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What UNIX is best for an all-in-one-server deployment

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# 1  
Old 11-09-2008
What UNIX is best for an all-in-one-server deployment


my university department wants to deploy a UNIX based system instead of various unnetokred windows PCs. We are trying to build a terminal server solution on either FreeBSD,Solaris or Debian Linux. The system would mostly run office applications on X11 and file sharing (with Samba). In addition the server should also run DNS, Email and web hosting on a small scale in the public internet( hosting a VERY small site advertising the department and running email). I would most likely be the only administrator involved and there will be only one single machine( a x86 with a Quad core intel processor and 4 or 8 GB RAM - x64 is preffered,but not necessary) booting a few terminals (old PCs) via network and PXE/Etherboot.

I have experience with all of the mentioned O/S, but I never ran any of them in a multi-user configuration. WHich one do you think would be the best choice( the budget is tigth, so we couldn't afford Windows or a commercial UNIX) causing the least administration hassles and giving most performance?

Thank you for your help....
Julian Bangert
# 2  
Old 11-10-2008
Have a look at Centos. Current version is 5.2. It is GNU/Linux based and basically tracks RHEL releases. Documentation is good and product is very stable.
# 3  
Old 11-10-2008
I agree. Centos is very stable although not leading edge in terms of newest software releases.
If you want to build a terminal Server have a look at FreeNX which at least comes with centos 4. It is a very fast terminal Server for Unix with clients available for Unix and windows. All traffic between client and server is compressed and tunnelt thru ssh.
# 4  
Old 11-11-2008
Thanks I looked into it.. .But how does FreeNX behave with things like (a) USB and CDROM disc access on clients (b) network booting (c) Webmin ???
Also do you think it would be better to use a virtualization solution to run multiple OS for the different tasks ( more security , use something like either VMWare ESX or Xen/BSD jail)
# 5  
Old 11-11-2008
CentOS is a solid choice

but If you have any money for it, I am a big fan of SUSE, for the ease of use as well as great support. You can use SLES for a nominal fee as well as OpenSUSE if you want something more bleeding edge. OpenSUSE is free, while CentOS has the benefit of being RHEL but without the "red hat" in it.

If I were you, I'd have a bake off on about 3 and see which ones are easies to use and meet my needs, as well as being secure and update friendly.

Also, VMware ESX is costly, but good. Xen, after being bought by Citrix, lost a lot of flavor for me and some others. As well, without their IO drivers, the performance on IO tasks was mediocre at best.

You can always use the free VMware server on a host OS, with minimal loss.

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