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Old 04-30-2014, 06:21 PM   #1
SaintDanBert
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seeking "home office" or "small business" server advice



Follow-up:
I found the following article about Linux Groupware application suites. Does it make sense that I start with one of these or similar rather than collecting various parts that try to deliver many of the same features?

I discussed this sort of thing (aka, "groupware") as a meta-package in my original post.

I have a brand new super-tower that I use less than half of its available capacity -- as a Linux Mint-16 KDE "workstation." I hope my LQ colleagues can offer some advice about adding various application suites to this workstation so that it can also provide some "server" features to my "home office" "small business" and family network.

I know about the various server-specific distributions, but I already have a solid workstation that I now want to configure for "server" features. That means I'm going to add Debian-*buntu-Mint packages to deploy those "server" features.

I expect that this project will take a while to deploy. One thing I hope to learn here is ways to get more parts working quickly. That way I can have some benefits while I work to make things work better.

Some of the "server" features might include:
  1. in-house "cloud" file services
  2. in-house "media" services
  3. in-house printer services
  4. "backup" repository for workstations, tablets, and smart-phones
  5. other "support services" for workstations, tablets and smart-phones
  6. caching DNS for all in-house nodes and private network
  7. email services with IMAP for in-house intra-net
  8. web server for in-house intra-net NOTE -- Once a web server is online, the applications presented there become a separate project.

Are there published HOWTO or other tutorial materials out there that my search efforts have not yet found? (grin) How would you folks know what I've found? (blush) Often this sort of discussion has its own search terms, keywords, and jargon that yield wonderful results ...
to those who know how to ask better questions.

In which order should I install the services?

Are there short-cuts in the form of meta-packages or other "collections" that enable a group of services in a large gulp?

Are there application suites that bundle a group of related services (eg. Exim or Zimbra email) in ways that are convenient for home/small office activities?

Would I be better off to install XAMPP "https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html" (one of those meta-packages) to get a web server and parts, or deploy some other alternative?

Last edited by SaintDanBert; 04-30-2014 at 06:31 PM. Reason: clarification
 
Old 04-30-2014, 06:59 PM   #2
kbp
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There are two main areas to this .. infrastructure components and user/collaboration components, I'd start with the infrastructure first (DNS .. etc) then move on to the groupware/collaboration products as they'll depend on your infrastructure services.

And yes, I'd pick a groupware product instead of trying to put all the individual pieces together. If you do decide to put all the individual pieces together then you really should use cfengine, puppet, chef or similar so that the build is repeatable. There's nothing worse than following your notes to rebuild something after a major failure.
 
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:11 PM   #3
jefro
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Almost any main distro offers all 8 of those mostly from install dvd or network install.

The issue may be more of how you want to run web services. That would require some of a few ways to implement web based applications. Most of those apps usually bring in the proper sub applications like server and database and such.

Might look at how 2X.com offers applications also.
 
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:15 PM   #4
SaintDanBert
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I found The Home Server HOWTO but it has a 2006 revision date.
I am trying to find more recent and thus more relevant documents and details.

While much of the document's content remains useful, a huge amount of water has crossed the dam since 2006.
If anyone knows of a variant of the material in the document that is more current, please post in reply.

~~~ 0;-Dan

Last edited by SaintDanBert; 05-01-2014 at 11:18 PM.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 07:36 AM   #5
Habitual
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Even as dated content goes, http://www.brennan.id.au/index.html seems almost like a recipe I'd choose to follow if I were undertaking this task.

You know about http://www.linuxhomenetworking.com/ , yes?
They offer some pretty good tutorials, walk-throughs, How TOs.

I 100% agree with kbp, infrastructure first, modular components second.
 
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:42 AM   #6
syg00
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Seen zentyal recommended here a few times.
Why not leverage that ?.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 12:19 PM   #7
SaintDanBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habitual View Post
Even as dated content goes, http://www.brennan.id.au/index.html seems almost like a recipe I'd choose to follow if I were undertaking this task.
I reached out to Brennan who wrote the 2006 HOWTO. I hope he is aware of follow-on materials. As you point out, it is a nice recipe. I could use my project to bring the HOWTO up-to-date as an extension to making my server work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habitual View Post
You know about http://www.linuxhomenetworking.com/ , yes?
They offer some pretty good tutorials, walk-throughs, How TOs.
Yes, I'm reading and reading .... and reading.
{Commentary}One mixed blessing in the linux techosphere is the multitude of options and choices. This is often overwhelming. For example, do I deploy 'dnsmasq' or 'tinydns' or ... or 'bind' for my DNS infrastructure -- and we have not yet considered how to configure our private name server?
{/Commentary}
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habitual View Post
I 100% agree with kbp, infrastructure first, modular components second.
I'm convinced (grin).
Since I prefer Linux Mint, there is no server-specific deployment so I'll talk about Ubuntu™.
Which makes more sense: (1)install the server variant and add workstation parts, versus (2) install the workstation variant and add server parts?
Feeling close to a plan* of action,
~~~ 8d;-Dan

____________________
* plan vs. planning -- A "plan" is a pile of papers that sits on a shelf and gets admired for its existence. "Planning" involves thoughts about what to do, the desired results, how to do it, the order of effort, risks, rewards, and so on. Planning is crucial to any effort worth doing.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 03:22 PM   #8
SaintDanBert
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Follow-up:
I found an article Configure Linux DNS Server that seems to have a reasonable recipe for a bind-based name server deployment.

My Linux Mint workstation uses dnsmasq instead of bind so I will need to do some research to accomplish the same sort of deployment. I plan to report those differences here so that others might benefit.

{Commentary}
Here is another of the so-many-choices...so-many-decisions conundrum that is the linux biosphere. It seems that each distribution uses the root file system folder tree differently even for core services like DNS. In addition, the several DNS application suites {aka, "packages"} also do their own thing. As a result, where the article refers to /var/named/chroot/etc/named.conf, I will need to discover not only the corresponding 'dnsmasq' file name but also its path.
  • On my Linux Mint 15 workstation, a find command did not identify anything like "named.conf".
  • Since Linux Mint relies on dnsmasq, I did find:
    Code:
    prompt$ sudo find / -type f -iname "dnsmasq.conf" 
    
    /etc/dbus-1/system.d/dnsmasq.conf
    /run/NetworkManager/dnsmasq.conf
  • This is further complicated by the whatever other packages do to implement auto-magic configuration and system startup. For example, /etc/resolv.conf is managed by whichever "network manager" and "DHCP client" application are deployed on the workstation in question.
  • These other applications seemingly have unique implementations for collecting and activating end-user or situation-specific changes to the as-built, default configuration details. Most follow a similar pattern but the details all vary. The pattern seems to be
    • {some-folder-tree} holds a set of files
    • these files are used at run-time to create and assemble the actual configuration files
    • some of these files might "script" fragments
    • some of these files might be keyword=value
    • frequently a file will include "do not edit" warnings without offering any clues about how to alter the content during auto-magic processing
{/Commentary}

Last edited by SaintDanBert; 05-02-2014 at 03:39 PM.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 03:34 PM   #9
Habitual
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintDanBert View Post
I'm convinced (grin).
Which makes more sense: (1)install the server variant and add workstation parts, versus (2) install the workstation variant and add server parts?
IMO, Install any stable Server you prefer first, then slowly add "parts" to it.
I have never gone wrong with any recent CentOS or Ubuntu LTS as a server and built up from there.
Both are equally flexible.
 
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:24 PM   #10
John VV
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Now if this IS for the office
you might want to use a distro that has 24/7 support
look into RHEL 6.5
you might find that the support more than makes up for the cost
 
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:12 PM   #11
SaintDanBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John VV View Post
Now if this IS for the office you might want to use a distro that has 24/7 support look into RHEL 6.5 you might find that the support more than makes up for the cost
YES! This is for an "office" -- my small business home office. The "business" is **me**. While the "business" might benefit from paid support, the economics are not quite there... yet.

My wife also works-from-home on occassion, but is a win-dose hostage. The network has a dozen extended family with all sorts of wired and wireless tech-toys, tablets and phones. The other folks are mostly Apple® product users. They need access to the internet, files services and access to printers & scanners.

I'm also in the family-mix, using Android toys and linux-based laptops.
Inter-operation of my things with the proposed server is so straight forward as to fall to the bottom of the list of worries.

Cheers,
~~~ 0;-Dan
 
  


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