Background on me, I am an "at home" admin for 5 college students. So I need low ping (online gaming), high connection load (torrents) and high throughput.

Currently I have an older twin 1.4 GHz workstation running Smoothwall and I'm fairly happy with it, but it needs more tools for pinpointing bandwidth hogs and has little support for other servers. I did just buy a Poweredge 2850 so I was hoping to combine my other servers(MySql, FTP, SSH, etc) into one.

Are there any distros that would be built for this?


Consider loading up VMware ESXi (it's free), Xen or similar onto the server and adding in virtual machines for different services.

You can then run a smoothwall/pfsense VM to drive the net connection while running an Ubuntu VM for a games server and a Windows XP VM for remote administration/work.

It will give you control and options and allow you to experiment with learning new distros when you want. It will also make remote control of the servers a lot easier and reduce hardware incompatibility.

In my experience, all in one distributions tend to all break as one, your badly configured game server will get your DB compromised and your DB won't want to run on the same platform as your file server, and firewall/vpn servers tend to fight with local services. Break them apart and your life gets easier.

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  • That sounds like my original plan, but I couldn't find a virtual program such as ESXi. I'll try it when I get home – Eric Fossum Jun 29 '11 at 17:39
  • I love ESXi, it works perfectly. Is there any way to have my router output 1 logical nic onto multiple physical nics? – Eric Fossum Jul 1 '11 at 23:18
  • @eric, glad it worked out for you. In ESXi you can load balance out the physical NICs (under networking / network adapters, you can attach multiple NICs to a vSwitch). Though it really comes down to what are you trying to achieve? – Antitribu Jul 4 '11 at 9:32
  • well it's hard to explain, but I could send a picture to your email or something – Eric Fossum Jul 6 '11 at 4:31
  • upload and link it if you wish, however hope you've solved it by now! – Antitribu Jul 21 '11 at 16:01

The reason you're not satisfied with Smoothwall is that it's not a complete Linux distribution, it has a specific function and purpose and is locked down for them. Basically any major Linux distribution with package management and a large selection of available software will be adequate. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • CentOS
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  • Ok, but I need the ability to web manage the server and I wasn't satisfied with Webmin. Are there any alternatives? – Eric Fossum Jun 29 '11 at 16:47

Check out Untangle. It performs well and has some nice reporting features that should do what you want. You can also login to the system as root and install any other servers that you need.

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Personally I like PFsense, with all of the addins available for it you should be able to do what you need.

EDIT: Whoops, got sidetracked. PFsense is a firewall replacement for Smoothwall. Personally I'd look into some sort of virtualization platform and load up all of your various servers on that.

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  • Does this disto have a terminal (ssh and build-essentials)? I still need to have remote development for server app development. – Eric Fossum Jun 29 '11 at 17:05

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