Let’s face it, Windows Server is everywhere, and if you’re like me, you have to maintain several hundred, and with virtualization more mainstream, you were more likely managing several thousand. Think about all that patching – yikes!
This post is not about patching, but rather an alternative operating system – Linux. I have always wanted to get more involved with Linux. This won’t surprise any of you, but I think this operating system may become more universal in data centers than we initially thought. Yes, I know that was supposed to be funny rather than predictive.
At a press event last fall in San Francisco, Mr. Nadella crowed that “Microsoft loves Linux.”WSJ
Allow operating systems to co-exist with VirtualBox
I currently don’t have a dedicated home lab, but rather use my laptop running VirtualBox by Oracle – it’s free and an excellent resource for folks where are interested in getting started with virtualization. One constraint I do have is the amount of RAM installed on my laptop – currently, it has 8GB. I also did not want to download a 4GB ISO of a Linux distribution to get going.
I recently found TheSSS – The Small Server Suite distribution. The download is about 57.2 MB, and it installs in less than 60 seconds. I think this may be one of the smallest distributions of Linux – ever! From what I was able to gather, this version is based on the 4MLinux mini-distribution.
This video goes through the installation and gives you a sense of what is involved with this Linux Distribution.
In case anyone is wondering, I took a look at the FAQ for 4MLinux, which TheSSS is based on and you can use up to 64 GB of RAM because Physical Address Extension (PAE) is enabled in the Linux kernel.
What can be included in this small distribution
Well, a whole lot, some of the features found in this package include;
- OpenSSH Daemon
- Proxy server (Polipo) with the Tor anonymizer
- 4MLinux Firewall (based on iptables)
- Clam AntiVirus
- MariaDB (MySQL)
I know this distribution cannot compete with the more traditional version, but it’s an excellent way to get started with Linux as you then transition to a mainstream version. I plan to move to Ubuntu and CoreOS next, let’s hope my portable lab will hold up.
What versions of Linux do you use in your home lab? Do you know of a smaller Linux distro, let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading.