Why choose LINUX as your server solution?

LINUX is the operating system of choice for a great many large corporate networks. The product is part of, indeed the start of, the open source revolution which is steadily gaining momentum. The notion that software should evolve though the intellectual input of many and be available to all vs the giant monopolies which use fiscal power to drive markets and purchase knowledge.

Even on direct comparison, LINUX is the leading choice. Far more stable, more resource efficient and virtually immune to virus attacks. Now consider that LINUX has no licencing costs at all and you're starting to catch on. When I say "no licencing costs", I mean just that, and remember the same goes for operating system upgrade costs which Microsoft just love to dump onto their multitude of followers every few years or so. Of course, LINUX servers don't actually require a multitude of updates anyway and are more likely to err on the side of collecting cobwebs than requireing system updates.

Think that's all you're going to save. Think again!

Whilst not every piece of software written for LINUX is free, there is a vast amount offered in the the Open Souce spirit from many companies who are happy to let small businesses use their basic products for free.

What We Offer

We supply the server hardware plus the LINUX OS and configure the system to the requirements of your company

I will now list the services which would be implemented on the server:

  • Samba - Effectively emulates the capabilities of a Microsoft NT4 server and includes:
    • File Server - fully supported.
    • Print Server - some limitations with Windows printers
    • Domain login - full domain logins will be provided together with basic login script.
    • Roaming Profiles - fully supported..
  • Internet Gateway with packet firewall.
  • DHCP - configured to provide central configuration of workstations on the network.
  • Dynamic DNS - A well configured Domain Name Server can reduce admin time and will itself also be used by many other services.
  • Postfix/Cyrus - Your local POP3, IMAP & SMTP server for all company e-mail.
  • X-Window Server - the real powerhouse if LINUX servers. Run true Linux (or UNIX) applications from Microsoft workstations using commercial emulation software. Great for remote server admin too!
  • Squid - A very powerful Caching Proxy server.
  • Apache - World's leading Web Server.

So what does all this cost?

This obviously depends on your starting point. You might for example have:
  1. Not a single PC in sight
  2. Various PCs in different departments but no network integration at all
  3. You have an existing peer to peer LAN but without any true server support.
  4. You have a dedicated server but it's not providing the services you think it should.

We don't use computers

Then you're in the minority and there might just be some good reason why you want to keep it that way.

Solution: You need to look at your application requirements, if any, before anything else.

No Network

Quite a few companies fit in this category. The inefficiency a company suffers from the lack of any IT infrastructure is likely to increase very quickly with the number of workstations in use.

Solution: Cabling + LINUX server + workstation configuration.

Peer to Peer Network

A large number of companies fit this category too. The reason is largely psychological. The logic to the un-initiated is quite simple - " why buy another (expensive) computer unit if no one will even use it". In truth, of course, the server holds the network together. A large network of peered PCs can become quite a task to manage and it is in this area that the largely unrealised benefits of a serviced LAN come to the fore. Rather ironically, many of the newer Microsoft operating systems which attempt to guess the proper network configuration actually make a server based solution even more important.

Solution: Linux server + workstation configuration.

You've got all this but it doesn't do much.

Once again this is an all too common scenario. Perhaps you have an existing Microsoft server, (NT4, 2000 etc) but it doesn't seem to be providing many benefits. Very likely the supplied hardware will be of quite a respectable specification (You've got the invoice to prove it!) but it just doesn't seem to be providing any really tangible benefits. The problem here is that you can have the fastest server on the planet installed but it wont do you a lot of good until at the very least some basic services have been configured.. I've come across some good installations but I've also seen servers installed with so few services running, or properly configured, that you wonder why they even bothered to install it. Then we have the ‘prayer book' installation. Everything is running on default settings (class ‘B' network on NT servers a dead giveaway here) and it seems an act of faith that the system runs at all!

Solution: Find someone who can configure your LAN properly or move to LINUX.

Jason Shouler