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Hi, I'd like some opinions/views from people on server setups. I have set up a few servers using different Linux distributions. But they all do different things better than others, ...
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  1. #1
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    Opinions on server setup


    Hi,
    I'd like some opinions/views from people on server setups. I have set up a few servers using different Linux distributions. But they all do different things better than others, so I'm wondering what would be the best one suited to my needs. Basically I want it to do almost everything (I donít know if this is just pushing it too far though - please advise). This is just a home sort of server which I like to play about with so it doesnít need to be blistering, but I'd like it to do what I want easily and reliably.

    I need to:
    -host our website - most important thing
    -host a few other sites maybe - So the usual web hosting software like MySQL, PHP, statistics etc
    -ftp server for uploading websites
    -have some sort of shared folders - samba shares etc
    -some sort of backup solution - been looking at BackupPc (views?)
    -Possibility for an email server
    -I also need some sort of control panel as they make everything sooo much easier - I've tried webmin so far and it seams quite good, but some views on others would be nice.

    I have been running debian but I'm not sure about it, think ubuntu was better. Think I will try CentOS next though.
    I've looked at some distro's like SME and clark connect which have everything in the one, but I don't like the idea that you donít have a GUI so much, and it doesn't feel as flexiable to me, but thats me.

    I've also been thinking about VMWare virtual server. I've looked into it a bit and it seams a pretty good idea as it utilises the hardware more. It can also mean, I can keeps backups of the virtual machine and easily run it on another machine if hardware were to fail. I'm just not sure how this would work with the backup stuff, as I'd have massive images.

    I'd like to know what people think about these things, examples of maybe how you have set a server up and what software packages you may have used?

    Thanks for taking time to read and comment on this, I will much appreciate it as there are so many different options.

    Alex.

  2. #2
    Blackfooted Penguin daark.child's Avatar
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    To be frank with you, any distro can meet your needs. RHEL (and its derivatives like CentOS) are popular as server platforms and so is Debian. Ubuntu is a good server platform, but in my personal opinion, its not as well tested as RHEL, Debian or SUSE.

    Not having a GUI is the norm in most Linux servers, because generally GUIs are not needed since you can configure the system from the CLI. Also adding a GUI increases the potential security holes on your system. Most people who prefer point and click configuration use webmin which is a web interface that can be accessed remotely. You can then configure various aspects of the system and servers from a different computer.

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    -host our website - most important thing
    any distro will come with apache pre-installed or easily available through the package manager.

    -host a few other sites maybe - So the usual web hosting software like MySQL, PHP, statistics etc
    Again same as above. For the stats they're mainly PHP and MySQL based anyway and some are available from package managers.

    -ftp server for uploading websites
    Same again.

    -have some sort of shared folders - samba shares etc
    Samba isn't too hard to setup and again comes with nearly all distros.

    -some sort of backup solution - been looking at BackupPc (views?)
    Amanda (overkill probably). BackupPc aint bad, but I just prefer using cp.

    Code:
    cp -frup /original/* /backup/
    -Possibility for an email server
    Zimbra? Maybe overkill?

    -I also need some sort of control panel as they make everything so much easier - I've tried webmin so far and it seams quite good, but some views on others would be nice.
    OpenSuSE has yast, it's handy though I've found a couple of niggles with the iscsi module.

    It's down to personal preference really. My preference? Fedora. I would probably recommend OpenSuSe for you since you can configure your stuff quickly with yast.

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    Thanks for you replies!

    I'm thinking I will go for CentOS 5 since webmin/Virtualmin have an install script for it.
    Also think i'll get a 500 gig hard drive for back ups, think this will be big enough for now? Not sure if my motherboard has any sort of raid need to look in bios, but would that be the easiest option if I wanted to expand or mirror the hard drive? I looked at LVM but it seamed kinda complicated at first.

    Not been able to get BackupPC on the server I have going at the minute... not sure why, the web admin doesn't seam to want to work. But a new install may help with that. I'm more stuck with samba. I think I need to read through some more stuff as I cannot seam to get the permissions etc round my head =S. I can access 1 share I made but none of the others, the password window just keeps coming back up.

    Is there nothing where you can click boxes of share you want users to be able to access like in Windows server? ( I tired Windows home server out one time, was pretty easy, but I don't mind a challenge and I just dont trust Windows to actually work)

    Also, if I installed the GUI like Gnome. but didn't have it running all the time, would this still pose the security threats you mentioned?

    Thanks again for you replies (Y)

  6. #5
    Blackfooted Penguin daark.child's Avatar
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    Also, if I installed the GUI like Gnome. but didn't have it running all the time, would this still pose the security threats you mentioned?
    Security threats won't necessarily increase just because you installed a GUI. What I meant was having packages that are not really essential to running a server can increase the "potential" security threats/risks on a system. If you have to install a GUI on a server, try to avoid installing many userland apps e.g. office suites, chat clients etc.

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    If you learn to use just the cli you wont need a monitor or mouse. I have something similar setup for my home use minus the email server. It's been interesting having to learn the command line but I feel a lot more competent with linux in general for it

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