[Samba] file server or member server?

Jonathan Buzzard jonathan at buzzard.me.uk
Mon Jul 1 15:36:28 MDT 2013

On 01/07/13 19:56, steve wrote:


> Yes. We take stand alone machines and network them by adding a DC and
> what we call a file server. What I'd like to know is why some guys here
> call what seems to be what we call a file server, a member server. I
> feel we're missing out on something.

In both NT4 style and AD domains you have servers called domain servers 
that serve identification information and provide authentication 
services. These servers may also do other things such as serve files, 
but it is the identification and authentication services that make them 
domain servers. Any server providing identification and authentication 
services is a domain server regardless of anything else it does.

You can then have other servers, such as file servers, print servers, 
web servers etc. that are joined to the domain, and thus you can use 
your domain credentials to authenticate to these servers, in the case of 
an AD domain using the Kerberos ticket you got when you logged onto your 
workstation. However crucially they don't provide identification or 
authentication services. These servers are called member servers.

With larger domains it makes sense to separate out your file and print 
servers from your domain servers, so that the domain servers are 
effectively only providing the identification and authentication 
services and your file and print services are handed off to dedicated 
machines for the task. There is no way a domain server is going to cope 
at a large University for example with tens of thousands of users.

This however is very basic Windows domain terminology/knowledge which I 
would expect anyone offering advice on Samba to fully understand first.


Jonathan A. Buzzard                 Email: jonathan (at) buzzard.me.uk
Fife, United Kingdom.

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