A product labeled as a Home Server usually wouldn’t cut it in the business world, but many smaller businesses don’t have the same demands as enterprise or corporate businesses. The fact that smaller scale companies can get by with tools larger companies cannot is a boon to the companies and to developers of obscure tools. One of those tools is the Amahi Home Server. This specialized distribution offers the following, all from the ease of a web browser:

  • Network backup: Back up all your networked PCs
  • File sharing: Access, share, and search your files from any machine on your network
  • VPN server rolled in: Automatically set up your own VPN, so you can access your network from anywhere safely and securely.
  • Shared applications: Easy to use tools like contacts, calendaring, and private wiki (with more to come) will help you manage your small business information.
  • Media streaming
  • Disk pooling
  • Disk monitoring
  • Dynamic DNS
  • iCal and Outlook integration

Get Amahi up and running

Amahi is a service that resides on top of a Fedora Linux distribution. In order to get the download, you must first walk through a two-step process to define some networking parameters for your download. Once you set up these configurations, you will be given an installer code to use during the installation.

To begin the installation process, go to the Amahi Welcome Page and click the Configure Your HDA button and walk through the steps. Here’s the information you’ll need to enter:

  • Existing Network Gateway of the network you intend on installing your Amahi server
  • Fixed IP address of your Home Digital Assistant (HDA)
  • Local DNS domain

Once you enter this information (the first two pieces on one page, and the third piece on the next page), click the Create Your HDA Profile button, and you will see a page with the necessary information for your Amahi HDA (Figure A).
Figure A

In Figure A, notice that you can choose between a Fedora download or a Ubuntu download; I encourage you to heed Amahi’s advice and go with the Fedora, unless you are confident in your Linux skills.

When you receive a code for the HDA, you should write it down so it’s available for the installation. Speaking of installation, let’s see how that works.

Install Amahi

The minimum requirements for Amahi are:

  • 1GHz CPU
  • 4 GB Disk
  • 512 MB RAM

Follow these steps for this simple Fedora Linux installation:

  1. Download the ISO from one of the listed mirror sites. This is just a standard Fedora install disk. If you already have a currently running Fedora install, you might be able to add Amahi on top of that. Amahi recommends using Fedora 14; that is a bit out of date, but since Amahi recommends this release, you might want to stick with it. If you are confident in your Linux skills, I recommend jumping to Fedora 15.
  2. Burn the ISO to a disk and boot from the disk.
  3. Walk through the standard Fedora installation (use DHCP for the networking setup for now).
  4. Once you reach the repositories section of the installation, you must add a new repository for Amahi. Click Add Repository and enter the following information. Repository name: Amahi. Repository Address: http://f14.amahi.org. Make sure the Repository Type is HTTP. (Figure B)
  5. If prompted, enable your network interface.
  6. After the installation is complete, reboot when prompted.

Figure B

After the machine reboots, you should complete the final steps of the installation, which includes creating a user. During this process, you need to enable Synchronize Date And Time Over The Network. When the machine finally boots to the desktop, you will see the Amahi installer icon; this is a web link that will take you to http://localhost:2000. At the prompt, enter your installation code and then press Submit.

Your Amahi HDA is now working. At this point, a final reboot is required; this will ensure that all services are running at boot, and you can connect to your HDA.

You can choose to use Amahi’s DHCP server or turn it off in favor of your router’s DHCP service. To turn off the Amachi DHCP server, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Setup | Settings | Advanced Settings.
  2. Go to Settings | Servers.
  3. Locate the DHCP Server settings and unselect both Watchdog. DHCP Server Is Being Monitored 24×7 and Start At Boot Time.
  4. Stop the DHCP server. It will not restart upon boot.

You are now ready to start rocking your Amahi server, so open the browser again and log in with your OS username/password you created during installation. Now it’s time to set up usershares, install apps, and more. I’ll cover those topics in an upcoming DIY post.