ModularIT is a free software project that uses a service orientated architecture that is based on virtualization with a distributed management and monitoring environment. ModularIT has developed into a project that collaborates with system administrators to further its development.
Service oriented architecture¶ModularIT is formed by using modular services based on virtual machines that can be combined to build complex systems that fit a wide range of requirements. Each physical machine must have a virtualization base installed, this is so that the virtual machine services can be installed on top of it. The use of independent virtual machines for each service offers the following advantages over that of traditional solutions that are based on services directly installed on one or more machines:
- Server independence
- Hardware and service independence.
- The server can have a large number of services installed.
- New services can be added to the virtual machines, for example: high availability, advanced backup management, etc. This is because they can be managed from the virtualization platform.
- The resources for each service can be assigned on demand making more efficient use of hardware resources.
- High availability
- Services can be configured in high availability mode on one or more physical machines, even if the operating system does not support it.
- The system is scalable as resources can be allocated on demand. If a physical machine does not have the required resources, another virtual machine running the same service can be added and configured using high availability, or easily migrated to a more powerful machine.
- The option of configuring a server farm if required.
- Fast deployment
- The virtual base can be installed in a few minutes in different modes (unattended, remote, automatic, manual, etc.)
- Installing a service machine is as easy as creating a new volume and copying the service image to the file system.
- Easy monitoring and management
- The virtual platform allows an instant overview of each virtual machine resource, so that any unexpected behaviour, configuration errors or overuse of resources can be detected and corrected.
- ModularIT simplifies the configuration and checking of backup copies because it can create a volume snapshot of every virtual machine without decreasing their performance, even during the installation process of other virtual machines.
For further information about ModularIT architecture, please click here.
ModularIT uses a control and management system to ascertain the state of each service.
The monitoring system operates by using an independent agent on each machine that checks, identifies and corrects common configuration errors and bugs. This means that even if the connection to the central server fails, each virtual machine is able to continue functioning. Once the connection is re-established, alerts and reports are sent to the central server, in the meantime the local monitoring agent will still have been running.
The monitoring system is both distributed and multilevel (i.e. hierarchical) this enables large organisations to have their own monitoring system without having to have a connection to the central server (master), adding one level to the system. If a central server is used, it can be managed in-house or via another party.
In order to log completed jobs a ticket is generated when a problem occurs, with suitable technical and administrative details for typical bug tracking issues. This is designed for production systems supported by IT companies.
To read more about the Management system, please click here.
Services¶ModularIT includes the following services:
- Instant Messenging
- Document Management System
- Other services
The backup and recovery system is a basic service of ModularIT that includes a backup copy rotation. These copies can be made using traditional methods such as tapes, or external USB hard disks connected to the server in a mirrored configuration (RAID 1).
- Service backup copies are based on snapshots of the virtual machines. This avoids performance degradation during the execution of the backup copy. Another advantage of this technique is that recovery is faster and considerably less complex.
- Backup copies are preconfigured to be performed unattended at night.
- Only archives that have changed are copied, the rest are linked. This is a combination of the full copy and the incremental copy policies, this gives an advantage in most scenarios compared with traditional solutions.
- The backup copies can be made on external USB hard disks. These copies are encrypted and the hard disks can be replaced and automatically added to the system. This is so that a copy can be taken out of the data center as recommended by the ISO, as a precaution in case of disaster.
- Copies are exported to a folder with the data organised by date, this allows archive recovery to be performed easily. ModularIT has the ability to operate with other kinds of storage media (DDS tapes, DLT, LTO, etc).
The LDAP service centralizes the login and password information of every user in a unique single sign-on system for every service. ModularIT LDAP includes an easy to use web interface to manage common configurations. The service is mandatory in a ModularIT configuration as the other services are dependant.Basic features:
- Centralised validation for every application and service, regardless of whether it is included in ModularIT.
- Web interface for basic configurations.
- Users are able change their information, including passwords if required.
Firewall¶To ensure the security of the organisation, the ModularIT firewall isolates the internal network from internet which gives two basic advantages:
- Allows the creation of strict access control policies.
- Users' access to the internet can be controlled.
- Monitoring every access from users to external services.
- Filtering pages viewed via parameters like URL or login name.
- Private Virtual Network Server: allows secure connections to be established across the internet that work as though in a LAN, this is beneficial for connecting different offices and mobile users.
- Intrusion Detection System: monitors the network traffic to detect possible external and internal attacks.
- Flexibility of security configurations.
- Traffic prioritization support.
- Traffic balancing amongst multiple connection lines.
- Advanced filtering access through web capabilities (url, user, etc.). Users must either be included in the ModularIT LDAP service or an external type.
- Statistics regarding access to services, use of connections, etc.
For security reasons, the ModularIT firewall is not virtualized. The firewall can be configured for high availability with flexible load balancing.
Samba¶Users who work collaboratively often have a requirement to share data. The most effective way to do this is to use centralized storage allowing the data to be accessed remotely. This method has several advantages:
- Less complicated to manage data.
- Backup copies become easier to handle and restore.
- Problem response times are faster since there is only a single point of failure. Configuration changes and machine migrations are also less complicated.
- The ability to store configurations and other types of data, not just archives.
- With centralized data, high availability and distributed server architectures can be configured.
- The ModularIT Data server is based on Samba (SMB/CIFS).
- It is integrated with the LDAP service and the groups/users schema is defined through it. Access control lists are available from clients.
- Mobile user profiles are allowed with this service.
- Management from the client (Windows or Linux) is possible.
- Printer servers can also be handled by this service.
- Can be used as a domain control system for Windows based machines and services. This means it can be substituted for Active Directory based architectures.
Although mail is a commonly used service, it is still vulnerable to configuration errors and attacks via spam or viruses. ModularIT includes a mail service with integrated subsystems such as anti-spam and anti-virus. It is also integrated with LDAP and eGroupware. If these are not used there is a web interface incorporated (webmail), or mail can be handled using e-mail clients via the POP or IMAP protocols.
The ModularIT mail service comprises: Postfix (SMTP) and Dovecot (for POP/IMAP mailbox access). The anti-spam system (Spamassasin), an anti-virus solution (ClamAV) and a SMTP relay is also installed and configured.
Instant messaging, although not commonly used is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience throughout the workplace. ModularIT includes a secure, highly configurable, multi-platform and multi-protocol IM system. It also allows the transferring of files and comes integrated with the LDAP and ModularIT VoIP system. In addition conversations are logged and can be viewed at a later time.
Telephony IP (ToIP)¶
ModularIT-ToIP is a PBX telephony engine and telephony application tool kit based on Asterisk. As with the rest of the services it is virtualized.Other features:
- Advanced PBX solution with typical and advanced features.
- Highly programmable system.
- Analog, digital (RDSI) and internet connection capabilities.
- Unlimited IP extensions and software terminals.
- Remote terminals allowed through the internet.
- Mobile profile configurations for users.
- Programmable plan for calls and audio messages.
- Extensible integration with other software applications.
- Control module with logs.
- Multi-server system capabilities with a variety of configurations: master-slave, high availability, multi-node, etc.
Fax is still a commonly used transmission medium. ModularIT includes an advanced fax-server (Hylafax) that is integrated with the mail system to enable notifications. By default incoming faxes are stored as PDF files and forwarded to the user via email. No printing is necessary.
A web interface is also available to check sent and received faxes, setting up bulk fax sends, and resending documents, etc. External fax/modem devices can be used as long as the VoIP solution is the one included in ModularIT. With both services combined it is possible to share a single phone and fax line. Integration with the document management system is also useful as each fax can be stored in predefined folders.Other features:
- Multi platform client for sending faxes
- Web client to send multiple faxes
- The ability to check incoming faxes and viewing via a web client or e-mail
The ModularIT groupware service allows users to manage and share basic personal data such as contacts, diaries, links, news, etc.Features:
- ModularIT uses eGroupware.
- Integration with ModularIT LDAP.
- Integration of the agenda with the telephony system to allow incoming call identification and direct calls through the service.
- A wiki is included for documentation and other collaborative purposes.
- A simple webmail interface. POP and IMAP configurations are also available as the mail system is also integrated.
- Synchronization with external e-mail clients and mobile devices is available through standards like SyncML, XmlRPC, etc.
Document Management System (DMS)¶
A Document Management System is a program that allow users to register documents in a secure storage system, using advanced search and access methods for digital documents that follow the structure and procedures of your business. Although originally expensive, free software solutions have increased their popularity and at the same time increased the feature set.
Alfresco brings an attractive cost to quality ratio, along with stability, scalability and a wide variety of features that will increase productivity. ModularIT includes Alfresco as the default DMS.Basic features:
- Centralised storage environment with a simple interfaces and access to network folders (CIFS and WebDAV)
- Most popular formats can be used, allowing advanced content searching.
- Advanced work flow.
- Version control system.
- Collaborative features.
- Integration with other ModularIT services such as LDAP, backup, etc.
To read more about other services, please click here.