Server Tech

SME Server – Linux based Open Source Network & Communications Server

SME Server is a Linux based Open Source freely download-able GUI based Server package that gives you all the functionalities you might want in a Network & Communications Server like DNS, DHCP, Web Server, Mail Server, File Server, Internet Sharing, etc. Importantly, SME Server gives you all those functionalities in a single package and you can install it using the GUI interface within 20 minutes! Yeah, it can be downloaded free of cost.

Before I go in to the functionalities of this server package, I want to say something about Spoon Feeding. Yes, you read it right – Spoon Feeding. In the network infrastructure world, some of us are overly cautious and faint at the slightest mention of the words like, ‘Open Source’, ‘Linux’, ‘CLI – Configuration’, etc. We want everything ready made and we are wholly risk averse.

If an installation does not happen within 30 minutes, our first reaction would be to – change the software (or) go back to Step -1 (or) go to the spoon-feeding vendor, etc. We don’t even try installing it on a different hardware! If there is a slightest glitch, we opt only for tele-conference with the vendor (and) expect them to take our systems on remote and solve the problem. We do not know what it is to get supported by a huge community/ Internet and we shiver at the thought of submitting a bug and requesting for a fix!

So obviously, we might require an entire software team to get any additional (small) functionality. We would rather prefer going with the commercial vendor who doesn’t disclose the code, as it doesn’t give us options! Only if there are options, there are risks – right? 🙂 We are so much bothered about solving our problem instantly (as if that ever happens with anyone) but don’t bother to see how much we have learned from the experience!

Continuing with the topic, here are some functionalities supported by SME Network & Communications Server:

1. Single Internet connection can be shared with multiple computers.

2. Web browser – based GUI (Graphical User Interface) for management.  Even remote management is possible through SSH, PPTP, http over SSL, etc.

3. Supports networking of Linux, Windows and Mac based Clients (Computers).

4. Based on two stable, secure and server class Linux OS – Cent OS & Redhat OS.

5. Email Server (qmail) and Webmail (Horde IMP) packages included & so is shared email address book.

6. DNS (djbdns and dns cache) & DHCP Server packages included.

7. File Server (Samba) package included.

8. Web Server (Apache) package included.

9. Web Cache for better Internet/ WAN performance.

10. User space Quota Management on the server.

11. Email Anti-Virus and Hard Drive Scanning (Clam AV) packages included.

12. Anti-Spam for Email (Spam Assassin)

13. ‘i-bays’ to create collaborative intranet and extranet portals that can be used by employees/ customers to access/share data.

14. SME server can be configured to be the Work-group and Domain Controller.

15. FTP Server (ProFTPd) package included.

16. Three installation modes – Server only, Private server and gateway & (Public)Server & Gateway.

Further, software based Server RAID and Disk Mirroring can be applied for disk redundancy. SME Server is an open source package with a modular architecture that allows programmers to develop additional modules without changing existing modules.

SME Server uses unmodified packages from upstream providers like CentOS, Redhat, RPM Forge, etc so that any of their RPM’s can work with SME Server. All the updates from the upstream providers are intimated through an update notification system.

Even non technical personnel who are not very familiar with Linux can install and use this package, as step by step installation / configuration & trouble shooting tips are available on the Internet & an exhaustive documentation is provided by the maintainers of SME Server.

So, why not take the smallest risk and try this one? 🙂

You can read a nice review of SME Server from here.

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