Are you ready to get out of the command line? Because it’s official – all four new Houston/Cockpit modules are live!

If you’ve been following our Tech Tips for the last month, you would have heard of the new updates in Houston. The improvements follow a theme –  get out of the command line and easily manage your Linux server.

Here’s a little background information.

Houston is the Cockpit-based management layer that works for any Linux server deployment for a little prerequisite information. In addition, it offers easy ways to perform management and administration tasks that would otherwise require the command line (Houston also includes a portal for easy access to the command line from within the UI).

We’ve heard so many positive words from our community on how Houston makes managing their servers a breeze.

I must say I love yours and the rest of the team’s goal with Houston of allowing more seamless configuration through the GUI or command line, as someone who started as a Windows admin that was one thing I did really enjoy about Windows and missed when I started administrating Linux more. Keep up the amazing work over there and I cant wait to see what you guys come up with next.

The new Houston updates include four new or changed modules that will help you administer your server, including:

  1. Navigator
  2. Benchmark
  3. ZFS Manager
  4. File Sharing

So let’s talk a little about each one.

1. The Navigator

The Navigator is the new visual file explorer for Houston. You can think of it like any standard file browser, such as those you would see on Windows or Mac. However, you can easily navigate the filesystem without using the command line and make changes and edits as you go.

This module will make moving around a system simple for administrators. Some of the Navigator’s awesome features include:

  1. Navigate the entire filesystem
  2. Create, delete, and rename files
  3. Edit file contents
  4. Edit file ownership and permissions
  5. Create symbolic links to files and directories
  6. Reorganize files through cut, copy, and paste
  7. Upload files by dragging and dropping
  8. Download files and directories

The Navigator is a great multi-use tool that gets you out of the command line. It is a feature we have seen a lot of interest in from our community and the Cockpit community at large, so we are super excited to finally get it into your hands.

Download the Navigator Module from our GitHub.

This GitHub page will also show the various ways to install Navigator. We recommend taking whatever approach you are most familiar with – so, if you are new to this, you should use the method on the top of the list and install it from the GitHub release.

2. Benchmark

Whatever type of computer hardware you’re using, there is a good chance that you would like to know how well it works – that’s why people love benchmarking.

Linux already offers many great benchmarking tools. Although, they can be a little complex. 

That’s why Houston now includes an easy-to-use benchmarking module. It works the same as using FIO (Flexible IO Tester) on the command line but can be done much easier and cleaner through the Houston interface.

You can use the benchmarking utility tool to see what your server is capable of under different environments. This module includes three modes:

  • Max Throughput — The best performance you can expect out of the server throughput wise, how much data you can move in and out. This mode will display the theoretical maximum throughput using large sequential files.
  • Max IOPS — Shrink the block size down and see how fast your server can respond. This mode will display the max IOPS with a large number of small blocks.
  • Performance Spectrum — This will run the FIO test through the whole spectrum of your server, starting at 4K and going all the way up to 1M to get the full results. This mode will give you the best look at how your server will perform in a real environment.

Download the Benchmarking Module from our GitHub.

3. ZFS Manager

Unlike the fully new modules, Benchmark and Navigator – the ZFS manager already existed inside Houston. However, this release contains improvements to make using this module even easier. These new changes include:

  • Added permissions options for configuring your datasets from the UI
  • Option to search for domain users to add to your permissions
  • Configure replication tasks right from the UI page
  • Snapshots and backup configuration from UI
  • General quality-of-life improvements

The updated ZFS module simplifies the administration of your server. For that reason, we highly suggest you check it out! Seriously, download it, play with it, and if you want – let us know what you think!

Download the ZFS Module from our GitHub.

4. File Sharing Module

The File Sharing module is the last new addition to the Houston release. It allows you to manage Samba and NFS file sharing easily. If you were previously using Houston, you might have remembered that these functions used to be included in the ZFS module. This update breaks out those features into their own module, along with some other improvements.

The File Sharing module is great for enabling the easy creation of shares and permissions. Its features include:

  • Add/Edit Samba Shares
  • Configure the most commonly used Samba share parameters
  • Add Windows ACLs to your share
  • Configure NFS sharing with full control of permissions and client Ips.

Download the File Sharing Module from our GitHub

One of the reasons we love the Cockpit Project so much, besides being so well suited to our community, is that it is open source! That’s what has enabled us to make all these upgrades and improvements. In addition to all of Houston, all the modules listed are available for anyone with a Cockpit deployment. We are extremely excited to contribute to the community and look forward to hearing feedback from the community and seeing the community get used out of this release.

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