Univention Corporate Server An Enterprise Linux (Overview And Tutorial)

In this article, we will take a look at Univention Corporate Server (UCS) and It is also sort of brief tutorial on UCS. Before we get into it, lets talk about an overview.

1: Overview

First, what is Univention Corporate Server (UCS)? It is an enterprise Linux ^(http://www.appmarsh.com/2018/05/where-linux-came-from-interesting.html) distribution that is built by Univention. It is their goal to simplify the access to applications and devices for organizations and Univention heavily uses Open Source software for that. Basically, this involves three core topics:

  • A central identity management system
  • An app store-like environment for applications
  • And, of course, IT infrastructure and device management

All this is brought together into one product called Univention Corporate Server.
Univention’s website ^(https://www.univention.com/downloads/download-ucs/). The Core Edition comes full-featured and free of charge with community support ^(https://www.univention.com/products/support/community-support/). It is available as ISO image or pre-installed virtual machine image for KVM, VirtualBox and VMware. Enterprise subscription is also available including support and a longer maintenance of five to seven years for a major version.

4: Installation Tutorial

Let’s now get our hands a little bit dirty and setup UCS as virtual machine. This installation uses the UCS virtual machine image for VirtualBox and walks through the single steps.

  1. Download UCS virtual machine image for VirtualBox.
  2. Download VirtualBox and install it.
  3. Import the UCS virtual machine image into VirtualBox
  4. Start the virtual machine and go through the UCS system setup wizard:
  • Select location
  • Customize keyboard, if needed

  • Enter network configuration: Either choose to obtain an IP address automatically (default) or enter a static IP address. In this tutorial, used a static IP, because UCS system should take care of all the ip address handling.

  • Domain setup: Select the first option. I want setup my own domain and I start with creating a new one. I can later add more systems to this new domain by selecting the second option during the setup. Furthermore, if an existing Active Directory service should be used, select option three.

  • Enter the password for the root and Administrator account. The system needs to have a root password. It can later be used for the user “Administrator” to login to the management system. I postpone the system activation to a later time and leave the other fields empty.

  • Specify the name of the system in the Host settings. I just went with the proposed defaults. Here the system receives its name.

  • You may already want to install additional components, like for example the Active Directory compatible domain controller.

  • Go over the configuration summary and click “Configure System”. UCS will apply the settings. This can last several minutes and depends on the performance of your underlying virtualization host system.

  • Finally the setup is completed. After finishing the setup wizard, the appliance greets with a welcome screen and announces what IP address should be used in the browser to access the UCS management system. This screen comes up after every reboot of the appliance and gently reminds where to reach the system.

  • Heading to the address provided by the welcome page opens the UCS portal page. It looks quite empty yet and offers a login to the management system.

  • For the first login I choose “Administrator” for the username and the password I provided during the setup. The Administrator is the first administrative user having all the rights for the environment.

  • With the first successful login, UCS welcomes the user with a short dialog and asks for the first feedback, if issues occurred during installation and setup.

  • The UCS management system is the central place to control your UCS environment. At the top there are the sections Users, Devices, Domain, System and Software. Each section reveals its own modules for different administrator tasks. Frequently used modules can be put into the Favorites section.

  • After UCS setup, the system should be extended by an additional app and ownCloud is my candidate.

  • In order to use the App Center, the system has to be registered. I didn’t register before and I’m now reminded of it. A click on “Install” guides me through the registration where I provide a valid email address, receive the registration via email and upload it to the system. Afterwards, I can continue with the installation. The registration has to be done only once.

  • ownCloud is now installed and the app informs the administrator about how to access the ownCloud admin account.

  • A look at the portal now shows some more tiles on it. It offers the login to ownCloud. Before a login with a usual user can be made, the user needs to be created. The admin user can login though with the given credentials shown after the installation.

  • To create a new user, select the Users module from the Favorites or Users section in the UCS management system. Provide at least a lastname, username and a password. By default, new users are enabled for ownCloud, as soon as the app is installed. If a new user shall not be able to login to ownCloud, the checkbox has to be removed in the Advanced settings section.

  • Going back to the UCS portal, I click on the ownCloud login and there I enter the credentials of my new user. Et voilà, I’m in and can use my fresh ownCloud.

5: Summary

Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is very sophisticated operating system for identity and infrastructure management for organizations. The setup is straight forward and easy to make. I like the way how third party solutions extend the platform and that they are integrated with the identity management. This makes testing and even production operation very easy.

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Author: Marshmallow

Marshmallow Android is BT Ireland’s Head of Sales for Republic of Ireland domestic multi-site companies, indigenous MNCs and public sector accounts. He is responsible for the direction and control of all sales activity in the region. He has over 10 years management experience from high growth start-ups to more established businesses. He’s led teams in Ireland, India and China across various industries (ICT, On-Line Recruitment, Corporate Training and International Education).