Zentyal Linux Small Business Server

  To start off my Friday open source project series I picked Zentyal. Zentyal is meant as a complete replacement for Microsoft Windows Small Business Server, as it has modules that do pretty much everything SBS can. The description from the  Zentyal Sourceforge page states:

Zentyal (formerly eBox Platform) is a Linux Small Business Server that can act as a Gateway, UTM, Office Server, Infrastructure Manager, Unified Communications Server or a combination of them. Zentyal offers an easy-to-use web interface to manage all your network services, from Internet access, network security, resource sharing, network infrastructure or communications.Zentyal is the open source alternative to Windows Small Business Server and it is being widely used in the small and medium businesses regardless of sector, industry or location as well as in the public administrations or in the education sector. It is estimated that there are over 50,000 active Zentyal installations all over the globe.Zentyal Migration Tool for Windows Server is also available for download, making the migration process from existing Windows environments easier.Zentyal development is funded by eBox Technologies that offers commercial support and cloud-based services on top of Zentyal server.

As with most of the things that I blog about I did download the ISO and test this guy out. It is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS so setup is very simple, and after logging in to the GUI you are presented with a web interface that allows you to select whichever modules you want to install. One of the modules even allows you to create a captive portal which would be great for setting up a company guest wireless network.

After setting up your modules you can monitor the server from a very nice dashboard interface: (Click to enlarge)

One thing that I do think is pretty cool about this project is that they are offering a plugin that monitors and backups you your server to their cloud. This allows for quicker recovery because your configuration can be restored from their cloud. This project will definitely be worth following as it matures more and more

Here is a complete feature list:


  • Networking
    • Firewall and routing
      • Filtering
      • NAT and port redirections
      • VLAN 802.1Q
      • Support for multiple PPPoE and DHCP gateways
      • Multi-gateway rules, load balancing and automatic failover
      • Traffic shaping (with application layer support)
      • Bridged mode
      • Graphical traffic rate monitoring
      • Network intrusion detection system
      • Dynamic DNS client
    • Network infrastructure
      • DHCP server
      • NTP server
      • DNS server
        • Dynamic updates via DHCP
      • RADIUS server
    • VPN support
      • Dynamic routes autoconfiguration
    • IPsec support
    • PPTP support
    • HTTP proxy
      • Internet cache
      • User authentication
      • Content filtering (with categorized lists)
      • Transparent antivirus
      • Delay pools
    • Captive Portal
      • User authentication
      • Bandwidth limit
    • Intrusion Detection System
    • Mail Server
      • Virtual domains
      • Quotas
      • SIEVE support
      • External account retrieval
      • POP3 and IMAP with SSL/TLS
      • Spam and antivirus filtering
        • Greylisting, blacklisting, whitelisting
      • Transparent POP3 proxy filter
      • Catch-all account
  • Webmail
  • Web server
    • Virtual hosts
  • Certification authority
  • Workgroup
    • Centralized users and groups management
      • Master/slave support
      • Windows Active Directory Synchronization
    • Windows PDC
      • Password policies
      • Support for Windows 7 clients
    • Network resource sharing
      • File server
        • Antivirus
        • Recycle bin
      • Print server
    • Groupware: calendar, address book, contacts, etc.
    • VoIP server
      • Voicemail
      • Conference rooms
      • Calls through an external provider
      • Call transfers
      • Call parking
      • Music on hold
      • Queues
      • Logs
  • Jabber/XMMP server
    • Conference rooms
  • FTP server
  • Zentyal User Corner for self users info updating
  • Reporting and monitoring
    • Dashboard for centralized service information
    • Monitor CPU, load, disk space, thermal, memory
    • Disk usage and RAID status
    • Summarized and full system reports
    • Event notification via mail, RSS or Jabber
    • Bandwidth data usage
  • Virtual Machines management
  • Software updates
  • Backups (configuration and remote data backup)


Overall I can definitely see a small business with 25 or so users being able to use this as a Windows server replacement. The biggest thing would be keeping an open mind to start out with, I mean when you think about it, some companies use IBM iSeries servers that still host green screen type programs for users, so the biggest thing would be staying open and accepting that it’s not windows but still allows you to get your job done. Hopefully as I continue this series of posts we can get to the point where we uncover enough software to run an entire company without purchasing anything from Microsoft 🙂 So check back next week for the next project.

Project’s website: http://www.zentyal.org/


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2 Responses to "Zentyal Linux Small Business Server"

  1. I like zentyal it has great potential and I know they are working on improvements right now the biggest thing for me at the moment is finding a way to manage windows updates similar to wsus. I’m not thrilled by Zentyal remote compared to log me where I can use two different passwords.

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