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What's the best Linux OS for your enterprise data center?

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Five best Linux applications for enterprises

These five applications will improve the lives of enterprise IT and business management by increasing functionality and reducing costs.

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Linux has been a part of the enterprise back end for a long time and is becoming more prevalent in the office-side of businesses, from small businesses to major enterprises. So, what are the best Linux applications for IT managers and business owners to use in the enterprise? These five apps will expand the business's IT infrastructure and functionality while reducing the overall cost of maintaining an efficient, reliable business.

1. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is one of the most powerful and secure server platforms available. Unlike its free version (CentOS), RHEL brings with it outstanding support and hardware integration. The RHEL platform is optimized for scalability, security, data integrity, application development, efficiency and reliability. And you won't incur additional costs for database systems, Web servers, virtualization or data encryption. Coupling cost-effectiveness with real reliability and security, RHEL is a capable platform for enterprise-level servers.

If support isn't a requirement for your business server software, you could choose CentOS. CentOS, the server operating system forked from RHEL, is a community enterprise operating system that is rock solid and completely open source.

2. OrangeHRM is not one of the most powerful human resource management (HRM) tools available. But, as one of the best Linux applications, OrangeHRM includes modules for administration, leave, personal information management, time, employee self-service, recruitment/applicant tracking, performance and an audit trail. You can also purchase and install modules for uses such as training, budgets, job and salary history and document management. OrangeHRM excels well beyond other open-source tools in the user-friendly interface and simple installation. Where many HRM tools bog down in an often overly complicated installation process, OrangeHRM is a Web-based tool that installs quickly and easily over an existing LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack.

3. Openbravo is to ERP what OrangeHRM is to HRM. This particular take on the ERP system handles all enterprise company management tasks, such as finances, supply chain and manufacturing. Openbravo includes modules for finance and accounting, purchasing management, sales management, inventory management, project management, production management, point of sale and business intelligence. The Java-based ERP application features an intuitive user interface, Web-based access, customizable workspaces, multi-tab design for multi-tasking, customizable reporting, multi-division support, multi-currency support and more. Openbravo is offered in a free Community edition and a Professional edition to help the management and planning of company resources.

4. Nagios has quickly become the industry standard in IT infrastructure monitoring and one of the best Linux applications. With this single tool, you can monitor your entire infrastructure, spot problems before they occur, plan for infrastructure updates, get alerts when problems arise, coordinate responses to issues, ensure service-level agreements are being met, escalate alerts and more. This app works within multi-tenant environments and can expand with integration into many third-party applications.

The one caveat to Nagios is that incredible power comes with incredible complexity. The Nagios installation isn't for the faint of heart; there is no simple point-and-click installation. Once up and running, however, Nagios has more information and features than you'll find in most proprietary solutions.

5. Amanda is one of the best Linux enterprise backup solutions. This open source backup product backs up multiple hosts over a network from a single master backup server. Amanda uses native utilities to back up Linux and Unix servers or desktops and uses a native Windows client to back up Windows desktops and servers. This network-aware product runs incremental and full backups and supports tapes, disks, optical media, storage clouds and changers.

Amanda is complex: a command-line backup tool with plenty of administration tools built-in. It may prove more challenging than other products on the market, but once you have it set up and running properly, Amanda will serve an enterprise's backup needs for a very long time.

Linux was made for the enterprise. With a server platform capable of handling anything your IT staff throws its way, Linux enables plenty of tools, systems and software to expand and secure your business. With the continued complexity, rising cost and challenges of licensing Microsoft products, Linux will not only continue to grow, but will eventually take over an even larger role in the day-to-day business.

About the author:
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer and avid promoter/user of the Linux OS. His current favorite flavor of Linux is Bodhi Linux (a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment). Jack maintains his sanity by riding his mountain bike and writing about zombies, various killers, super heroes, and just about everything else he can manipulate between the folds of reality.

This was first published in January 2014

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What's the best Linux OS for your enterprise data center?
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