Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Heavy, Big, Bloated, Limiting and ICBMs

I have been really pondering the posts about SME Server and Clarkconnect. I do not want to be locked into a solution that I cannot tweak and change to my liking. I want flexibility and these solutions are not going to cut it for my needs. It looks like they would be great, but only if you want to get a small server up and running quickly and you can live with the features and functions provided.

I am also getting the feeling that most of these solutions are big and require lots of resources. I picked up an AMD 1.1 GB Athlon machine off of craigstlist for free last week. It is a very nice box with 1 gig of RAM, Onboard RAID, Server Case and lots of other goodies. I just finished cleaning it up and replacing the CPU fan. I decided to load Untangled on it. I have had numerous problems getting Untangled to run on several other test machines, but everyone raves about it so I decided to try and put it on the new Athlon machine. I got it to work finally. It was not happy with a gig of RAM and a 20 GB hard drive during the initial install! I know this is not the speediest machine in the world, but it is no slouch and would be fairly happy running most open source software. This really confirmed my concerns about size and system resource consumption. This was even harder to swallow when I read about mOnOwall and pfSense users running the entire application on a CF card! Granted this is an apples and oranges comparison, but it highlights the vast differences in hardware requirements. Untangled looks like it would be a great UTM solution for a larger small or medium size business. It would be total overkill for my home needs. The proverbial ICBM to kill a fly situation.

I am biased towards Debian-based distros, so that is where I am leaning now. I do not know if Ubuntu Server or Debian would be better for the core. Ubuntu Server 8.04 with LTS will be out in three weeks so I am interested in the upcoming reviews. Debian, on the other hand, is much smaller, and from my research a much more stable server platform since Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable (Sid). I could run virtual machines for the solutions that cannot be rolled into the Debian-based distro.

BSD still amazes me with what can be accomplished in a mere MB of code!

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