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Essential Linux server software for enterprises

Businesses can deploy a mix of Linux server software offerings to take advantage of the cost and flexibility benefits of open source.

Enterprise IT organizations deploy Linux because it's not only cost effective, but flexible, reliable and secure.  When you first dive into the open source world, you might be unsure as to what programs are available. Fortunately, there are plenty of options, but out of the bounty of Linux server software, which are must haves?

This short list is Linux server software that every business should consider deploying.

1. Web server

The Apache HTTP Server (httpd), a project of the Apache Software Foundation, is the most popular Web server for a reason. This open source, free to use server offers power, flexibility, extensibility, reliability and better uptime than the proprietary competitive offerings. Apache has been in development since 1994 and is used by just under 50% of servers globally, followed by Microsoft's http server, used by close to 30%. The Apache Web server suits businesses of all sizes. Enterprise-class data centers can deploy Apache on supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server platforms, so you can trust it to handle your Web traffic.

2. Database management

The MySQL relational database management system drives a vast majority of Web-based tools, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, XOOPS, OrangeCRM and Openbravo. There are plenty of other databases available, but MySQL is the de facto standard. MySQL and Apache are both included in the classic LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. This indicates how well-supported MySQL is by most database-driven software. It is open source and free to use.

3. Customer relationship management

OrangeCRM is the choice when you're looking for enterprise-ready customer relationship management (CRM). OrangeCRM is a powerful, complete solution for running a company or direct marketing business. It can work with millions of customer records and not miss a beat. The CRM tool features customer management, merchanting (goods sales), fulfillment, email marketing, help desk, business analytics and storefront capabilities, as well as coaching and consulting for users. OrangeCRM does have a cost associated with it in tiered offerings. It also produces a free, open source human resources management tool.

4. E-commerce tool

Presta Shop is one of the most powerful e-commerce solutions available. This online shop solution will allow you to sell products and services befitting an enterprise company. Presta Shop works seamlessly with mobile devices, offers over 2,000 website templates, has an easy-to-use store builder with over 300 built-in features, accepts payments with over fifty world-class solutions, includes advanced search engine optimization for your content, offers a powerful back office with real-time information for tracking trends and provides a plug-in system so you can extend the functionality. While Presta Shop is free, most add-ons have an associated cost.

5. Collaboration suite

Zimbra Collaboration Server is to Linux what Exchange Server is to Microsoft Windows: a full-blown collaboration suite with business-class email, calendar, contacts, file sharing and tasks. You can deploy Zimbra via an on-site private cloud or through the vendor's network of service providers. Zimbra is optimized for desktop and mobile devices. The collaboration server can connect to CRM tools and other platforms through various APIs and Zimlets. Zimbra Collaboration Server is a great Exchange alternative, but it is not free, so start with a price quote. Zimbra also offers an open source edition of the collaboration platform.

You'll find a host of other open source and proprietary Linux solutions that are ready to help power your small, medium or enterprise-class business. Start with a minimum of LAMP, but you'll quickly find other tools that do an outstanding job of delivering the services and servers that you require.

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). Wallen maintains his sanity by riding his mountain bike and writing about zombies, various killers, superheroes and just about everything else he can manipulate between the folds of reality.

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