Typical Uses of Red Hat Linux in the Enterprise

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Web Hosting

Red Hat Linux ships with Apache, the leading Web server on the Internet. According to a recent Netcraft study of more than five million systems, Apache and its derivatives command approximately 56 percent of the total Web server market. Apache allows for hosting multiple sites on a single machine using either a single IP address or many. Red Hat’s Web hosting solution includes a wide range of modules to enhance functionality, including interfaces to common SQL databases.

Designed to meet normal Web loads, the Red Hat Linux Web server is a widely used, highly reliable, open source Web hosting solution. Deploying a Web server with Red Hat Linux will provide excellent real-world performance with substantially less downtime.

As a Web server, Red Hat Linux is especially useful for medium-size businesses that need to provide access to information systems for both internal and external users. For internal staff members, the Apache server can be used to access, distribute, update, and maintain a wide range of enterprise-wide data.

For external business partners, Apache provides restricted access via user name and password. This ensures that only authorized users have access to sensitive corporate information, such as price quotations and accounting and ordering policies and procedures. For an even more secure solution, Red Hat’s Secure Web server provides SSL encryption plus other software components for additional functionality.

File and Print Server

Red Hat Linux ships with packages that provide Netware (IPX), Windows NT (SMB), and Unix (NFS) file and print services. Samba provides Microsoft (SMB-based) networking functionality to Linux and supplies the necessary services to transparently integrate Red Hat Linux-based file and print services into NT domain-based environments. Red Hat servers running Samba can also function as clients, capable of mounting exported NT file systems. Red Hat Linux servers running Samba appear to the client operating system indistinquishable from Microsoft Windows NT file and print servers.

Red Hat Linux file and print server solutions provide significant cost savings for users. For example, in a computing environment containing 100 systems, the total cost for a Windows NT implementation is $3,600 ($30 client license for each system, plus an approximately $600 server license fee). This compares with only $79 for Red Hat Linux (which is free if downloaded). The savings increase dramatically as a company scales its computing operations. Other advantages include a faster, more reliable system and the ability to access a single file space natively in today’s heterogeneous LANs.

Internet Service Provider

The Red Hat Linux ISP solution includes many of the standard services required by ISPs. These services include Web and FTP server capabilities, Sendmail, POP and IMAP servers for client email access, and standard DNS and Internet news servers. ISPs wishing to offer hosted e-commerce solutions to enterprise clients will find a rich commercial solution stack, including IBM WebSphere, IBM DB2, Oracle 8i, Informix, Ingres, and middleware solutions such as Allare’s Cold Fusion. These products are not included in Red Hat Linux.

The Red Hat Linux ISP solution allows loads to be distributed across multiple machines. This capability eliminates or reduces the single point of failure in a single, high-end server implementation and also simplifies maintenance.

Other advantages include a remote system management capability and a high level of security. The Red Hat Linux solution contains all of the security features of Unix, including user and group permission modes, shadowed passwords with available MD5 encryption, centralized system logging, fully-configurable network service access controls, pluggable authentication modules for custom authentication models, and protocol-level network firewalling.

In addition, third-party software is available to provide secure, encrypted communications. These software packages include Red Hat’s Secure Web server and C2Net’s Stronghold, which provide SSL encryption for Web services; Pretty Good Privacy, which provides encryption and digital signatures for files and email; and Zot Consulting’s Secure Shell, which provides encrypted network channels.