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A good Linux distro for setting up NAT, DHCP, DNS?

Tags:
  • DHCP
  • DNS
Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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December 6, 2013 12:20:44 PM

I have a server, currently running Windows Server 2008r2 for DHCP, DNS, and NAT. However, my install isn't licensed. Win2008r2 will continue operating after install for up to 60 days without activating, but after 60 days, I have to rebuild my server again since I don't have an official license. It's not that much of a bother, considering I can set this up in Windows in about 15 minutes, but the install and massive number of updates takes a good 4-5 hours.

I'd like to try using Linux for routing again. The last time I tried, I used CentOS5, which had a great gui for DNS, but setting up DHCP and NAT was a complete command line experience. It was actually rather annoying, and, because I was running it on an ESXi VM, NAT stopped working frequently forcing me to blank the iptables config and redo the who thing, about once per week. On top of this, CentOS/RHEL 6 has even removed the DNS gui, making the DNS config a complete command like experience as well. Talk about annoying. Obviously, RedHat has completely dropped the ball on this one.

I'm hoping someone has come up with a decent way to do this with another Linux distro. Does anyone know of a version that has a NAT, DNS, and DHCP setup that is quick and easy, possibly even with a gui? I prefer a gui because my typing skills are a little less than comfortable.

I had also given thought to trying to make a part time business of building home servers with this functionality to give home users better security and centralized file storage in one box. Windows is a bit expensive for that, considering Win2012r2 Standard is running over $700. A good Linux distro would be nice for that kind of thing, if this part doesn't take too much effort. If I have to spend a whole day reconfiguing the NAT, plus another day for DNS and DHCP, it really isn't worth it.

More about : good linux distro setting nat dhcp dns

December 6, 2013 12:54:13 PM

Just use any Linux (or, better still, FreeBSD) and install Webmin. That'll give you GUIs for just about any server you like.
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December 6, 2013 2:44:10 PM

I just downloaded zentyal today to take look because it claims to fully support msexchange and it seems promising. It'a built on top of Ubuntu. I currently use Ubuntu with webmin. Ijack is right, webmin gives you a gui for any distro for all you said.
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December 9, 2013 2:21:59 AM

I installed Zentyal. Very easy install and setup and yes a GUI. A lot of hand holding. Actually the GUI is like that of webmin and is done via firefox. Probably perfect for your needs. It does not integrate with MSexchange unless you buy the commercial version but it does install the linux alternative to it.

Can't hurt to try it out.
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December 10, 2013 1:38:56 PM

I'll try it out this weekend, hopefully. It depends on how much else I have to do. My schedule has been upended recently, so I may not be able to try for a while.
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December 10, 2013 2:33:20 PM

It only took about a half hour to do a general setup. Obviously it will take longer if you want to get into website blocking and such but what you described easy under an hour.
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Best solution

December 17, 2013 9:56:20 AM

FreeBSD is great for NAT/DHCP/DNS + Mail/WEB/FTP:

postfix for mail
pure-ftp for ftp
apache for web
ipfw for firewall filtering
dummynet for rate limiting bandwidth

to me /usr/ports > apt-get
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December 17, 2013 10:01:48 AM

Agreed. With webmin to supply the management GUI, FreeBSD is probably a better choice for this particular purpose than any Linux install. And it should prove to be more robust.
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December 17, 2013 10:18:29 AM

Sounds interesting. I'll try that out next week. Things have been busy with the holidays coming up, so I haven't had the chance to do much with the servers lately.
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