This section explains several of the services used to manage the infrastructure of your local network and to optimise internal traffic. We will study Zentyal’s high-level abstractions, the objects and services that will be used in most of the other modules, name domain management, time synchronisation, automatic network configuration, deployment of thin clients, the management of a certification authority and the different types of virtual private networks you can deploy and installing virtual machines.
Defining abstractions will help you manage the entities that will be used by the other modules, creating a coherent and robust context.
Domain Name System or DNS provides access to services and hosts using names instead of IP addresses, these are easier to memorise.
The Network Time Protocol or NTP, keeps the system time synchronised on the different computers within a network.
The DHCP service is widely used to automatically configure different network parameters on computers such as; IP address, DNS servers or the gateway which is used to access to the Internet.
The Thin Client module (LTSP) allows you to reuse old hardware, creating a centralized management infrastructure where a lot of low-end terminals are powered by a few higher-end servers.
The growing importance of ensuring the authenticity, integrity and privacy of communications has increased interest in the deployment of certification authorities. These facilitate access to various services in a safe way. Certificates allow configuration of SSL or TLS to securely access most services and provided certificates for user authentication.
By using VPN (Virtual Private Network), it is possible to interconnect different private subnets via the Internet in a completely safe way. A typical example of this feature is the communication between two or more offices of the same company or organisation. You can also use VPN to allow users to connect remotely and securely to the corporate network.
In addition to the openvpn protocol, Zentyal offers you the IPSec and PPTP protocols to ensure compatibility with third party devices and windows boxes where you do not want to install additional software.
Sometimes, your deployment requires a few applications that can’t be ported to Linux environments given their characteristics or age. The Virtual Machines module offers you a way to integrate virtualized services in a simple, elegant and transparent way to the final user.