tape drive or using a disk based backup solution.

HTH
Dave
 
Old 03-16-2009, 10:14 PM   #9
AndyXS
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At the moment I suspect there is around 3GB of files acorss all the users. I like the idea of online backup because idrive keep several copies of your files incase your need to go back a version (maybe a virus or becoming corupt).

I didn't really ask which OS to use, I just went with Ubuntu Server. Was this a good idea? Ubuntu has a wicked community for support. Their server edition doesn't come with a GUI so should I maybe choose a different distro with a GUI (maybe CentOS), install Gnome, or not use one at all. I just don't want to come unstuck with technical problems and no command/shell experience.
 
Old 03-16-2009, 11:52 PM   #10
ceantuco
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Hi AndyXS

at work I have an OpenSuse box running as backup server. Unfortunately we have to use w$ndows servers due to compatibility with software that we run on the LAN however when I was asked to implement a backup server LINUX was the solution. this is how I have it set up:

the OpenSuse box has two 1TB hard drives. one contains the OS and the other one is just for backups. I created a task on all W$ndows servers to copy all their shared documents to the secondary HD on the linux box then I have a crontab job which copies data every other day from the secondary HD to the primary HD. that way I have a 1 day window in case someone messes up a file or a file gets infected.

Hope this helps!

I can't wait to see the day when Linux Servers will take over
 
Old 03-16-2009, 11:58 PM   #11
AndyXS
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I suppose another option is to do a weekly tarball of the files onto a secondary drive. Week 1 to tar1, week 2 to tar2, etc up to 4 then restarts back to tar1. This gives a 4 week windows and backup of different versions.
 
Old 03-17-2009, 12:06 AM   #12
ceantuco
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that would be a good option too. The files that we have get updated everyday so in this case a 4 week backup of those files would be useless. I will keep that idea in case I need to set up another backup server. what kind of hardware are you buying for your Linux server?
 
Old 03-17-2009, 12:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyXS View Post
At the moment I suspect there is around 3GB of files acorss all the users. I like the idea of online backup because idrive keep several copies of your files incase your need to go back a version (maybe a virus or becoming corupt).
I don't know what an iDrive is, how it works, or whether
the versioning feature depends on a driver of the OS it's
attached to (my guess would be yes). An ordinary (large-
ish) drive (or maybe a couple of those, so you can take
one off site) might be a good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyXS View Post
I didn't really ask which OS to use, I just went with Ubuntu Server. Was this a good idea? Ubuntu has a wicked community for support. Their server edition doesn't come with a GUI so should I maybe choose a different distro with a GUI (maybe CentOS), install Gnome, or not use one at all. I just don't want to come unstuck with technical problems and no command/shell experience.
I'll always recommend against a GUI on a server - if you
really don't have the time/energy to learn how to do things
the command-line way, try going for something like webmin.
Much less wasteful on resources than X11 (specially when
used with Gnome) ....



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 03-17-2009, 12:14 AM   #14
ceantuco
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Tinkser why do you go against GUI servers?
 
Old 03-17-2009, 12:19 AM   #15
linuxlover.chaitanya
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It is not a good idea to put GUI on servers. It will eat a lot of important resources and if you do not tweak your system properly it could be prone to security issues as well.
Not just him but a lot of people, including me, would go against GUI on server.
Webmin is a good and handy tool to use if you need some graphical front end tool for administration. It gives front end to almost everything you want to administer. Also it is web based. So you can do over the network and not necessarily be infront of your server all the time. It also gives the permissions to users and what they are allowed.
And it is available through Ubuntu repositories as well. So installing it is a piece of cake.
Code:
apt-get install webmin
 
  


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