Review: Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server

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If you have been using Windows Small Business Server, then the usefulness of small to medium servers in small business is no news to you but how would you like to integrate an open source small server into your business?  On Friday, September 14, 2012 Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server was released into market and was a major achievement for the Zentyal Development Team. Zentyal is a Linux small business server whose progressive development since 2004 has seen notable changes into the world of small business servers and especially the preference between to Microsoft network infrastructure products and the open source.

Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server was developed with an aim to provide small and medium business (SMBs) with reliable and secure network infrastructure that was not only easy to use but also affordable. The server comes with different configurations suited for every type of small to medium business and the server can be configured as Unified Threat Manager, Gateway, Infrastructure Manager, Office Server, Unified Communications Server and also as a combination of these. Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server is developed on an open source platform and is an alternative to Microsoft network server products; Windows Server, Windows Small Business Server, Microsoft Exchange etc.

Of the many great features that are now integrated in Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server is the Samba4 integration. Samba4 integration is a protocol based users’ manager, which means small business owners can fully replace Windows Server Active Directory with Zentyal Server. The issue of Windows compatibility on permissions and security policies is also addressed and Zentyal Server is now fully compatible with any Windows server and Windows desktop on user management and security policies. This feature is a plus for many open source users who otherwise were dependent on permissions and security policies from Windows Server.

Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server also comes with a new single Sign-On feature based on the Kerberos open source software that will surely save users time. In earlier versions, users had to enter credentials every time they accessed network services but new Zentyal Server allows a one-time single Sign-On. Users will be able to sign-in once to access file sharing, email and other network services throughout including surfing Internet via proxy based on Samba4 integration which provides a simpler interface and improved filtering by time period. Zentyal Server has been greatly enhanced on performance and usability through new features such as Thin Clients module, UPS module and the new Master-Slave architecture.

Major updates have also been included in several modules such as Zarafa collaboration, firewall that now supports advanced NAT rules, HTTP Proxy and the fact that Zentyal 3.0 version will now be based on the latest Ubuntu Server LTS edition (12.04). The new Zarafa 7.1 groupware suite comes with a new web interface, multi-domain support and web chat integration. Users of Zentyal 2.3 Server can migrate to Zentyal 3.0 Server by just editing the /etc/apt/sources.list file and upgrading all packages, however, users of Zentyal 2.2 Server will upgrade to Zentyal 3.0 Server using a migration tool to be provided. Small business owners will be relieved that besides providing added reliability and usability, the new Zentyal 3.0 Small Business Server is also budget friendly on IT investments and operational costs.


Jimmy Simpson III

I work small and micro businesses (between 1 and 75 users). I offer WordPress Development, Virtual IT Director Services, System Administration and Web Hosting.

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