But these days, lots of people have small networks at their homes and small businesses. They usually don't have the same sort of specialized knowledge, but they still need to be able to set up and troubleshoot the inevitable problems.
Fortunately, developers have created plenty of open source tools to help both groups accomplish what they need to get done. Open source tools can help you design, test, deploy, manage, monitor, or secure your network, and some can even help you build your own appliances, routers, or other hardware.
And since both enterprises and homes users are feeling the budget pinch these days, free open source networking tools are becoming more popular than ever.
For this list we've collected open source replacements for both enterprise-class networking products and consumer products. We've also tried to give you an idea of the wide variety of open source network-related tools available, but of course, we're bound to miss a few. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.
Stop spam at your SMTP server with ASSP, the "Anti-Spam SMTP Proxy." It uses whitelists and Bayesian filtering and supports a wide variety of servers, including Exchange, Lotus Notes, and many others. Note that this is software, not an appliance like Barracuda, and it only stops spam, not malware. Operating System: OS Independent.
Designed for enterprise users, the Bacula network backup solution finds the middle ground between ease of use and advanced features. It can scale from a single system to a network of hundreds of thousands. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Used on more than half a million servers and desktops, Amanda is a tremendously popular client-server backup solution. It can write to tape and disk at the same time, and it supports both 4096-bit keys with public-key cryptography and 256-bit AES encryption. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
This disk backup tool includes network support. It's also helpful for network administrators because it offers the ability to install identical software on a whole fleet of computers at once. Operating System: Linux.
Inspired by Visio, Dia lets you draw diagrams to show relationships. For network admins, it includes special shapes for making network diagrams, UML diagrams and flowcharts. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
This graph visualization program takes your text descriptions and turns them into graphical representations. It doesn't handle large graphs as well as aiSee, but works very well for most types of network diagrams. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
While it's pretty basic, this file transfer client does exactly what it's supposed totransfer files from one system to another securely. It supports SFTP, FTP, and SCP protocols and works from the command line or via one of its two GUIs. Operating System: Windows.
Like WinSCP, FileFilla includes a file transfer client, but it also adds a Windows-only module that lets you set up your own FTP server. It supports FTP, SFTP and FTPS. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
You can spend thousands on a Gateway security appliance to protect your network, or you can make your own with Endian Firewall Community and an old PC. It includes stateful inspection firewall, VPN, gateway anti-virus, anti-spam, web security, email content filtering, and more. If you prefer a pre-configured appliance or need support, you can also purchase both hardware and software appliances from Endian. Operating System: Linux.
Like Endian, Untangle gives you the option of building your own gateway security appliance with free software and your own PC or purchasing an appliance from the company. It includes a Web filter, virus blocker, spam blocker, ad blocker, firewall, QoS, intrusion prevention, protocol control, OpenVPN, and many other features. Operating System: Linux.
Aimed at small businesses, ClearOS combines a gateway, server and networking features in a single download. Key features include multi-WAN, VPN, firewall, anti-malware, anti-spam, intrusion prevention, content filtering, file and print services, mail server, Web server, groupware, and more. Although additional services and support are available with a subscription, the full "enterprise" version of the software is available for free. Operating System: Linux.
Although the full version of Tripwire now has a proprietary license, you can still download the older (2000) version that was open source. It's useful for monitoring networks and sending alerts when changes occur. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Designed as a Tripwire replacement, AFICK ("Another File Integrity Checker") is useful both for security purposes and software management. It's designed to be both quick and portable. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
This "next generation" inventory tool helps you discover all the hardware and software in use on your network, which you can then track with a tool like GLPI (see below). It can also help you easily deploy scripts or software across your network. Operating System: OS Independent.
This app creates a database that tracks all of the technical resources of your organization. It also includes some management functions that allows admins and help desk to staff track open jobs, respond to alerts, etc. Operating System: OS Independent.
AWStats generates graphs from your log files so that you can analyze statistics from your Web, streaming, ftp, or mail server at a glace. It processes large files very quickly and supports most popular server tools. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
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