Determining a Server’s Functions

Before installing the Linux server, it can be useful to plan and determine exactly as to what purpose the server will serve. Even if you do not know all the functions available, it can give you an idea as to what is or isn’t required of the server you plan to install. A strategic planning ensure that the system has all the software it needs, and that it isn’t slowed down or made exploitable by having unnecessary software installed.

Step by Step
1. Consider each of the following questions, by making a list of services that are definitely needed or definitely not needed:

● Will this system’s disk resources will be accessible for mounting by other systems using NFS? Will it provide print services?

● Which Internet-related services will this server provide? For example, will it be used as a web server? Will it provide mail, IRC, newsgroup, or other such services?

● Will the system be a database server?

● Will the system perform authentication tasks such as running as an LDAP or NIS server?

● Will the system perform any network functions by performing routing, firewalling, SNMP or traffic monitoring, or the like?

● Will program development take place on this system? Which languages will be used? What compilers, debuggers, libraries, and utilities are necessary?

● How will remote users access the system? Do they need FTP or telnet access? Will SSH or rlogin or rsh be used?

● Will the system be accessible from the console, and if so, is the X Window System necessary? How much work will be done in the GUI, and which windowing environments are required?

2. Looking at the list of requirements, make a note of any components that are implied by the must-have items. For example, a web and database server may require tools to interface from the web pages to the database, so Perl or PHP might be useful.

3. What documentation needs to be installed on this system? If it will be a developer or end-user resource, there may be more documentation requirements than if it will be just one of many systems in a large server farm.

4. If this is a test server, what type of functions would you like to try? Make a note of each, and when it comes time to install the software, you may be able to find packages you didn’t know existed.



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