[Samba] What project should I use ?

John H Terpstra jht at samba.org
Wed Dec 11 22:56:00 GMT 2002

Oh Intrepid One,

You ask such amazing questions! Of course you will excuse a little bias on
my part I am sure.

Without doubt I'd use Samba. Right now the stable version is 2.2.7a (as of
this morning).

I'd build a box using 3WARE IDE RAID - it's faster and more cost effective
than SCSI is today.

If price point is an issue, check out the Tyan K7 2462 motherboard. You
might like to deck it out with two MP2G+ CPUs (cheap but effective). I'd
look at 4 IBM 80GB+ 7200rpm IDE drives off the RAID storage (on the 3WARE
7500-4 controller) and one 60GB 7200rpm IDE boot drive on which I'd
install my OS. Consider 1Gb/s ethernet to an etherswitch that has 1 Gb/s
port and the rest 100Mb/s. That combo will punch a load of performance.
I'd add in about 1GB DDR RAM - also cheap and it means you will not be
starved when your users hit the system hard.

If price point is not an issue, check out HP and IBM servers - you can't
beat them for quality, support, realiability. Same configuration concepts
as above.

PS: The 3WARE IDE RAID give you an I/O bandwidth of up to 452MB/s,
compared with 320 Mbits/s on fastest SCSI. Big difference in poerformance!

As for the OS: LINUX, LINUX, LINUX!!!

As for the brand: Did you seriously check out SuSE Enterprise Linux Server
and SuSE OpenExchange server? Did you check out SCO Linux 4.0 Server?
Before you jump to the conclusion that Red Hat is your only choice, check
out SuSE and SCO, it might not change your mind, but at least will open
you choice to other possibilities.

I'd also seriously look at updating all workstations to a common OS
platform. It will make your life of administration a lot more peaceful.
I'd look seriously at ZAW (Zero Administration Windows) - for more
information you probably want to hire a consultant who knows MS Windows
NT/2K/XP inside out (PS: I am available ;)). IT will seriously reduce your
maintenance overheads. Samba is a great platform to build this on
(commercial plug!).

The only bit of the change that will NOT be seemless is the update of user
workstations and notebooks. For the rest, you should be fine except that
your Win NT/2K/XP machines may need to re-join the domain (assuming you
now do use domain security). This will only impact you if you migrate
entirely from NT -> Samba. You could always continue to use your NT Domain
controller just for authentication - not nice, but useable and possibly a
good migration strategy. That way you can migrate the PDC after all the
other issues have been smoothed over - ie: progressive migration rather
than abrupt change.

PS: Your old server would be a good 'test server'.

I hope this answers your questions.

- John T.

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002, Intrepid One wrote:

> I am going to list my current plans for rebuilding a Law Firm’s network.  I hope that someone will be able to tell me which project (samba or samba-tng) would be a better choice, or if staying with MS is the only choice.  If my plan could be changed for the better, input would be greatly appreciated:
> A lot of this information is useless for my questions, but I am throwing it in anyway.
> --------
> CURRENT SETUP (to be replaced/updated)
> 1 Server (Proliant 1600: P2-450 (single), RAID5 SCSI storage)
>   *MS Win2000 Server
>   *File and Print Services (file size ranges from 1kb to several 100mb).  Currently around 10gb in shared files.
>   *MS Exchange 5.5 Server (Public Store 2.5GB; Private Store 3.0GB).
> 50 Desktop Users (Compaq Deskpro's w/ P2-300 up to Compaq Evo P4's.  DeskPro P2-450 is the most common)
>   *MS Win98-WinXP
>   *WordPerfect 8
>   *MS Office 97-2000
>   *MS Outlook (running with Exchange in Corporate Mode)
>   *Several Database Applications
> 10 Laptop Users
>   *WinME-XP
>   *WordPerfect 8
>   *MS Office97-2000
>   *MS Outlook (running with Exchange in Corporate Mode & Offline Folders)
>   *Offline Files or Briefcase to keep files on laptop and backed up on server
>   *Several Database Applications
> Network Hardware:
>   *HUBS (evil slow junky hubs, to be replaced of course).
>   *ISDN (I know... what the heck were they thinking? ISDN? 60 users and an overloaded Exchange Server). (Also soon to be replaced with sDSL or T1).
> --------
> PLANNED REPLACEMENT (I will focus more on things relating to SAMBA, and some holes will be left as I don't know exactly how to do some things with SAMBA yet, or at least I don't know the best route.)
> *ALL Clients will be moved to MS Win2000 (wanted to go with OpenSource Software all around but that is not a viable solution for a law office at this time)
> Main File/Authentication Server (Microsoft would call it a PDC)
>   *Linux or *BSD for OS (probably RedHat Linux as they offer the most corporate support).
>   *Nice powerful system with RAID5 storage, redundant parts, blah blah. Still won't need to be as expensive as a new Win2000 Server.
>   *Will handle authentication either through UN*X password system w/ SAMBA duplicating that(passwords could be pushed to the other servers) or thru' a pam or ldap design.
> Backup File/Authentication Server
>   *Automated (through scripting) backup of main file server.
>   *Backup Tape System (probably an Ultrium drive).
>   *Backup as many services as possible for Main Server.
> Test Server
>   *Name says it all. Used to test experimental projects/code.
> Mail Server
>   *Here is where things get more complicated.  I am not asking the SAMBA team for total help here as mail services are not in SAMBA's view.  I will be keeping the Exchange 5.5 Server or replacing it with Bynari InsightServer (unless someone knows a better product).  I MUST have a single login.
>   *After connecting to the Main Server they should not have to put in another password (for email or backup files).
>   *Exchange uses a directory system (not very compliant but it exist) and most alternatives use LDAP.  Therefore I will have to use OpenLDAP at some point in the authentication scheme.
> That long (hope I don't get made into a troll) email leads up to a few questions.
> Samba or Samba-TNG or stay with Micro*leech*soft?
> What is the best route for a single authentication across multiple UN*X servers?
> Any other experiences with moving an office with my structure to all OSS (Open-Source Software) in the server room.
> Major Concerns:
> Single Authentication
> Seamless Change from users point of view.
> Thank You
> --
> Intrepid

John H Terpstra
Email: jht at samba.org

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