[Samba] samba 4 questions

AJ Hettema joukio at gmail.com
Thu Sep 16 08:28:21 MDT 2010

hi All,

first of all, please keep up the good work. I use samba for at least 10
years now, and it never let me down. And the samba 4 release would even be
better then ever (tried the alpha's already in test labs with multiple AD
controllers, very impressive).

But, now I am facing some difficulties. I need to migrate a small firm (40
users or something, will increase to 50 in 2 years or so) to a newer
infrastructure and they use samba just for file sharing for the moment
(version 3). It's rock solid stable with up times of 200 days or so. For the
moment they lack any user authentication platform, they just have local
users with some scripts on there machines and based on some configuration
files on a read only samba share they get access to specific shares or not.

I would like to migrate them to a twin server setup for dns, dhcp and samba.
WIthin dhcp and dns I can get primary/secondary configurations pretty easy,
and with the DFS stuff in samba3 I can have a very acceptable solution  for
failover as well (with the help of some regedits and scripts to clean up the
cache and configure some client parameters). If the primary server fails,
just logout and log on again and the shares will be accessed on the
secondary server with a small timeout. The data will be replicated to this
second server with a max interval of an hour, which is enough. Ok so far the
general idea.

They don't have something like AD for the moment and implementing MS AD
would mean additional costs (hardware and license costs) and administrative
overhead. So I want to know if it would be possible to use Samba 4 alpha 12
for this purpose? I don't need the full set of features, only the below

- a single domain consisting of 2 samba servers acting as Domain Controllers
(with replication of course)
- users and groups within this domain, nothing spectacular, just a group per
share and some application groups
- DFS functionality as in samba 3
- file serving (incl. roaming profiles)

I don't need intermixed domains with MS AD servers, only winxp clients will
talk to these servers.
I don't need the printing stuff, because that's quiet easy to handle with
some scripts (based on groups of course).
I don't need the group policy stuff very much as well (I do use it however),
because basically that's just registry settings which are configured and I
can do that scripted as well.
I can handle the dhcp/dns/ddns stuff via their respective configurations,
and all the machine's will have fixed ip-addresses in the dhcp server
anyway. There is just a small dhcp-range for incidental usage.

Now, the question is, can I use samba 4 alpha12 or later for the above
mentioned requirements? I don't mind compiling and rebuilding in case of
newer versions and I am comfortable with some bugs (for instance, everything
needs to be lowercase, passwords aren't changeable by users, or something
like that). I even don't mind to reboot once every week or month or so (have
to do maintenance anyway). So basically, is the code for these features
stable enough or not?

Or is it possible to use groups in Samba 3 and have some central user
authentication as with Samba 4 would be the case? (then I will upgrade to
Samba 4 when it is released of course)

kind regards and thanks in advance


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