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 several advantages over that of traditional solutions that are based on services directly installed on one or more machines. These are:
- 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
- It is also possible to configure a server farm if needed.
- 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 managing
- The virtual platform allows us to know every virtual machine resource that is in use instantly, so we can detect and correct any errant behavior, misconfigurations or overuse of resources.
- ModularIT simplifies the configuration and checking of backup copies done because it can be created 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.
To know the state of every service when needed, ModularIT has a control and a management system.
The monitor system is designed using an independent agent on each machine that checks, identifies and corrects common misconfigurations and bugs. This means that even if the connection to the central server fails, each virtual machine keeps working. Once the connection is re-established, alerts and reports are sent to the central server, but in the meantime the local monitoring agent will still have been running.
The monitor system is distributed and multilevel (ie hierarchical) so that big organisations can have their own monitor system with or without connection to the central server (master), adding one level to the system. This central server can be managed by them or by other supplier.
To keep track of jobs done, a ticket is generated when a problem occurs, with suitable technical and administrative details for typical bugtracking 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
One of the basic services that are part of ModularIT is the backup and recovery system. It includes backup copy rotation. These copies can be made on classic systems like tapes or external usb hard disks connected to the server in a mirroring 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 much simpler.
- Backup copies are preconfigured to be done unattended at night.
- Only archives that have changed are copied, the rest are linked. This is a mix of the total copy and the incremental copy policies, that gives a huge advantage in most scenarios compared with classical 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, so a copy can be taken out of the data center, as recommended by the ISO, as a precaution in case of a disaster.
- Copies are exported to a folder with the data organised by date, so archive recovery can be made very easily. ModularIT has the option to configure other kinds of storage media (DDS tapes, DLT, LTO, etc).
This 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 the most common configurations. The service is mandatory in a ModularIT configuration since the rest depend on it.The basic features are:
- Centralised validation for every application and service whether included in ModularIT or not
- Web interface for basic configurations
- Users may change their information, including passwords, if needed.
Firewall¶To ensure the security of any organisation, the ModularIT firewall isolates the internal network from internet adding two basic advantages:
- Allows the definition 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, which is really useful 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 priortisation support.
- Traffic balancing amongst multiple connection lines.
- Advanced filtering access through web capabilities (url, user, etc.). Users must be included in the ModularIT LDAP service or an external one.
- Statistics about access to services, use of connections, etc.
For security reasons, the ModularIT firewall is not virtualised. The firewall can be configured for high availability with flexible load balancing.
Samba¶Every group of people that work together need to share data. The best way to do this is to centralise the data on a file server, so that the data can be accessed remotely. This policy has several advantages:
- It is simpler to manage the data.
- Backup copies also become easier to handle and restore.
- The response to any problem is faster since there is only a single point of failure. Configuration changes and machine migrations are also easier.
- It is possible to store configurations and other types of data, not just archives.
- If the data is centralised, 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 widespread service, it is still vulnerable to misbehaviours and attacks via spam or viruses. ModularIT includes a mail service with some subsystems integrated like 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 handle by e-mail clients via the POP or IMAP protocols.
The ModularIT mail service is Postfix (SMTP) and Dovecot (for POP/IMAP mailbox access). The anti-spam system (Spamassasin), an anti-virus solution (ClamAV) and a SMTP relay are also installed and configured.
Instant messaging is one of those services that are not wide spread yet but, since they are extremely useful, they are getting popular really fast among companies. ModularIT includes a secure, highly configurable, multi-platform and multi-protocol IM system. It also allows files to be transferred through it and comes integrated with LDAP and ModularIT VoIP system. Conversations are stored and can be viewed later on.
Telephony IP (ToIP)¶
ModularIT-ToIP is a PBX, telephony engine, and telephony applications toolkit based on Asterisk. As with the rest of the services, it is virtualised (this is a recent feature). Other features are:
- 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 allowed.
- Control module with logs.
- Multi-server system capabilities with a variety of configurations: master-slave, high availability, multi-node, etc.
Faxing is still widely used in many scenarios. ModularIT includes a high technology fax-server (Hylafax) integrated with the mail system for notifications. Fax reception is configured to be stored as pdfs and sent to the user by e-mail, and so no printing is needed by default.
It also has a web interface to check received and sent faxes, for 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 very useful, and every fax can be stored in predefined folders.Other features included are:
- Multiplatform client to send faxes
- Web client to send multiple faxes
- Reception checking and consulting by a web client or e-mail
Groupware¶The groupware service allow users to manage and share basic personal data like contacts, diaries, links, news, etc. ModularIT includes this basic service with the following major features:
- The Free Software service selected is eGroupware.
- It is integrated with ModularIT LDAP, like the rest of the services.
- The agenda is integrated with the telephony system so incoming call identification and direct calls through this service are available.
- It includes a wiki for documentation and other collaborative purposes.
- It has a simple webmail interface. POP and IMAP configurations are available too, since the mail system is also integrated.
- Synchronization with external e-mail clients and mobile devices are 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, with advanced search and access methods for digital documents that align with the structure and procedures of your business. These kind of solutions used to be out of the price range for most organisations. Free software solutions have made them popular by lowering costs and, at the same time, increasing the number of available features.Alfresco brings an attractive quality/cost ratio, along with stability, scalability and a wide variety of features that will increase productivity. ModularIT includes Alfresco as the default DMS. The basic features are:
- 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 workflow
- Version control system.
- Collaborative features.
- Integration with other ModularIT services like LDAP, backup, etc.
To read more about other services, please click here.