Is Nethserver the right option for me?

Hi all,

I’m a starting freelancer and want to set up my backoffice as privacy oriented as possible. This mainly because of the GDPR laws and because I’m not sure I’m (completely) trusting Big Tech anymore…
My wife works as a business/life coach and will possibly be using the same backoffice (or a second nethserver).

My main usage will be:

  • shared contacts, calendar and notes.
  • jopler synching (moving away from evernote)
  • matrix for chat/communication (moving away from whatsapp and FB Messenger)
  • storing documents (synched with workstation)
  • (possibly) mail (now using ISP IMAP mail)
  • (possibly) (Wordpress)website(s)

I have a background in IT: mainly Oracle database administration, but have ‘played around’ with Linux as well. And am willing to learn.

So, my main question is: is setting up my own nethserver (on VPS) the right choice/a viable idea?
Second question: what would be a good VPS host (budget is tight at the moment) to start with? I searched the forum, but most advice on this is quite old…

Thanks in advance,

René

@Reheer

Hello Réne

And welcome to the NethServer community!

As you can see from my TAG (Top left of any poster…) I support about 25-30 clients - almost all running NethServer as a VM on Proxmox. All use NethServer as primary server, with AD, Mail, Files, Print, NextCloud, Zabbix Monitoring and a few more…

I’d say NethServer would fit almost all your requirements - besides having one of the best forums for Open Source stuff to help you…
Our motto is: The only stupid questions are the ones not asked!

Using NethServer and the included Modules, I’d suggest:

NethServer as Basis

Nextcloud for:

  • Synching files with Workstation(s)
  • Calendering
  • Adressbook
  • Note (Evernote?)
  • and very many other!

Mail, at least with IMAPsync as a backup of what you have at your ISP
VPN (OpenVPN for Roadwarrior access).

If you want it really easy, NethServer has partnered with Digital Ocean and they offer a “ready to run” NethServer VPS…

Hope these answer your first questions…

My 2 cents
Andy

PS: Any chance you’re also from Switzerland?

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This is a great resource. I have personally spun up many droplets for demo events and this takes away tons of the pain of setting up NS if you do not have the hardware. Note inbound email will work just fine but I have found that the public DigitalOcean IP addresses were always on blacklists.

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I’ve been happy with Contabo. DO is slick, and they spin up droplets in a hurry, but it’s a lot more expensive for what you get. You’d set up a CentOS 7 VM, then install Neth on top of it following these instructions:

5 Likes

Thank you all!!

@Andy_Wismer: No, I’m from The Netherlands. But funny you ask that: I have been reading on the forum a bit longer and the first time I saw your name I thought you might be Dutch :smile:

Digital Ocean seems like a simple option (one-click install) but I try to keep away from US-based companies (again because of the GDPR thing).
Contabo might be a good option though.

But… thinking about things I’m considering the possibility of running things on a home server setup. I have a 1000 Mb/s FTTH connection and a very capable mikrotik router so that should make things possible.
In that case I would like to use Proxmox and maybe run 2 or 3 small nethserver instances (separating the businesses) and …
Would an Intel NUC 8i3BEH be an option? How much memory would I need? Other options (in this pricerange) or is this not an option?

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@Reheer

Hi René

I have been to the Netherlands several times, and not only to Amsterdam. From Vlissingen in the south to Den Helder in the north…

Have a look at this box:

With Xeon, and 64 GB RAM, it’s enough for Proxmox, ZFS and still is quite a powerhorse…
And nice and quiet, in that sense a good WAF (Wife acceptancy factor)…:slight_smile:

My 2 cents
Andy

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If you are on a tight budget you may consider a (used) refurbished server. With a bit of searching you can get good value for your money. Disadvantage is these servers can be noisy and power-hungry.

Maybe a bit trickery to buy a used server directly from someone who offers his/her server…

however on tweakers.net (a dutch site) some one offers a
HP ML310e Gen8 v2, Xeon 1240 v2 8 VM Cores, 16gb ECC RAM, 2TB HDD for 199 euro…
Not a powerhouse, and you may want to buy new hdd’s, it gets you going in a real tight budget. :grinning:

2 Likes

Also, “wasting” time and tries on your own hardware can cost you only power, time, hardware. Giving you the opportunity to really find what is the “size” of your needs.
A static public ip address may be a nice add, a public ip addres (even dynamic) is necessary for help you use from internet your installation.

If using VPS/Hosting is still a target, start considering NethServer directly a DMZ server for your mikrotik. It will “teach” you a lot if interesting things for a correct setup on a VPS. Of course, it’s a bit more tricky and difficult for starting but it will speed up the migration if needed.
Virtualizing more instances of nethserver may lead to a bit of struggle at the beginning.

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…and “wasting” time and tries on a VM doesn’t even cost the hardware–and if you snapshot carefully, makes reverting mistakes trivial. VirtualBox is free, so you can do a lot without needing to spend a dime.

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Thank you all for your advice!

When I looked up the Super Micro server @Andy_Wismer suggested and saw the pricetag, I realised that I was going to fast :smirk: When I get exited about something, I tend to act and think too big.

So I will go with the advice of @danb35 and @pike and start of with a VM and then later on switch to a Contabo VPS. And when things (budget) really start going, I will reconsider the homeserver setup.

Regards,
René

IMVHO a lots of “corporate” used PCs can allow to make an hardware “test” installation without too many issues for less than 200 euros, maybe a bit more if you want an SSD as system drive. Don’t forget some NAS Space or USB drive for backups :wink:

lol, you can run nethserver in a i3 with 4gb and 250GB disk… :smiley:

But of course you are kinda limited… but it runs smoothly!

Hi Rene,

what a question… Believe me, Nethserver is simply the best solution. For Business and also for Private.
Test it and you will never start again with MS Server-Systems.

Regards from Germany and be healty…

Uwe