Zentyal Server 3.0 Debuts for SMB Market

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

September 14, 2012

“User-friendly” doesn’t describe too many server-oriented Linux distributions — which are, after all, generally designed to be run by skilled IT professionals, not ordinary people demanding colorful graphical interfaces. But Zentyal, which develops a small-business server, has made ease of use a priority in the latest version of its product. Read on for a look.

Some major Linux server distributions such as Ubuntu don’t come with graphical front ends at all. And those that do are not always that much easier to configure graphically than through the command line interface. And that may be perfectly fine for many professional IT managers who know their way around the bash shell, many of whom would argue — with good reason — that GUIs represent unnecessary overhead and get in the way more than they help accomplish tasks.

But for everyone who does like graphical interfaces, Zentyal aims to present an attractive offering with the front ends showcased in this screencast:

This is, of course, still a server. Configuring it will never be a totally painless experience. But if you prefer pointing and clicking to tapping and scrolling, Zentyal can be a good fit.

Zentyal 3.0

And regardless of whether a graphical interface is a major selling point for you, there are a lot of other reasons to take a look at version 3.0 of Zentyal’s small- and medium-business server, which was introduced this week. The new release debuts a string of new features, including:

  • Samba 4 support, which, according to Zentyal, means that this Linux server can function as the controller of a Microsoft Active Directory environment just as well as a native Windows machine would.

  • Version 7.1 of Zarafa‘s groupware suite, designed as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Exchange.

  • Single sign-on via Kerberos.

  • An Ubuntu 12.04 back end, which constitutes an upgrade from the older versions of Ubuntu upon which previous Zentyal releases were based.

Zentyal 3.0’s debut comes only a few weeks before the Zentyal Summit 2012, where Zentyal and channel partners — including, most notably, Zarafa and Canonical — will focus on promoting open source as a solution in the business world. Zentyal undoubtedly will be placing its new release in the spotlight there.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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