[Samba] SAMBA slower than MARSNWE...

Dan Phillips dan at gci.net
Sun Dec 8 00:01:01 GMT 2002

I actually find Samba a very kewl server app so the subject isn't coming from 
someone that has a preference for Netware over samba.  My issue is actually 
two-fold, one being the record locking problems in Samba and the other being 
the slowness of dos apps in samba.  

I'm not going to post any log messages here as I don't feel that for this post 
they're really very relevant.  What I am going to post is some information 
about the system, configuration, problems, and my solution.

P4-2ghz Dell Poweredge Srvr
RAID 5 w/ 56GB useable drv space

All P4 1.6Ghz Dells or faster
256MB Ram
40+gb drv space
All Win2k SP3

All boxes are running at 100mb on a 10/100mb switch

Ok, that's the bulk of the hardware that should be relevant, now for the 
Linux (SuSE v8.1)
Samba v2.2.5  lock stock and barrell from the SuSE installation
Kernel 2.4.19-4GB  lock stock and barrell from the SuSE installation

The workstations are all running the standard install from MS of Win2k SP3 and 
TCP only.   This company uses an old DOS application called OPTO.   The 
program when first fired up opens roughly 50 files, mostly .db and of course 
the .idx files relating to all the various parts of the database system.  
Within the application, you can call a routine that will show you information 
about your client station, the network system as well as how many users are 
currently running on the shared database system.  While running this program 
from the samba share mapped to a drive letter, we noticed two very obvious 
problems, one was that going from one screen to the next in OPTO was 
extremely slow.  Even fireing the program up took way too much time as 
compared to the old Netware 3.12 srvr running on a PII233 w/ 128mb ram and 
only a 10mb lan card.   (Before you guys get to harping on my samba config, I 
will add that all of our windows functions, IE. copy files, list files, 
read/write word/excel docs, are extremely fast as they should be).  

Now, that was the problem of the slowdown, next is the record locking problem.  
As I mentioned before, OPTO has the ability to see how many workstations are 
currently talking to the database.  However, OPTO could not always see that 
other users were in the database and therefore would not perform the 
necessary record locking to prevent database corruption.  I spoke with the 
OPTO software technicians and they could not provide an answer, much less a 
solution, to why this was happening.  I read and learned more about oplocks 
and various other record and file locking information than I should ever have 
had to know.  Anyway, no matter what I changed in Samba (using swat) and even 
restarting samba, made any difference.  I therefore have come to the 
conclusion of two things, one, dos apps are not able to run within samba 
without suffering slow performance.  And record locking also seems to be a 
problem under samba, at least for dos apps.  

Now, I still have the problem of getting a srvr for the OPTO program.  I 
stumbled on MARSnwe and decided to give it a try.  I installed Mars off the 
SuSE distro disks, made the necessary changes for:
srvr name
login info
volume info

I installed MS's netware client on each of the win2k boxes and logged in 
mapping a new drive for the mars volume.  Ran opto directly from that new 
location on each machine and noticed two things:  One, the speed was 
lightning fast as it should have been, and two, the record locking problems 
were completely illiminated.  Now the server is still Linux, the files are 
still located on the same raid 5 drive, the workstations are the same, the 
software is still the same, the only difference is OPTO is now running from 
the novell emulation instead of samba.  

What the heck is with samba and its dos compatibility.  There are two very 
obvious problems that Mars on the SAME linux box was able to solve: speed and 
record locking.  

Now I'm not the best linux guru by any means and I don't claim to be, that's 
why I spend most of my time reading the samba posts rather than posting.  
However, I have built 1000's of computers and installed 100's of networks and 
I would have to say that I have a pretty darn good understanding of computer 
hardware and software.  The other thing I need to point out is I'm not 
knocking the samba guys especially the developers of samba because I find it 
extremely useful and I've converted several locations to Linux from either 
Netware or MS now and I'll continue doing so.  What I am looking for in this 
post is for some insight to various things to try regarding the DOS / Samba 
problems as described above.  Although I don't mind running mars and samba on 
this server, I'd much rather run just samba.

---  Thanks, Dan Phillips

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