OK a simple question or two in preparation to new setup

I have ask some questions couple of years back, and since than I have been searching all over the place for a distro to help me setup my home server. so far have not found anything that would fully satisfy my needs/wants for the setup. so here I am again.
again, at the time the nethserver did not have support for some futures I want, specifically BTRFS ,but v7 does have it out of the bag so it is a huge plus for me.

the questions I have are :

#1. Does anyone run NethServer as a Virtualization server.
I know there is a build in support for KVM setup and WebVirtManager plugin is there as well. but does anyone useing it?

#2. if Q#1 is a “Yes” , can you do a passthrough to VM on this setup?
I am not sure if I need it just yet, but good to know if it is possible. also if you can help on how to do it properly.

Now does this seams doable and reasonable configuration ?
#3. if Q#1 and #2(optional) are “Yes” can I build a setup like so:
a. A nethserver on my hardware (I have a 24 bay superMicro with dual 6 core CPU and 49GB ram. 2 ssd and 6 or 8 hdds of various size )
I will install nethserver on raid1 SSD set
and all data will be on the btrfs raid10 pool
I will install the webVirtManager and File Server plugins.
I will setup a BTRFS pool (I know it have to be done manually and in CLI )
I will mount and create storage folders on the pool etc…
b. I want to install and setup webMin on Host to help with other management chores. I tested it and it seams to run and work just fine.

 c.  I want to setup an NFS share(s) on the host to provide an access to specific folders and data to VMs.

now the more difficult questions…

this server will be behind the firewall/router but I want/need to
a. provide access to the data from outside(internet)
and maybe a VPN config to be able to access the server for management.
what are my options and how to set this up properly?

b. how can I setup SMART monitoring, so it would alert me for any drives failure or possible failure?

c. what is the best way to setup an access to the server from outside the network(internet) ?

I am building out a SFF PC with Proxmox and pfSense for my firewall
where I will provide the forwarding and such, I can however switch to NethServer instead but i am not sure how to setup and manage the firewall and other things safely. I used pfSense before so it a bit easier but nothing stops me from making a second VM and try the nethServer, hence the Proxmox setup as opposed to bare metal.

what really appealing, for me, with NS is the support for BTRFS now, so I can easily have a Virtualization and file server on the host.

thanks for the kind words and help. Vlad

My home setup sounds like what you are describing. I use Nethserver as my firewall, ips, dhcp server, vpn server, and vm server. Setting up the firewall and features is fairly intuitive. When I came to nethserver from Zentyal i was able to feel my way around, so to speak, and set up everything i needed. I encourage you to give it a try. If you have any specific questions about my setup feel free to ask.


Even if NS is a good product, I’m not sure I will rely on it for a virtualisation server, said that, we need to know what you want to virtualise, just one machine and you don’t need to watch really what is occurring, some development VM that you can lost, clone, drop.

If you want a real server where to virtualise, then proxmox is your friend, and NS rocks on it. All my Infra is virtualised.

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would you please elaborate on why you wouldn’t use NS for Virtualization.
I mean, it is based on CentOS, which is essentially a Red Heat distro, so a proven enterprise ready distro.
you would use a KVM, which is also a proven, Linux centric technology that is also used in Proxmox. infact Proxmox is basically a nice webUI for KVM, so why use Proxmox and not NS?

FYI, I do not have anything against Proxmox.
I am looking at it as a very possible Host setup.
but Proxmox, just like other Virtualization solutions have certain limitations when it comes to what I want to do with my setup, so I am looking at all possible candidates I have access to to find the best suited for my needs/wants.

To answer your question about my planed setup and uses…

I want to build out a single host storage and virtualization server to use for my home. nothing overly special. BUT I really need to have whole storage on the host as all my drives are in that one machine.
I only plan to run 2 physical machine in the house dedicated for a server room setup, One machine I am building out is a Router/Firewall replacement.
it will be a Lenovo ThinkCentre M80 machine running Proxmox and pfSence or NS setup and would act as a Router/FireWall/ DNS / DHCP / VPN machine for the whole house. it will be directly connected to my cable modem instead of the cable companies router, and than plugged in into my main 24 port netgear switch. I will try the NS setup and pfSense to see which one I can use most easily.

than I will have a main data/vm server build out on my super micro 24 bay server(The HOST). the Host will only have 2 roles,
a VM server to hold/run all VMs I want and File server to provide access to the local disks holding all my data.
my data consists of :
Media files :slight_smile:
all my ripped CD/DVDs for local streaming ot HTPC)
all my Audio disks for backup and htpc streaming
all my home videos and pictures

miscellaneous backups for software disks and setup files
backup for personal files for all family.

I have an external 5TB disk that I will be using to backup most of the data on to for an external copy/second backup.

PS>> just an FYI kind of thing, I have setuped an NS server as a nested VM under windows 10 Hyper-V for testing.
so fat I like what I see.
I enable nested virtualization for the VM
I give it 2 OS drives, 2 NIC interfaces, 6GB ram
I installed on RAID-1 disk. (did not test the bootability of the setup yet)
I run updates, and install webvirtmanager.
created a VM and loading up Debian on it. it is a bit slow but it is a VM in the VM so performance is not as bad as you would expect.

I also load a Webmin on the NS host and it seams to be a good supplement for NS management. not to run ahead too much, but it might be good alternative for Proxmox for me. I hope the NS 7 is released soon. I feel kind of wary using beta/rc1 for what essentially a production setup, even if it is just a home server.

well… if you need a server with many features and optionally a virtualization host, go for NS…
if you need to virtualize many machines and then you need a server too, go for proxmox and a virtual NS

I only need a server with 2 features (as in a physical machine fulfilling 2 roles)
a Virtualization Host to run several VMs, I do not expect to run more than 10 VM at most.
and a File server to give me access to the Hosts hard drives as this is the only server box I have.

with Proxmox I will have to either do a disk/controller passthrough into file server VM, or manage the hosts disks somehow and use NFS shares to provide access to them. if I have to do that than I might as well run NS for the Hosts OS, why use Proxmox. I will have to do exactly the same setup in both cases and I think NS will be a better suited for it.

that is, to get where I want/need to be I will have to run OS (Proxmox or NS) to manage the VMs and some hardware features
and load webmin to manage things that both Proxmox and NS leave out. like
local storage, NFS sharing, disk health (SMART)* etc.
although Proxmox does have SMART tools installed by default, the use of it is not straight forward as many would like. even so, it only applies to OS and localstore disks, any extra hardware is omitted as if it not even there.
NS does the same thing. hence the need for webmin or CLI use.

Webmin and Nethgui on the same machine might badly interfere together.

Proxmox gets a lot of monitoring solutions for your VM with a console that you can start to debug problems, you have logs about what it occurs. For NS you have GUI to simplify the VM management, I don’t use it so I cannot talk about it, please test and report.

I am running the NS and webmin on the same machine now.
and I have run it with Proxmox as well.

unless you try to manage the same resources from both it is ok.

I mean if there is something you can do from both UIs, than do it from the primary one.
i.e. NS can manage network ok. so anything I can do from the NS UI I should do there.
now I should not manage network from Webmin, but I can use it to edit config files as it is easier than using vi or nano. at least for me. basic editing is fine but I do not know vi or nano well enough for more complex editing, like cut and paste etc.

could you please make an example of files you need to manually edit?

I agree with Stephdl: webmin in NS is dangerous and should not be installed

I know what you mean :slight_smile:

@vl1969 NS works with a template system , you cannot edit files directly because your changes will be lost

so, when someone here says "oh you need to edit this or this in CLI"
it’s ok ?
NS does not have control over all the system features, you simply can not manage the whole OS from with in NS. ther left out options are either use CLI or a supplementary GUI.
granted, the second UI should not be used arbitrary and without caution,
if you are careful ,and understand what exactly you are doing it might be ok.

as for what file I need to edit, well it can be anything.
example, NS does not support NFS directly.
any and all NFS config had to be done CLI vi or nano.
using webmin helps as it has a file browser built in, and file editor built in.
both support search, and cut/past directly.

or SMART tools. I do not see anything in NS that show support for SMART.
in WebMin I have a GUI output that I can use nicely.

obviously I am not touching any system config files there.


Right, because in this case, NS doesn’t provide a rpm for that, if at the top you see

* **************** DO NOT MODIFY THIS FILE **************** *
 * Manual changes will be lost when this file is regenerated.
 * Please read the developer's guide, which is available
 * at https://dev.nethesis.it/projects/nethserver/wiki/NethServer
 * original work from http://www.contribs.org/development/
 * Copyright (C) 2013 Nethesis S.r.l. 
 * http://www.nethesis.it - support@nethesis.it
 * ********************************************************** *

then it is a template system that you cannot modified, it will be rewritten by an event called

the list of event is findable at /etc/e-smith/events

yep, any file like that I keep my hands off :slight_smile:
also I check here for any help on any tools or utilities I might want to add to the system to see if it supported or if I add it to the system it may screw up anything.

but still webmin is very helpful in managing things that NS does not have built in support for.
and I would have the same issue in Proxmox as well.

PS>> I am trying to setup VM in my test NS install. but I am not sure if it is NS issue or because of nested virtualization (I run NS in Hyper-V VM and am trying to run KVM in that setup.) I can not install the OS on my VM.
the whole install runs fine but it gets stack on Installing GRUB/ looking for other OS. 16%.
if all is the same, I may have to do a trial run on a real hardware to test this.

I beg your pardon but you’re doing it wrong :slight_smile:

if you use a simple text editor like nano via putty you can paste and copy all the text
if you don’t feel comfortable with this way, just use filezilla (it works on any O.S.), go to the desired folder/file, right click and “edit”… this will open the file with the internal file editor or, if you prefer, with your favourite editor… when you save the file, you save it directly on the server…

don’t, I repeat don’t mix NS and webmin, it can lead to unpredictable issues, it uses resources, it’s potentially unsecure.

I cannot fully agree with you here for one simple reason,
the filezilla, putty and other such programs need to be installed on the client system.
where if I am running webmin it is all fully web enabled and can/will work on any system without any additional software client except webbrowser.

now if you are telling me not to use webmin with NS, I can say fine, but that might mean that I may not be able or want to use NS for my primary host OS in this case.
I did however see some one here installing Cockpit on NS and not getting as dire warnings as webmin did here. why is that?

putty (or other similar app) works on your smartphone too…
IIRC Steph made a shellinabox module, so you can have your CLI on your web browser too without installing anything (and webmin in first instance)

about cockpit, I suspect you missed the point… cockpit installs and runs fine on NS, but can’t and must not be used… you’d find a post (mine with this account or the expired old one) where I say I spoke with the main dev of cockpit and he said that it’s not the right tool and why.

generally speaking, any tool (web, cli, $whatever) that can edit/modify your server outside NS interface/paradigm is potentially dangerous…

you are obviously free to do as you prefer, but, believe me, you’re searching problems with google maps (if you know what I mean)

I think we are arguing semantics here :slight_smile:

I totally agree with you about this “any tool (web, cli, $whatever) that can edit/modify your server outside NS interface/paradigm is potentially dangerous…”

but, installing webmin on NS is not going to screw things up in itself. neither running webmin alongside NS.

and I am not advocating this setup for everyone.
but if you take some precautions ,and think before jumping in head first. you should be able to safely use both to manage and administer the server.

I would love to find the package that has all the things I need or want. so far I did not found any that have all in one tool.

NS has a great set of tools , but not everything the one needs to fully manage and administer the headless servers in configuration I am trying to achieve. neither Proxmox or ESXi or XenServer. except for NS, the rest of them are great virtualization tools but they luck simple features like local disk administration outside of the system datastore setup.
nowaday and age a local storage config is very needed, but it is absolutely missing from the OS.

NS on the other hand is not a virtualization system, so why is it that it too luck the interface to manage the underlying hardware fully? I can not imagine that managing the disks is more complicated than managing network interfaces or a firewall.

all community modules can be found at http://wiki.nethserver.org/doku.php?id=modules

Well, sure the talk is cheap :), it was asked some time ago, I never started on this, it is a huge work.

Sorry, you’re wrong
Think about a production server with some TB of data and a bug… Bye bye data

“Think about a production server with some TB of data and a bug… Bye bye data”

but that would be true for all management software.
I am not saying it is simple, but if NS is a general server management UI, than it needs to have the ability to manage all aspects of the server. if it is a specialized UI like Firewall or File Server or DC, only, than fine. it is a specialize application and has no business of managing the whole system.
however if that is the case than users need to have other avenues open to manage it.

but again, if it can be a file server it need an ability to manage the underlying data disks. maybe?