What jobs/tasks is NethServer the best at?

For example non OS:

A hammer is the best to get in a nail. Could use a screw driver, but that is not the best tool for the job/task.

Comparing NethServer to other distros in the same category (not for example against pfSense - one of many distros designed for connection sharing), what jobs/task is it the best at?

Thank you

1 Like

Ehi Ted, great to see you in here and welcome!
That’s a good question, definitely, I’m curious to hear what others think: @Hunv @pierre_bourdin @a4rgl @petralemoisson @AZChas @andreac @jackyes @bwdjames @Adam
We have used NethServer in several different ways, I hope that everyone shares his opinion here.

Hi,
If you look in detail, Nethserver is bundling many different already existing peaces of software into one platform and manages it for you.
For example for the Firewall-Stuff, Shorewall is used.

To use your example:
Nethserver is not a tool, it is the toolbox. In this toolbox are different tools, that are branded with the word “Nethserver”.
You can buy and use all of them separate and unbox, mount and test it yourself, but you can also get a toolbox, where everything is preconfigured and you can uses it out-of-the-box.

But I think that is not what you want to hear, but that is what it is.
Many of us are using different parts of Nethserver more or less. Some are using (nearly) all parts. I can say I use it as a UTM (Firewall, VPN, Routing, DNS, DHCP, Reverse Proxy). It is also important, that this is not a closed system. You are always able to get to the OS itself and adjust things by yourself like in every other Unix disto. For me this two parts are the best of Nethserver, but I don’t know the other parts very well.

3 Likes

i love nethserver because i can crate a system with mail,samba share,openvpn and virtual machine in minuts!
The centos base guarantees update for long time and a solid base!

Note that it can run on a pii too! wich it is perfect for a homeserver (samba,vpn,mail,printserver,etc)

i don’t use it as firewall because i think that this part is still to be improved :wink:

3 Likes

Actually, NethServer is composed of several programs (just like other UTMs/servers). I think, the real question should be, what sets it apart from competition (or others) like the list below:

  • Some may think great community which helps each other out and listening for some feature requests.
  • Some, the ease of use/setup including the interconnection of programs/features.
  • Others, would point-out, some features like mail, backup, redundancy, etc.
3 Likes

About my experience, I used Nethserver as PDC, UTM, mail server, Backup Station and also as a server for the distribution of multi-platform centralized antivirus solution (DrWeb), file server and so on…

1 Like

That sounds very interesting! Can you explain us what have you realized?

1 Like

I see NethServer as a collection of best of breed technologies, all aimed towards providing solutions to the most common business server and network needs.

Countless other distros have similar offerings, but in my opinion, none of them are put together anywhere near as well as NethServer.

On top of this, NethServer has THE best active community I have ever had the pleasure of be involved in. I have never came across such a great and helpful community of people.

7 Likes

NethServer is an ‘all-rounder’ in that it fulfils the requirements of most SME/offices for a single hardware but multi-purpose host. We did look at the others (Zentyal, SME8, etc) but came back to NethServer because it is easily managed (reboot after an update - never!).
As others have said, it has the features needed in a good reliable server, but it also has some features that are usually found in specific hardware (Fortinet for example). Also, integration with Windoze is a breeze.

And if you want Community support, the NethServer community is more responsive and do not mind if you are a IT professional or a newcomer to this.

7 Likes

For me Nethserver was an amazing experience after trying out other mailserver solutions. It was litterally installing the ISO, logging in, clicking the mailserver solution and I was ready to go! :slight_smile:
No need for knowledge on postfix, dovecot, amavis, clamav, etc although it does use all of those services. Also the backup function works like a charm; just install a new Nethserver and click on restoring the backup. You have everything (config and files) back as you had before. I haven’t used Nethserver for other puposes yet.

2 Likes

@warren_midgley @jelle I’m happy to see you still around guys :slight_smile: we miss you! Would love to have you contribute to the project. How can I make that happen?
@a4rgl you’re a real SME/offices expert, do you have any suggestions to improve the product? Please share.

For us as an SME (less than 15 users per location) we found Nethserver to fit our requirements perfectly.

As others have said, the installation is very easy:

For those not accustomed to other OS, or have never been exposed to a non-Windows based system, you do not need an in depth knowledge to have a full featured SME solution in less than a few hours. Plus, there are several very useful applications/options that are very easy to install and do not require any command line knowledge. Choose the option, click, and it is done.

In Nethserver you have a mail server, gateway, DHCP and DNS, firewall, VPN, file store, web hosting, groupware…etc…in ONE box. I know from visiting our own customers’ locations they do not have the physical space to have rack mounted kit, so having all those features in a single piece of hardware is a bonus.
With everything in one piece of hardware reliability is not really an issue; most vendors offer same-day hardware replacement and the Nethserver restore function works !! You will be back online in a few hours.

Another plus point - there is no downtime after an option has been installed, or software updates have been done - no reboots required, the Nethserver just continues working. Comments from our customers that have moved to Nethserver from a Windows system still ask us “…when will the server be having maintenance time…you have not had one this year…” as they are used to planning their work around the ‘frequent’ maintenance times when their network was not available.

So for us, we think Nethserver is a good fit for a single hardware, multi-purpose system. From the WAN to the LAN everything is catered for that you would need to get a small office online.

If you read the Docs, for the first Installation, setup, configuration and daily operation, then everything will go as expected. That is the confidence in Nethserver. If you do have a problem, then the Community is here to help.

Improvements ?
For us, it suits our requirements.
We use Nethserver 24/7 to support our customers using a CRM application that we installed ourselves. Perhaps an option(s) in the Software center for those wanting a similar application.

5 Likes

Before I give my comments about this subject, I would like to apologise to the Nethserver team (and any other people that have been following my previous posts) about my absence from this forum. A little over two weeks ago, I was asked to give me opinion on this subject and due to having a busy scheduled, I have only just found some time to reply.

Anyway, after reading the above comments, I have got to agree with both a4rgl (Rich Lawrence) and Hunv (Kristian), Nethserver is a good toolbox for users that have minimal experience of administration Linux / Unix / Posix servers and that NS has a good range of tools that allows the user to setup firewall, mail servers, LAMP based web servers etc. with relative ease.

Whist Nethserver is suitable for most SOHO (small office / home office) and SMEs (small / medium sized enterprises), I have a few concerns about the ability of this project when considering about other user requirements and the ability for NS to be scaled up, as well as to be able to use NS within larger infrastructures, these issues include the lack of ability to change from recursive caching DNS to a authoritative DNS (from within the admin UI), the lack of being able to define extra partitions / storage devices (with the exception of USB devices and network storage) for backups and file storage, the lack of a module to define the users own CA certificates, the ability for the user to define cronjobs (from the UI) and (to a lesser degree) the slightly out-dated look of the administration interface. I also have a slight issue with the amount of choice when choosing a suitable groupware infrastructure (at the moment there is a choice of 3 projects depending on the users needs – OwnCloud, Webtop and SoGo, whilst I understand that choice is usually a good idea, would it not be wise to have a single platform that would allow for a level of consistence?)

Apart from the above issues, as stated, NS can be used to replace existing server infrastructure, including the ability to replace existing MS Windows servers (I use NS as a replacement for Active directory / Windows authentication) but would also like to see a cleaner usage of LDAP administration (as well as a simple method of being able to use a master / slave LDAP connector), I also would like some sort of MySQL / Postgress admin interface (similar functionality to that available within PHPMyAdmin / PHPPGAdmin).

I agree with a4rgl, I would also like to see an inclusion of some customer relationship management / business intelligent software (SugarCRM?), as well as a web based project management solution (eg. Libreplan or Redmine)

I would love to know other users thoughts / experiences about the above issues / comments.

(I now have a bit more time to focus my attention on this and other projects, so if any of the NS team has any ideas that I can contribute to, please leave me a message, I will do my best to aid and support this project).

2 Likes

A post was split to a new topic: Two factor authentication

Just a further thought, regarding crontabs, it would be nice to have an interface where the administrator could schedule automated updates.

1 Like

A lot of concerns here :slight_smile: and I think every comment deserves a different topic. What do you think?

Why not? Please open a new topic so we can involve more people and collect some ideas @a4rgl.

Do you mean this?

2 Likes