Replacing Win Server 2016 with Nethserver?

(cb) #1

NethServer Version: 7.4
Module: (not sure what this means)

i5 4430 4c/4t
120GB SSD (OS drive)
4x 4TB WD Reds for data
1x Intel I217V nic
2x Realtek 8111 nics
Current OS: Windows Server 2016 Essentials

Resources checked already: Howto install NethServer as Samba AD domain controller v0.2

I want to move away from Windows server. Currently use it for AD, client backups (2x Win 10, 1x Manjaro), File server. Both Win 10 machines are AD/domain joined, Manjaro machine is not (but would like it to be). This is a home server used for personal use, just fyi

I am not looking to migrate anything. I want to completely blow out the current machines, fresh installs of Win10/Manjaro and rebuild the server using Nethserver. New domain, new accounts, etc.

My #1 issue right now is understanding how to setup DNS on the Nethserver. In a VM (VMWare Player 14) I managed to setup everything else setup, a Windows 10 VM could ping the server but the server could not ping the Win10 Client nor could the client connect to the domain (a message on Windows 10 about not being able to find the domain). This could very well have to do with the VM networking and “promiscuous mode” but I couldnt figure out exactly how to ensure that was set. Likely a non-issue when I do this bare metal.

The next part I am unsure of is if there is a built in app or a “go-to” option for client backups (scheduled, incremental), similar to what Win 2016 Essentials offers.

The last part I was unclear about was shared folders. I see the option, and it has a field to name the folder but I see no option for deciding where its actually located. Is there a default location these all are placed in? How can I make sure these end up on my 4x 4TB “array” and not on the 120GB SSD used for the OS?

I am brand new to Nethserver (just found out about it a day ago) and am excited for the prospects it offers in replacing my Windows Server. My apologies if some of my questions are real simple, but I am sure with a little guidance I can learn and someday contribute back to others who then will be like I am now. Thanks

So, what are you working on? - 13 March 2018
(Vhinz Sanchez) #2

@Zer0Cool, Welcome!

I’ll jump in. Pls. do bear in mind that I haven’t tried the few latest builds. However, if you may, have you checked It points to which pretty much contains further links on how to proceed after installation.

Before addressing your concerns I have few questions myself:

  1. What have you done with the installation?
  2. After what steps are you having an issue with?
  3. Just to make sure, have you inputted the correct hostname? Configured networks? Installed bind and configured Active Directory as the account provider?
  4. You specifically had mentioned DNS, have you checked

As for the 2nd part of your query, I may not be the best person to assist you (neither perhaps the 1st but I might be able to help you out. I’m sure that others will contribute as soon as they see your post.

(Riens van Hertum) #3

Perhaps this video will give you also some ideas to start?

(Michael Träumner) #4

Did you try to ping your Win 10 with the IP or the hostname? Also you may have a look at the Win 10 firewall, if ping is blocked.

Please have a look at this post too:

and here:


is the location.Better not to change it, because of the backup.
If you want to have another location you can mount the other location to the /var/lib/nethserver/ibay folder.

(cb) #5

Thanks everyone for the replies. A friendly, active, helpful community and good documentation speak volumes to the quality of a distro and so far both have been great.

I will have to take some time to read over what has been provided so far.

To answer some of the questions posed to me:
@vhinzsanchez I am not having trouble with any specific step exactly. Just looking for info prior to implementing it live, as my understanding of how to set things up properly is deficient. I have checked that DNS documentation, and its starts with “NethServer can be configured as DNS (Domain Name System) server inside the network.” but to be honest, from a newbie perspective, doesnt do much to explain how it can be done.

@m.traeumner I can ping from win10 to server using IP but not hostname. I can not ping from server to Win10 using either. Checking the Win10 firewall isnt a bad idea, ill give it a shot.

Ok so If I have my OS drive (120GB SSD) and an array (4x 4TB, say Raid5), how do I create shares on the array instead of the SSD? Would mounting the array at /var/lib/nethserver/ibay effectively mean that new folders created would end up on the array and not the OS drive?

Also, can anyone suggest a backup solution for client machines (Win10 and Manjaro/Linux clients)? The simpler the better. Really only interested in backing up files/documents in an incremental fashion, dont need full backups. Im perfectly ok with clean install of OS and then just copying files back from a backup.


(Vhinz Sanchez) #6

Hi @Zer0Cool, you came to the right place. The people here are friendly and helpful, rest assured, you’ll be up and running in no time.

Have you installed the DNS role? Is this along with DHCP role?

Is it the only DNS/DHCP in the network?

No comment. Better leave it to the experts.

Also, have not tried this but my previous understanding is that you can connect (via Windows Administrative Tools, in WinXP/7 called adminpak) to the NethServer DC. If that is so, you can configure folder redirection for the My Documents, Desktop, etc of users. That will have you covered for Windows10. WIth Manjaro, I have no experience but perhaps you can create a link in their Desktop Account pointing their folder in the server.

Now that you have a central repository in the server, you can back up the server using the integrated backup solution.

This is just on the top of my mind, so bear with me. Hope these suggestions lead you to answers.

(Michael Träumner) #7

You have to go to the softwarecenter and install DNS. After this step you have DNS at your menue and can add hosts and alias. If you have a windows client you also can use admin tools like @vhinzsanchez said.

Yes I think so, but perhaps @giacomo can tell us something about it.

Or you can use rsync to copy files and folders to the server. At the server you can use the inline backup:

(Alessio Fattorini) #8

Welcome back Vhinz, happy to see you around again :slight_smile: Thanks for your always wise advice.
Hi @Zer0Cool you’re welcome too :slight_smile:

(cb) #9

Thanks all for the input. I am hoping to be able to focus on this now this weekend. Possibly even on my physical server. Hoping I can make the time and that the 8tb external HDD I ordered arrives before the weekend to backup to.

At that point I can better reply to all your input.

In brief I did install the DNS role. I however wasnt sure and didn’t see any documentation to detail how to make the server the DNS server instead of using something like Google’s DNS (

I think I had DHCP installed but not active/setup.

I think having both the Nethserver and win10 client in VM’s added a layer of complexity to the networking I never got past.

I figure if I can backup my data then I can just use physical machines instead of waiting time troubleshooting VM’s that are only for testing.

I currently have my Manjaro machine cron a script I wrote to rsync backups to my server, so I could likely use that. Just was hoping there may be an easy, cross platform client backup solution to simplify things. Using folder redirection/roaming profiles may be an option too.

Also, is it typical for people to use any antivirus on Nethserver? I don’t mind a paid solution if it’s a good consideration for security. Currently use Bitdefenders business server/end point product, and clamav on Manjaro. Is it safe to assume any product compatible with red hat/centos is compatible with Nethserver?


(Marc) #10

For client backups you can find BackupPC and UrBackup modules for NerhServer.

(Michael Träumner) #11

For some modules like mail and proxy, not for file-sharing, but you can have a clamav scanner for that, which searches once a day. Please read the following threads, the first discribes that’s better not doing a permanent scan and the second is about a module to configure scanning once a day, a week and so on.

(cb) #12

Do you have a preference as to which is easier to use/most reliable?

@m.traeumner Ill check that info out. I guess I can stick to ClamAV on server and Manajro and get retail/client licenses for AV on my Windows 10 machines instead of endpoint protection.

As far as storage goes, I am just using onboard sata from my ASRock Z87e-ITX controller. ASRock site says its RAID 5 capable, but I have my suspicions that it may only apply to software raid in Windows.

If RAID 5 isnt an option at the controller/software raid, is there any solution that will allow me to pool my 4x 4TB drives and allow for either selectively implementing parity/duplication (per folder) or imitating RAID 5 (or providing better space efficiency)?

In other words under RAID 5 my 16TB would actually be 12TB usable, if RAID 5 isnt an option is there any solution that may provide at least the same or better usable space while still giving me the parity/duplication benefits to survive a single drive failure?

note: I know I am bombarding you guys with a ton of “newb” questions. Its not that I refuse to read up and educate myself, I fully plan to, it will just take me time to get up to speed. I do however find the input of experienced users to be invaluable and often more helpful than generic documentation.

Thank you for your help and patience.

(Marc) #13

Not really. Never tried BackupPC, and haven’t used urBackup since ages (only on Windows).
I think to recall you’d to fine tune urBackup network settings as the first backups took long time and many network resources (depending on the type of backup). It is client-server backup model, whereas BackupPC doesn’t need to install anything on the client, if I’m not wrong.

I think @Hunv, @flatspin and @stephdl can give more reliable opinions. Also take a look at:

(Stéphane de Labrusse) #14

urbackup is client software based, really focused on the windows world, even if you could backup linux client
backupPC is cool, no need of additional software to backup, except if you want to use rsync on windows.

I do prefer backupPC, waiting the v’ on epel to release it, actually I have it running on my server

(cb) #15

Thanks, but not sure what you mean here. After reading some of the prior info about both option I think I am leaning towards your recommendation of BackupPC.

I am currently prepping to install Nethserver this weekend by backing up all my data. Im gonna wipe the server and install Nethserver. I am going to wipe 1 of my Windows 10 machines and fresh install 10 and then configure it all and get it working. Once all is good Ill wipe/clean install Win 10 on my other laptop and then approach setting up my Manjaro laptop as well.

Likely spend Saturday morning into afternoon reading Nethserver documentation/forums.

Still could use some clarification on how exactly I make Nethserver act as the DNS server to the other machines on the network. Does being the DNS server require being the DHCP server as well?

Is there a place I set Nethserver to be the DNS server or do I set it to look at something like and then on clients set them to look at my Nethserver IP for DNS (and set the entry in Nethservers DNS page under hosts)


(cb) #16

I am also realizing I am not quite sure how I should approach my storage either.

The 120GB SSD as the OS drive is easy enough, but I am unsure how I should handle my 4x 4TB data drives, IE; if I should do raid 5 via the sata controller, some sort of software raid from within Nethserver (mdadm I have heard of but never used) or an alternative program to pool the drives (that offers some form of parity)

Any help would be great, Thanks. Googling around I have found mention of SSM which seems involved but if its the way to go ill do it. Havent found much else on the matter.

(Ralf Jeckel) #17

As I was mentioned by @dnutan my few words:

I use urbackup now for about 1,5 years for about 12 windows-clients in a small network. It works stayable and is easy to handle. The installation is still on NS 6.9 so it’s urback 1.4.14 I tried backpc with the win-clients and rsync, but was not so happy. But urbackup is really win focused. You have to install the client-sotware on all machines to backup. For 15 clients not so hard, for some more it would be a lot of work. But with NS 7 and AD it should be possible to deploy it by GPO. Client configuration is in GUI on Server. Restore of folders or single files are easy. SO all in all I’m happy with it. But I’m a lazy guy, so I didn’t try to much diffrerent soutions… :wink:

mdadm is software raid, as you mentioned, and offers raid 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10, so it offers parity and failure tolerance. I use it on this installation with 4 smaller disks, all active, no spare. It’s stayable, but won’t give the performance of hardware raid. mdadm is easy to handle IMO and well documented. I found a lot of howtos and could solve all my problems so far with howtos from internet.
Here is a little tool to calculate raid levels for storage and failure tolerance.

(Michael Träumner) #18

You can install the DNS role at softwarecenter, your clients should have nethserver as DNS. At nethserver configuration page go to network, then open the DNS Servers tab and set the entries for external primary and secondary DNS.
You don’t need to use DHCP for this.

(Vhinz Sanchez) #19

Great! Looking forward to reading nextweek on how your weekend went. Experience is a great teacher.

DNS and DHCP are 2 different things (as you may already know) but they are and can be easily integrated especially in MS world. As DNS server, it holds all records of internal network, forwards external queries ( and retains cache for a certain amount of time.

Be careful on what RAID you are going to use. If you speak of the hardware RAID, it usually is an additional card or module. It is, as they say, the most reliable one. mdadm is the most popular (actually, I don’t know any other software RAID…well, aside from Windows Storage Spaces if you consider it software RAID) software RAID. From what I’ve read and in my experience, it is reliable.

Now be careful on the RAID which motherboards claim to include. Others may call it fakeraid or chipset raid. It may seem hardware RAID as it is directly integrated with the motherboard, but in reality, is a software RAID handled by BIOS (BIOS stores config and software RAID reads it when it loads with the OS…or something like that to that extent). You can read more on

Also, what are your 4x4TB drives? Hopefully it is enterprise-grade if you are to use it with production data. Also, it might help if it is over 10k RPM. Read somewhere that 7200 RPM is not good for RAID5, better use RAID10 if this will be the case.

@alefattorini, its a pleasure to extend my help or share my knowledge, its kind of give and take. I always like to ambiance here. Just lost some time to check and respond, but still reading once in a while though, specially your monthly email updates.

(Alessio Fattorini) #20

New one is coming next week :slight_smile: