[Samba] UNIX with samba .vs. native Windows Server , how to compare thei r performance for Windows-biased management

Scott Wrosch swrosch at MarketingAssociates.com
Fri Dec 13 20:40:11 GMT 2002

I feel your pain Karen.

I'd tried briefly (before I figured that it wasn't worth my breath
because they wouldn't listen at all) to convince my superiors to clean
up a HD problem through Samba and one of the two Solaris boxes we have.
We have this nice brand new storage array, and it probably isn't getting
used for a whole lot, yet our domain controller (primary) is constantly
running with less than 1 GB available free space.  I have even suggest
as well just setting up a small PC with Linux just for users storing
their large files (read: images), but have had no such luck.

So, after months of dealing with this, I feel your pain.  Funny thing
is, they just ordered another Windows-based server machine for some
un-(insert appropriate religious deity here) purpose.

As far as benchmarking goes, I'm afraid I can't help much, as I'm
limited to the use of PCs at the moment.  But you've got me into the
idea of setting up a small Linux cluster for the sake of learning how to
do it and stuff.


Scott Wrosch
desk 248.333.7700 x227
email swrosch at marketingassociates.com 

-----Original Message-----
From: Wieprecht, Karen M. [mailto:Karen.Wieprecht at jhuapl.edu] 
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 3:24 PM
To: 'samba at lists.samba.org'
Subject: [Samba] UNIX with samba .vs. native Windows Server , how to
compare thei r performance for Windows-biased management

I had samba working on an old Sun Enterprise server using a JBOD that
managed with veritas volume manager (legacy stuff that had long outlived
it's usefulness).  Management  arbitrarily decided to replace the aging
Solaris server with a native Windows server without talking to me. I
tried to persuade them to use an SGI cluster I had been putting together
use newer features of samba (winbind, domain authentication) for hosting
this data,  but they weren't interested.  

When that old Solaris system started having problems,  and the new
server wasn't online yet,  I had to temporarily host the data on my SGI
cluster,  a duo of servers that was running  samba with winbind and
authentication.  It was a very nice setup, either server in the pair
serve the files,  and we made user login scripts mount the shares from
whichever server reponded first.  When we had to take the primary server
down for maintenance,  we switched the login script to point them to the
secondary server's shares,  had them log out and back in. While they
happily off of the secondary server,  we did a half day's worth of
maintenance on the primary server without affecting the users.  When we
done,  we put the login script back the way it was before,  and the next
time they logged out  and back in,  they were again pointed to the
server with the secondary as a backup.

Even after demonstrating how nice my configuration was and how
seemlessly we
were able to do maintenance without affecting users,  management  and
two NT guys I work with were still sold on using the Windows native
They claimed that it was cheaper to buy the hardware and easier to
permissions and file access rights with the native equipment (of course,
they are PC guys).  My argument was that we could probably achieve the
file access flexibility with UNIX ACLs (which previous staff had not
on the UNIX side),  and that the UNIX machines use RISC-based
processors,  a
completely different animal than the GHZ pentium processors,  so they
really have to come up with some benchmarks to compare the two systems.
They also weren't originally going to accommodate any easy file
interoperability with the UNIX users,  they were going to make them use
to move files between the UNIX machine and the windows server, and I
that this was removing capability that users were accustomed to having,
a real crowd pleasing decision.  

Now they are experimenting with Microsoft SFU to make the Windows box
the UNIX machine to NFS mount its shares,  and I have to say it does
seem to
work pretty well.  It tied right into NIS nicely, automatically mapped
matching usernames on either side, allows me to define mappings with
usernames that do not match, etc.  But it still digs in my crawl though
I never even got a chance to show what my cluster could do for them
after management had already decided to buy the windows server, and even
after a nice demonstration of the UNIX cluster's capabilities,  they are
still sold (arbitrarily) on using the native Windows box.     

How can I compare the performance of the two servers?  Many of you
out with Windows servers and migrated to samba to get better
but  my collegues have done the opposite.  Am I blindly biased that UNIX
better or is there a way I can get some real numbers to prove that te
windows server  is a slower file server?

The guys are always weighing the cost and ease of management against the
difference in performance (if there isn't much difference in
go with what is cheaper and simpler to manage),  and for them that is
PC-native stuff.  I feel like my UNIX skills are slowly getting pushed
and I'm not sure how to get real performance metrics.

Help, feedback,  condolences are all welcome.  

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