Running A Small Business Server With ClearOS 6.3.0 (Community Edition)

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Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 09/24/2012

This guide shows how you can install and run a Small Business Server with ClearOS 6.3.0 (Community Edition). With ClearOS, you can run various services (such as a file- and print server, a web proxy and content filter, a mail server, etc.) in your local network and manage them through an easy web interface. ClearOS provides apps for each of these tasks from its marketplace - many of them are free, some of them have to be paid for. ClearOS Community is open-source and free. There's also a professional version available for which you have to pay, but which in return provides better support, better tested apps and updates, etc.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname server1.example.com with the IP address 192.168.0.100. These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.

ClearOS is based on RHEL/CentOS, so you might be familiar with its installer already.

 

2 Installing ClearOS 6.3.0

Download the ClearOS 6.3 Community ISO image from http://www.clearfoundation.com/Software/downloads.html, burn it onto a CD, and boot from it. Select Install or upgrade an existing system:

The welcome screen of the ClearOS installer appears. Click on Next:

Choose your language next:

Select your keyboard layout:

I assume that you use a locally attached hard drive, so you should select Basic Storage Devices here:

You might see the following warning - The storage device may contain data. If you see this click on the Yes, discard any data button to proceed:

Fill in the hostname of the server (e.g. server1.example.com), then click on the Configure Network button:

Go to the Wired tab, select the network interface (probably eth0) and click on Edit...:

Mark the Connect automatically checkbox and go to the IPv4 Settings tab and select Manual in the Method drop-down menu. Fill in one, two, or three nameservers (separated by comma) in the DNS servers field (e.g. 8.8.8.8,8.8.4.4), then click on the Add button next to the Addresses area. Now give your network card a static IP address and netmask (in this tutorial I'm using the IP address 192.168.0.100 and netmask 255.255.255.0 or 24 for demonstration purposes; if you are not sure about the right values, http://www.subnetmask.info might help you). Also fill in your gateway (e.g. 192.168.0.1) and click on the Apply... button:

The network configuration is now finished. Click on the Next button:

Choose your time zone:

Give root a password:

Next we do the partitioning. Select Replace Existing Linux System(s). This will give you a small /boot partition and a large / partition which is fine for our purposes:

Select Write changes to disk:

The hard drive is being formatted, and the installation begins. This will take a few minutes:

Finally, the installation is complete, and you can remove your CD from the computer and reboot it:

After the first reboot...

... you will see the following screen which tells you to use a browser to configure ClearOS and which URL to use to connect to the ClearOS web interface (https://192.168.0.100:81 in this case):

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From: Uncle Ed at: 2012-09-30 00:29:39

Years ago, I installed ClarkConnect (v. 3?), the predecessor to ClearOS, on a retired Windows 98 box and used it as a file server for years.  I quit using it, not because it wasn't working well and doing absolutely everything I wanted it to do, but because the age of the fans and hard drive got to be a worry.

Then a friend needed a database to pacify some supervisor who thought a list of items with 21 records and 10 fields should be available online.  (Can you guess my enthusiasm?)  So I found another retired computer and installed the then-current version of ClarkConnect (4?) and set up PHP/MySQL to do the database.  As you might imagine, this ended up being a high utilization server--judging by the IP addresses, I'm not sure anyone but my friend and the supervisor ever accessed it.  But it was still running and wasting watts when I moved and shut it down.  (Don't think anybody ever noticed.)

Last year I set up a small web page running on a ClearOS 5 and I'm actually using it.  Again, it's on a salvaged computer and doing everything I could want it to do.  

Be careful how you take this, but Clark/ClearOS is boring after you get it running.  If you want excitement, crashes, midnight crises, etc., in your server, go somewhere else.  It might have taken an hour to set up the last server, after I downloaded the software, but certainly no more.   The database and the web pages took a while before I got what I wanted, and I guess it's been running since last Thanksgiving without my even thinking about it.   Maybe if I think of it once or twice a year I might look at the error/intrusion logs to see what IPs are trying to test it, but as far as I know none of these servers has ever been entered.  

ALL of the cautions apply: choose hardware appropriate to the task (I used junk because none of them was of much consequence) and back it up faithfully.  The software has a backup built in and you can use other backup if you want.  Check your intrusion logs regularly.  It's possible I've never been broken into because the intruders could guess there wasn't anything they'd want on it. 

And enjoy using your time doing something else. 

 

From: Craig Dariels at: 2012-10-04 01:55:06

I've only recently stumbled across this OS, and I'm afraid it's the best thing to ever happen to the world of servers and administration! I'm only now testing it, but from what I've seen so far, this is going to be the "Clear" choice for not only a backend file server, but also a SQL provisioning box as well, there's going to be some NAS involved at a later date and I don't see this being a problem. I have to take my hat's off to whomever makes this stuff.....you've made the lives of many a system admin's that much more easier! I will be "recommending" that our company "contribute" to your cause on a regular basis....and for myself personally?....I'll be going to cafepress and getting ma a couple of t-shirts...LoL! Carry on guys and gals!!

 

 C.G.D.

C