[Samba] Distributed Setup Suggestions

Bill Baird billbaird3 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 10 16:54:45 GMT 2008

On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 3:05 AM, Scott Grizzard <scott at scottgrizzard.com>

> What types of files are you trying to share?
> Most files are in the under 25MB range.
>> If they are primarily small (under 100meg) files that you need read/write
>> access to (especially documents), you might want to adopt some type of
>> document management system like KnowledgeTree instead of using Samba.  I
>> suggest this not only because you get document management features, but
>> KnowlegeTree works over http, and if you are using webdav you already have
>> an Apache infrastructure set up.
> We are actually using KnowledgeTree right now for sharing files  with
> client/vendors. Oracle Drive provides the same features, but is actually a
> bit better (minus cost). They have a windows client that maps network drives
> (similar to WebDrive) and a great web interface. We could move to KT, but
> this doesn't solve our problems of a distributed environment. We would still
> have to setup multiple servers and users would have to contact each one
> individually.
>> At my last job, we used Subversion for the same purpose: distributed
>> document management.  However, using it for distributed document management
>> requires training the staff to use TortoiseSVN (and disciplining them to use
>> locks), and the Subversion experience is not intuitive to the
>> "non-developer".  KnowlegeTree has a much more intuitive flow for documents.
>>  However, Subversion can use WebDav as its interface, so the transition may
>> not be too rough.
>> Subversion is very traffic efficient (in my opinion).  The latest version
>> of Subversion (1.5.x) allows you to mirror your repositories.  Since most of
>> the traffic is of a "read nature", mirroring your repositories will
>> drastically reduce your WAN traffic.  In fact, the only traffic across your
>> WAN (if I understand the technology correctly) is the "diff" between the old
>> document version and the new document version.
>> Because both of these solutions (Subversion and KnowlegeTree) work with
>> Apache, you can authenticate to them using your Windows user base (either
>> through mod_auth_kerb if you are using Active Directory or another
>> Kerberos), or through mod_authnz_ldap to your Samba PDC (if you are using
>> NT, there is also some way to authenticate to it, but I have never used it).
>>  However, fine grained file permissions in Subversion are a pain to set up
>> and maintain, so if your ACL's run 40 lines each and are different for every
>> file, stick to something else.
>> If you do go with Subversion, I recommend using Insurrection as a
>> front-end to mod_dav_svn.  Insurrection is very difficult to set up,
>> especially if you need SSL support for it.  But the time is worth it, since
>> it gives a great user front-end for repo browsing.  Throw in the Firefox
>> TortoiseSVN menu plug-in, and you are good to go.
>> If the files are large and primarily read-only, set up a master server at
>> one office, and mirror it to the other offices using rsync.  Set up the
>> remote samba servers as read-only, and the problem is solved efficiently.  I
>> don't know if rsync preserves ACL's, but I heard there was a patch in the
>> wild somewhere...
> In our environment, some data is read-only. But with more & more
> inter-office work, they are constantly needing to share read/write files.
>> I was very pleased how the Subversion solution came out, but I never set
>> up remote mirrors for anything other than read-only backups.  We added Trac
>> for project and issue management, and made the non-developer staff use it.
>>  The working-copy thing was tough for them to get used to, but the webdav
>> access worked well for them.
>> I just think straight Samba servers may be the wrong tool for what you are
>> trying to do, though they may appear to be the simplest solution.
> I will take a look at subversion, thanks!
>> - Scott
>> Bill Baird wrote:
>>> My company is approx 200 users. We have 10 offices each with 5-30 users
>>> each. A few offices work independently, but there has been a lot more
>>> inter-office work lately. I am looking for a way to provide fast local
>>> access to files stored in the same office as the user, but also
>>> acceptable
>>> performance for inter-office file transfers.
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