[clug-talk] Server questions

D Bhardwaj dbhardwaj at shaw.ca
Tue Sep 20 11:51:43 PDT 2005

Not a long reply at all. Thanks.
This is a new install, and SBS was purchased but I can convince the big boss to put it on the shelf. :)
So, there is no migration, email, etc. Its for a startup company.
Shawn - does that change your response?
Although the time is of the essence as well - if I could do the basic install and then continue with the config from my home (that is the reason for remote access requirement), then I could devote a lot more time.
As far as security goes, there is a dlink router, the server box has 2 nics. Can something be done with this setup so negating the need for a separate firewall box?
Is one distro better than another for firewall? 

I am looking to gain from in terms of experience, and deliver to customer a good server that hopefully will require little maintenance, will not have MS exchange, 

----- Original Message -----
From: Shawn <sgrover at open2space.com>
Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:23 pm
Subject: Re: [clug-talk] Server questions

> You describe the basic server I use for my own organization, and 
> it is totally 
> Linux based.  However, there is a gotcha here...
> If you already have the SBS server, you need to look at the 
> databases you are 
> using.  Can they be easily moved to a different database server?  
> SBS uses a 
> variant of the MS SQL Server, which can have some specializations 
> that do not 
> work in other database systems.  So migration can be an issue.  On 
> the 
> otherhand, if you are just starting out and don't have any 
> databases set up 
> yet, then this is a non issue.
> Another consideration is the email system.  Do you already have 
> mailboxes on 
> the system, receiving mail?  Do you need to keep that existing 
> mail?  If so, 
> there are methods to migrate mail from exchange to an open source 
> solution, 
> but this must be considered as part of your decision.
> The only other consideration to make is the time you have 
> available.  Because 
> you feel your skills are weaker with server side packages (with 
> Linux), you 
> will need to go through the learning process.  We can help you 
> with that, but 
> it's not a one day process.  It will take time to really 
> understand how to 
> set up an email server with proper authentication,  and Samba for 
> file/print 
> sharing (again with proper authentication), and the database 
> system of your 
> choice, etc.  In contrast, you have already set up an SBS server 
> which covers 
> most of the items already.  
> (A word of caution though - my experience with the MS SBS Server 
> packages is 
> that they are horrendously bad.  They work fine for a VERY narrow 
> subset of 
> requirements, but once you try to do something outside this 
> subset, or even 
> try to upgrade, you will suffer a lot of grief.)
> If you have the time to build your system and skills at the same 
> pace, we 
> would be very happy to help you out.  A number of us have gone 
> through this 
> sort of thing before.  Also, the workshops we have been trying to 
> do are 
> targeted at this type of environment.
> Depending on your time and other requirements, I would encourage 
> you to walk 
> down this learning path.  You will end up much better off for it 
> in the long 
> run, and at the very least will gain the core knowledge to 
> understand how 
> these services work at a lower level - always useful when you have 
> to compare 
> systems, or work on a new but similar system.
> If you do decide to go with the Linux server, then I would suggest 
> the 
> following:
> - distro of your choice (some are better than others for behaving 
> as a server)
> - Samba server for file/print sharing
> - Simple scripts for backup (the TAR package IS meant for this)
> - MySQL or PostgreSQL (or both) for database
> - Apache Web Server with PHP support
> Most of these are configured with simple text files, but there are 
> helpful 
> tools (like Webmin) for this.  The hard part is understanding what 
> those 
> config files do, and what changes make sense.
> Best of luck on your project.  (sorry for the long response)
> Shawn
> On Tuesday 20 September 2005 09:15, D Bhardwaj wrote:
> > Seems like I missed a good instalfest where I could have asked these
> > questions. I have an opportunity to build a server. I would like 
> it to be
> > Linux but my experience lacks.
> >
> > Right now windows sbs 2003 has just been installed. I am 
> thinking of
> > removing it and putting a linux distro.
> >
> > Is this too big a project with my limited linux know how? All 
> this is for a
> > small venture but could grow.
> >
> > Ok. server needs to do server stuff (file server, database 
> server, web
> > server, print server, security, backup, remotely accessible). 
> Ok. my
> > current abilities (nervously) - I can install mandrake, suse, 
> and others I
> > am sure via default settings. Past the initial install I will 
> probably cry
> > help!! with guidance, I could probably install/configure apache, 
> mysql,> postgres, some pop3 email server thing.
> >
> > The constraints - I should be able to manage the install and 
> subsequent> maintenance. If this is too much, then I need avoid 
> this path.
> >
> > If your responses are going to cheer me on :) - please advise 
> what flavour
> > distro to use (ease of use for me, configurable, etc)
> >
> > I hope I did not ramble too much ;) -
> >
> > Dharam
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