Multiple WINS Servers Enhancement

Chris Young cyoung at
Thu Jul 6 21:17:23 GMT 2000

On Thu, 06 Jul 2000, Christopher R. Hertel wrote:
> On Jul 7,  6:48am, Chris Young wrote:
> > Subject: Re: Multiple WINS Servers Enhancement
> > I think that we need to consider that Samba is not just a SMB
> > Server.  It is being used by many as a Windows NT network client.
> > This means that the option of having two WINS entries can be
> > absolutely neccessary.  Just make certain that the FAQ and
> > documentation note the "no replication with Samba WINS Servers"
> > issue appropriately.
> How is it "absolutely necessary"?  The WINS service is not a critical
> service, per. se.  The network can run without it.  The only case in
> which it would work involves having two MS WINS servers running in
> replication mode.  In that case, should one fail, you can make a quick
> change to smb.conf and signal the Samba daemons to restart.

Have you ever managed an enterprise-level (if there is such a thing ;) Windows
NT network?  I'm certain that anyone who dealt with this will understand my
point.  Relying upon a single WINS server for an enterprise is NOT a good idea.
No matter how poor WINS is, it becomes very neccessary in large multi-network,
routed environments (at least as far as Microsoft network clients go). 
Obviously, you can use DNS to make certain that name resolution happens for the
key servers.  This alleviates alot of the problem, but not all.  Windows client
depend upon NetBIOS name resolution as well as other services.  For instance,
there are many products that use NetBIOS name resolution to associate a logged
in user with a workstation (hostname).  I'm not saying that this is the best
way to do this.  I'm saying that it happens.

> If the WINS database is corrupted, what happens to the secondary WINS
> server?  Hmmm...

It becomes your only salvageable copy of the WINS database.  The bottom line is:
IT HAPPENS!  Come on, apply some real world rules to this.  I know I've been in
this scenario before.  Now, that I work primarily with Linux and Samba, I don't
deal with these issues.

> > I even think that it would even be nice if there was a wins nsswitch library
> > available
> > so that UNIX systems could use WINS to resolve hostnames.  This would make
> > indentifying Windows clients easier in alot of cases (but, that's a different
> > issue).
> Bottom line:  The NetBIOS name space should *not* be allowed to pollute
> the DNS namespace.  If you want a mapping, the DNS should be
> authoritative as it *is* the authoritative Internet naming mechanism.
> I still think it's a misleading kludge, but a NetBIOS name query going
> to the DNS doesn't mess up the DNS.  A DNS query going to WINS...
> Ick.

Well, look like some other must agree with me that at least having this option
is a good idea (since it is in HEAD).  We're all not going to agree on these
issues, so if you don't like it, don't use it.  That's why they are called
'options'. :)

> > I like the enhancement.  I think that it should get incorporated.  I think we
> > need to stop babying Samba administrators this way.
> No, that's not the point.  Secondary WINS failover has never been added
> because there hasn't been a lot of demand for it and because Samba
> doesn't do WINS replication.  A patch makes it easy, of course.

Huh?  You got me here.  Are you agreeing or disagreeing?

Input was asked for. I gave mine. I think that coming at people in this manner
when they simply provide THEIR feedback (which was asked for) is rather
disappointing.  This will do nothing but discourage people from providing
feedback for a piece of software that many of us rely on heavily.  Isn't
feedback supposed to be one of the major benefits of Open Source or is ESR

Ok, I'm done now.  No hard done.  Everyone is happy :)


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