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Software Microsoft

Samba Beats Windows IT Week Labs Test Results 380

jmhowitt writes "Tests by IT Week Labs show the latest version of the open-source Samba file and print server software is 2.5 times faster than Windows Server 2003 in the same role. The news comes as many firms are grappling with the consequences of Microsoft ending support for NT4, coupled with uncertainty about when Microsoft will next update Windows. The performance difference between Windows Server 2003 and Samba 3 has increased dramatically compared with Samba 2 and Windows 2000 Server."
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Samba Beats Windows IT Week Labs Test Results

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  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:04AM (#7198455) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Samba for awhile, and despite some config difficulties it performed as advertised.

    However, even if it's quicker than Windows Server 2003, NFS still seems to do a great deal better on my home network for the same things. For example, I typically get 10%-20% of the transfer with SMB as I do with NFS.

    So I don't recommend using Samba at all unless you're looking for Windows compatibility.

    • I get 10%-20% of the transfer with SMB as I do with NFS.

      You are kidding, aren't you? Did you mean 10-20% LESS THEN NFS? (e.g. 10 MB/s NFS vs 9 MB/s SMB)
    • Hell' if your not looking for Windows compatibility, FTP can work wonders. It's got minimal overhead, has been expanded several times (eg SFTP), has a secure base and run's on any system with minimal problems. Window's is a little less compatible (ie it's not as point and click, as the network neighborhood, but still, it's only typing a url)...

      -Gwala
      • by __past__ ( 542467 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @12:16PM (#7200073)
        Excuse me?! FTP is an absolutely braindead protocol from todays point of view - even if you find an interoperable solution to get rid of the plain-text passwords, the multiple-tcp-connections design is a fucking pain for people who have to configure packet filters to make it work. The most popular FTP servers, like WU-FTP or ProFTPD are about as secure a code base as BIND or sendmail. If it were for me, FTP should take its friend telnet and get the fuck off the net, joining finger and rlogin in the nirvana of net services.

        SFTP is a different matter however, but it's less an extension of FTP as an add-on to SSH to implement similar functionality in a completly different way. Not bad as a protocol, but it suffers from the lack of a robust SSH implementation.

    • (Score:5, DUH!)

      So I don't recommend using Samba at all unless you're looking for Windows compatibility.

      Why the hell else would I use Samba? Isn't that the point of the software? A mixed enviroment?
      • Windows compatibility...Why the hell else would I use Samba?

        I can think of one good reason: laziness (Ok, the good part is questionable). I'm familiar with Samba from having to configure it from work. I need to share directories my home network. Samba, for me, is quick and convienent. Also, I trust it a lot more than NFS.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      NFS has extremely bad security. It is practically unusable if you must allow "decentrally administered" systems on your network.
    • by curious.corn ( 167387 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:18AM (#7198496)
      NFS lives in the kernel, Samba in user space. So you're right but remember NFS is utterly insecurable, Samba not. For home NFS is the system of choice but in a larger environment... you want to run Samba (at least until NFSv4 becomes available)
      • by Make ( 95577 ) <max@@@duempel...org> on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:36AM (#7198531) Homepage
        you mean, there is a kernel implementation of the NFS daemon. There is also one which runs purley in userspace, but on Linux, it is not used very much anymore nowadays.

        There is smbclient in userspace (which is similar to an FTP client), but if you want to mount an SMB share into the linux VFS, you need the kernel module - like you need the NFS kernel module if you want to mount an NFS filesystem.
      • nuts. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Erris ( 531066 )
        NFS is utterly insecurable, Samba not. For home NFS is the system of choice but in a larger environment... you want to run Samba

        If security is your worry, use ssh on a reasonable OS in any size environment. As the orignial poster said, Samba is only useful when you have brain dead M$ client machines. If you have a real OS on the desktop, you don't need M$ protocals. Samba, as good as it is, implements M$ holes, so that M$ transmitted diseases from your client boxes can fill up or wipe out your shares

        • Re:nuts. (Score:2, Informative)

          by nolife ( 233813 )
          Samba, as good as it is, implements M$ holes, so that M$ transmitted diseases from your client boxes can fill up or wipe out your shares after calling home and giving away everything you care to keep to yourself.

          WTF are you talking about? The permissions you have on a mapped drive has nothing to do with what you mapped the drive with. Samba, NFS, Novell, FTP, HTTP or logging in locally all depend on permissions you are given to the file system.
          • Re:nuts. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Erris ( 531066 )
            I said:

            Samba, as good as it is, implements M$ holes, so that M$ transmitted diseases from your client boxes can fill up or wipe out your shares after calling home and giving away everything you care to keep to yourself.

            You seem confused and ask, rudely: WTF are you talking about? The permissions you have on a mapped drive has nothing to do with what you mapped the drive with. Samba, NFS, Novell, FTP, HTTP or logging in locally all depend on permissions you are given to the file system.

            Well sure, samba i

            • Re:nuts. (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Cat_Byte ( 621676 )
              I use both linux and several flavors of MS daily. What is the difference in using samba for shares if a *nix box is compromised? None! If a username/pw has access to a share and it is compromised, you have access to the share. This is not a samba/NFS vs MS/*nix problem. This seems to be based on *nix not being hackable and the fact someone can't walk up to a *nix machine logged on and start typing.

              I've been a security admin for almost 10 yrs and keyloggers, machine hijacks, etc DO exist for *nix too.
      • remember NFS is utterly insecurable

        sigh... not so, incorrect and misleading statement.

        at least until NFSv4 becomes available

        sigh.... the "security features" of "NFSv4" are:
        • Not NFSv4 specific. NFSv3 can use them too. Indeed, many other apps can use them. because:
        • Not even related to NFS, they're related to RPC, upon which NFS is built.
        • "security features" only in so far that NFSv4 makes secure RPC mechanisms (eg RPCSEC_GSS) /mandatory/, as opposed to optional (NFSv3), hence the reason why finally L
    • Actually, I wanted to implement an "open-for-all" company-wide scratchpad, and Samba on a FAT partition was the only way to do it.

      Yes, user a should be able to create a file and user b should be able to modify/change that file.

      • Samba on FAT? Are you sure about that?

        Sure, I guess it is possible - since linux can mount FAT, but why? FAT is by far not an ideal filesystem.

        I'd just put your scratchpad on ext3/JFS/reiserfs/xfs/whatever and use the appropriate umask in your samba config file to make all files world writable.

      • Why not use something web-based, like PHProjekt [phprojekt.com]? There are a number of nice tools to let you manage discussions, threads and files online, and http is a "more open" standard than SMB--I only use Samba for file shares (including home drives) and printers.

        With something PHP-or-whatever-based running on a web server, there's no mucking around with file locking problems and their ilk, and you can use SSL to protect user traffic (patch those OpenSSL installations, kids!)
        • IMHO, web-based applications suck. Usually, they fuck up all standards of good user interface design, and they are slow - applications that take more than one second to do something after clicking a button generally feel slow for the user.

          Why web-based applications suck is also shown with webmailers. The proper formatting of emails is only as good as the editor it was written, and if there's one kind of editors that suck galaxies through nanotubes, then it's the text areas in a browser window (like the "Po

          • This is true, although for small companies with reasonably fast internal networks, web-based groupware can be nice--that's why I mentioned phprojekt.

            And to be honest, I don't think 'appearance' and 'formatting' are really good criteria for web-based mailers, although I agree with you that they should be. For now, having platform-independent access to mail across firewalls/proxies when I can't use my own desktop for some reason more than makes up for the obvious deficiencies.
          • IMHO, web-based applications suck.

            Yes, they do. By their very nature (at this time, anyway), the web user interface can never nearly be as potentially rich as a native client. Consider heavy-duty data collection applications as an example. And you're right that the performance is an issue as well.

            However, managers all over (from what I can tell) are clamoring for getting their apps to be web-based. Why? Less administration (esp. at the client workstations), or at least the perception of this. This

    • So I don't recommend using Samba at all unless you're looking for Windows compatibility.

      Actually, I use Samba on Linux to share automounted removeable devices (floppy, zip, cdrom) over the network to my Linux machines. NFS locks removeable devices and doesn't let them go, so you can't reliably share them and then change the media since the automounter won't know they can be unmounted.
    • Network file security is the single biggest reason I have never considered using Linux as a file server. Considering I can set file access rights using the groups which already exist with my user accounts, as well as taking advantage of things like EFS (we have to be extra careful, since we fall under HIPAA), its just better all around.

      Not only that, but it then becomes just another Windows server to support, rather than throwing something new into the mix.

      OS diversification sounds good on paper, but in pr

  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:07AM (#7198467) Journal
    See article... [applelinks.com]
  • by _Hellfire_ ( 170113 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:12AM (#7198480)
    Apart from how bloody quick it is is the fact that you can log every transaction. This is immensely useful in a mission critical environment when you have to figure our exactly why one person in particular out of the entire network is having trouble. Check your Samba logs and 99.9% of the time your answer will be there.

    As a system administrator I appreciate having that level of scrutiny on any network I take care of.
    • also it makes for easy detection of worms or virus spreading. I detect the latest spreading on my samba servers at least 20 hours before the knuckleheads in corperate have the first clue that something is up. and using simple, existing log tools for linux make it happen.

  • Nice advertising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:14AM (#7198484)
    Now where are the numbers to back it up?
    • .. to avoid the inevitable slew of 'but how fast does it run Quake?' gags. No doubt they'll be released later when Nvidia - sorry, I mean Samba will be accused of tweaking their software so as to get unfair benchmarking results.
    • Re:Nice advertising (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stonent1 ( 594886 )
      Now where are the numbers to back it up?

      I was thinking the same thing. The article added nothing to what we already read in the Slashdot summary. The basis of the article "Someone (who is not us) says that Samba is 2.5 times faster than Windows server 2003!"

      Score!!!!!!!!!!
    • Re:Nice advertising (Score:5, Informative)

      by AstroDrabb ( 534369 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @12:15PM (#7200063)
      Sadly the MS Empire does not allow you to release benchmark stats for their products. You agree to this when you use their products through their EULA. I am sure IT Labs doesn't want to get crap over it. Then agian, maybe they will find a way to post the numbers.
  • It was only some days since i read a (biased) article of how much faster windows 2003 was than Samba. I wonder what version they compared against? 0.1?

    Seems like samba is keeping the lead despite MS having thrown every service known to man far to close to the kernel to be comfortable.
    • Microsoft is good at comparing their latest product with yesterday's news. The Microsoft figures were a comparison with Samba 2. Not only that, the Samba software configuration was not exactly great if memory serves me well.
    • The article that you read stated how much faster Windows 2003 was vs. Samba was at transferring very large files. It mentioned nothing of testing performance under large user loads which is more indicative of actual corporate networks. Also, the Windows team was allowed to tweak their installation of Windows 2003 to get maximum performance. Their installation of Samba was a basic installation with no optimizations. Their reasoning for that was that they didn't know Linux and Samba well enough to tweak i
  • by MadX ( 99132 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:19AM (#7198499)
    I read a while ago about some of the SAMBA developers having a better grasp of how the services / protocol all tie together, than the M$ employees doing the development. Most of the current M$ team inherited code from the older versions of the OS, and they are merely building on top of this codebase. The SAMBA team have had to reverse engineer the protocol. So it seems to make sense therefore, that should you understand it better, you can sqeeze more out of the service on the whole. It therefore appears that it can only get better and better as they develop ..
    I also don't know how many developers are on the samba team in total (contributors / developers), but I would almost start assuming more than the manpower assigned by M$ to this area of code for Windows .. And with it being opensource, bugs are easier to find ...
    • by NewbieProgrammerMan ( 558327 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:58AM (#7198672)

      Good points. Here's an additional one: the Samba team doesn't have PHBs to get in the way. In my limited experience, if you're given an existing codebase and told to improve on it, that's exactly what you're expected to do - and it's all you're expected to do. You can't discover that "wow, this legacy code is crap," throw the offending chunks away and write something that works correctly and is more stable and/or secure.

      The Samba team has complete freedom with their code, while the Microsoft developers do not.

      • by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @09:32AM (#7198860) Homepage
        You can't discover that "wow, this legacy code is crap," throw the offending chunks away and write something that works correctly and is more stable and/or secure.

        That's because there are tradeoffs in everything... if you've been told to "clean up the codebase", take a bit to look at the codebase, and tell your manager that it's going to take X amount of time to do that the manager has to decide whether or not it's worth the time to do so -- since otherwise your time could be spent doing other things. And odds are the cleaning up isn't going to show an immediate return to the company. Of course, there are other plusses to cleaning up code -- like doing it right may mean that you can implement future features in less time -- but those are harder to quantify.

        Any large project -- be it OSS or closed source -- has to deal with these issues in one way or another. Sure... in OSS anyone (in theory) can decide to go off and clean up the code base. But unless it's done with the input from the team then that effort may be for naught -- unless you're communicating structural changes then merging the two code bases may prove impossible (since new features/bugfixes will have diverged the codebase), the rest of the team may not feel comfortable with the new structure as they are with the old (which is part of a larger issue -- if anyone feels like they "own" parts of the code then they may get offended if you say it's crap and rewrite it entirely -- which is one reason why code ownership is bad), or other issues. If you do do it with the blessing of the team, it still has to be done in a reasonable amount of time for it to be worthwhile -- otherwise the code will either diverge too far or the project will stagnate while waiting on the rewrite.

        And, of course, any time you rewrite you run the risk (read: certainty) that you'll introduce new bugs in known, working code.

        Open source projects are freed from the time == money constraint if they have no commercial interests whatsoever, but that isn't to say that time becomes free. It's just that it's not necessarily an overriding factor. (Oh, and it's not one at all companies either -- that's entirely up to your manager and the structure of project management; but the more rigorous the framework of management the more likely it is be one).
    • Yup, now we'll just have to wait untill microsoft switches from their own implementation to Samba :-)
      I suspect thta it will be a few years in the future untill that happens though.
    • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @10:48AM (#7199412)
      MicroSoft has a history of maintaining its monopoly by breaking compatibility with competitor's products by subtily changing (or they claim its extending and enhancing) the protocol. The most famous example were DrDOS and Java. If Samba gets too close, I wouldn't be suprised if MS didn't come up with an "enchancement" to Active Directory or SMB/CIFS or the NT-authentication protocols that will break Samba. The up-coming service pack will be the perfect oportunity for a "security fix" that will wall out Samba for a while.

      (Related but slightly off-topic) A few days ago, there was an article about IE having broken support for standards, especailly CSS. I don't think that is an acident. I strongly suspect that MS won't fix IE because the "problem" helps them maintain a monopoly in browsers. If you want to get your stuff to render properly in 95% of people's browsers, you have to code to IE, not the "standard". This means your stuff won't render properly in the other 5% of browsers unless you go through lots of trouble to do browser dectection, alternate pages, or take lots of care for cross-browser compatibility.
  • ... with Panther. Longhorn (or some interim SP) should include Samba 3 for CIFS protocol support... *evil grin*
  • by Fefe ( 6964 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:27AM (#7198517) Homepage
    Where are the numbers?

    Where are the graphs?

    The article basically quotes some guy (who is actually selling Samba and thus has a vested interest) saying that Samba is 2.5 times faster than Windows 2003.

    Now I have no reason not to believe him, but I was expecting a little more. And I'd wager the suits considering switching to Samba also expect more.
    • And I'd wager the suits considering switching to Samba also expect more.

      What, you mean the suits who get all of their "technical" information by clicking the ads that come up in articles like this? AHHHH AHAHAHAHAHAH! *sniff* Sorry... you're funny!

      Alright, I'm just pulling your leg - that's the first thing that hit me too. What good does it do me to hear some guy saying "Nyah nyah, we're better!" without seeing both the data AND the complete configurations that each system was tested under. I want to

      • never trust benchmarks until you've confirmed them on your own.

        For 99% of us though, that is extremely impractical. One might as well not read hardware reviews at all, and rely entirely on self-experience. Compromises must be made in whom and how we trust. I've found that benchmarks that I do not confirm myself are just about always accurate (after purchasing the actual hardware and testing it myself) when they are replicated by multiple sources.
    • If Windows 2003 is anything like previous versions, Microsoft makes it perform poorly on purpose to make their more expensive versions look better. A lot of their products insert delays when the number of clients exceeds the license limit.

      "While Windows performance scales up well initially, it then drops off quickly as more clients access the server."

      So I'd like to see more benchmarks too, and more details on the test setup. It's entirely possible that samba really is faster. NT file sharing is so slow th
    • I heard before (in the w2k days) that on a given piece of hardware, Samba ran twice as fast as w2k file sharing. When 2003 was first being touted a few months ago, MS said that they improved file serving so it was "faster than the competition", which means it's as fast as Samba (if not faster.) And now Samba is 2.5x faster again? That's more than a little unbelievable.

      What I'd like to see would be an open, month-long contest, with 3 boxes--say, a single P4 with a couple drives, a dual-xeon+RAID, and some h
  • by hughk ( 248126 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @07:33AM (#7198528) Journal
    that Samba/Linux charge. The performance boost is just a nice plus.

    A frequent rule in the Windows business is to split systems up over many machines. Which is great for Microsoft because essentially, you pay per client connection. With Linux/Samba, you pay according to the support that you want.

    The really good thing in 3.0 was allowing the participation in ADS networks (Win 2K) as well as NT4.0. Domain controller support could be better for ADS, but otherwise it is fine.

    • A frequent rule in the Windows business is to split systems up over many machines. Which is great for Microsoft because essentially, you pay per client connection. With Linux/Samba, you pay according to the support that you want.

      If you license properly, Microsoft gains little with additional servers. The client access licences (CALs) apply to any Windows server, so CAL costs only scale with the number of clients, not servers. The marginal cost of adding another server, once CALs are in place, is only the c

      • What it comes down to is that to split a Win Server across many actual boxes, it means spending a lot of money. Frequently I have had problems with ghosts (Clients that have gone away, but are still taking up licenses) also with servers being themselves clients. Resetting the license server helps but it gets tedious.

        I'm afraid that for many specific jobs Win2K3 is too expensive (and I haven't even mentioned resource usage). Businesses are struggling now and although I would admit that 2K3 has a lot of nic

  • ...coupled with uncertainty about when Microsoft will next update Windows
    Why would firms be uncertain as to when Microsoft will next update Windows? Windows Server 2003 has recently been released, and it's not like Microsoft are going to stop supporting it any time soon.
  • by Ratface ( 21117 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:00AM (#7198551) Homepage Journal
    Read the original poster's text again. Amazing how if this text were written comparing MS to Samba in the *other* direction everyone would be up in arms about the FUD value!

    We need to be careful that we don't end up tarred with our own brush!

  • by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:01AM (#7198552) Journal
    ...for a project that started out as a hack to tranfer some files between a SunOS box and some Messy DOS box running LANMAN.

    I appreciate Samba, especially with the PDC stuff that obviates the need for costly NT server licenses here at the $workplace. Great to see that a hack that was born out of need is running circles around the cream of the Borg's crop.

    Also, I agree with the rest that I'd love to see the numbers to back up the claims. Not that it really matters though. With samba you get a real good solution for an infintessimal fraction of the price of the Microsoft malware :)

  • by m00nun1t ( 588082 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:08AM (#7198562) Homepage
    We all know anytime someone publishes a benchmark favouring Windows (and there have been quite a few - tpc.org being a great example), it is instantly ripped to shreds, so why is this different?

    We all know that it's impossible to do a benchmark that all parties think is fair and accurate.
    • Just have each vendor send a group to configure the systems. Give them them both the same amount of money to purchase the systems. Once the benchmark has been run, have the other teams point out the flaws in the setup in each system.
    • We all know anytime someone publishes a benchmark favouring Windows (and there have been quite a few - tpc.org being a great example), it is instantly ripped to shreds, so why is this different?

      Because the reviewer is not taking a percentage of a non-extant samba licensing fee, that's why. It's much easier to trust free software reviews than it is to trust people trying to sell you binaries. People in the free software world have many options to chose from, why would they lie about any of them? Think a

      • You're working on the VERY unsafe assumption that the testers didn't have some bias - perhaps from an organisation that sells open source support services, or simply have a strong anti-MS bias.

        Someone somewhere paid for those tests to be done - who and why? The publisher for just one article in a magazine? Seems unlikely in a cut throat environment.
      • "why would they lie about any of them?"

        Pride, aka pissing contest. People involved with free software seem to have a very strong hatred of Microsoft.

        And yes, there are extremists in the open source community.

        Besides, the organization making these statements might have a financial interest in Samba.
    • It's not (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xtifr ( 1323 )
      ...benchmark[s] favouring Windows [...] [are] instantly ripped to shreads, so why is this different?

      It's not different: the thread is FULL of people (including you) asking "where's the numbers" and calling this study FUD. Some of the highest moderated comments, in fact.

      Unfortunately, the response seems to be: MS doesn't allow anyone to publish their numbers. IIRC, they added this clause to their licenses after Oracle published some unfavorable-to-MS benchmarks.

      The real difference is that when OSS lose
  • by fuzzybunny ( 112938 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:08AM (#7198564) Homepage Journal

    I serve printers from samba boxes to WinXP and W2k clients. I do not like dealing with setting up print queues on unix (unix printing and modem handling are evil, created by spawns of satan to make systems administrators miserable for all eternity), and I don't like Samba's way of dealing with them. It's still a bit too black-magic-swing-a-cat-over-your-head-at-midnight -y for my tastes when I need it to work in a hurry.

    I've found CUPS [cups.org] to be a magnificent way of dealing with this; the combination of Samba, Unix, and WinXP/2k actually deals with printers very nicely over IPP.
  • Sneaky popunder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jsmyth ( 517568 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {htymsrej}> on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:20AM (#7198588) Homepage

    Dunno if anyone else noticed, but when I clicked on the article, a "VNUNet Special" opened in the background, which was an advertisement or promotion under another name. It was formatted just like all other VNUNet articles, but was clearly a Microsoft sales pitch for W2003, complete with a flash advert on the right, and one at the top, both for W2003.

    Interestingly unbiased, when clicking on a Samba article...

    • Nope, didn't see it. Of course, I'm running Mozilla with popup blocking turned on. So I never see those things. Fitting that Mozilla saved me from a MS advert, huh?
  • The numbers.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bill_Mische ( 253534 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:23AM (#7198594)
    There are a lot of people asking about the numbers.

    Well, I get the print edition of IT Week and the numbers are there on page 19, in the form of a lovely little graph. The (print) article says they used a HP ProLiant BL10 eCLass Server (900MHz PIII, 40Gb ATA, 512Mb Ram) and goes in to a little detail about the benchmarking software used.

    I couldn't see a copy of the article on their website but you can download an electronic copy, in some god-forsaken windows only ebook format, from www.itweek.co.uk/ebook.
    • Re:The numbers.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sheldon ( 2322 )
      Wait a minute. The BL10 is a Blade server.

      Who would use a Blade for a file server?

      Something doesn't make sense about that choice. Why not an Proliant ML530 or ML570? Something with RAID, an I/O bus and internal expansion? The BL10 only comes with a single ATA 40 Gig drive, no RAID... and you can't even hook it up to an external fibre array storage box like EMC.

      That just seems like a really bizarre choice, almost makes me wonder if they had an ulterior motive.
  • by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:39AM (#7198619)
    I know this is more of a AskSlashdot question...

    My impression of Linux/Unix systems has always been that each host has it's own set of user accounts and if I have 3 hosts it means that I have to maintain 3 sets of passwords. With NT4/Win2000, my servers share a common userspace so that you only have to maintain a single user account. Is there something under Linux/Unix that does this?

    How easy is it to drop a Samba server into an existing Win2000 network? Our Novell 5 server is starting to show it's age (file/printing only) and I'm starting to wonder whether to move to a later version of Novell, switch to Linux/Samba, use a NAS device, or just load up another Win2000 server.

    (With the security issues this year with Windows, however, I'm not sure I want to make Windows our main file server.)
    • My impression of Linux/Unix systems has always been that each host has it's own set of user accounts and if I have 3 hosts it means that I have to maintain 3 sets of passwords. With NT4/Win2000, my servers share a common userspace so that you only have to maintain a single user account.

      And you would have a similar impression if you only deployed individual Windows NT/2k servers ...

      Is there something under Linux/Unix that does this?

      Unix typcially uses NIS, NIS+ or LDAP, however samba also provides Winb
    • Have to maintain seperate logins: No, there are various solutions to this including ldap (openldap + pam_ldap + nss_ldap) Kerberos5 (krb5) or NIS (yptools) which are very easy to setup under a distro such as redhat. ('setup' -> authentication configuration (or just 'authconfig') It is (after the ldap/kerberos server is up) as easy as adding windows boxes to a domain.

      As for adding a machine to a domain: it should be quite easy (though I must admit I have never had to do it, because 2 people (me, and a w

    • Well, I forget how they accomplish it here on our unix boxen (HP-UX, solaris, Linux) but there is a network available user identification service so that I only have to use one user/password no matter what type of box I telnet into. Password changes and new users are reflected immediately, and the home directories are all remotely mounted so you have access to them no matter what box I am on. This is what interoperability is about.

      <rant>We have a network appliance here called a filer so that there
    • Our Novell 5 server is starting to show it's age (file/printing only) and I'm starting to wonder whether to move to a later version of Novell, switch to Linux/Samba, use a NAS device, or just load up another Win2000 server.

      Ugh.

      Netware: File/Print.
      Linux: Application Server
      Windows: Desktop

      Keep your Netware box - if anything it's a central source of authentication for everything. Windows is garbage for a server - Programmers seem to have this need for using UNC names, which royally screws up upgra

  • Excuse me... (Score:3, Flamebait)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @08:43AM (#7198625)
    I am a big fan of OSS, *BSD, Linux, Samba, you name it, but I have to call bulllshit on this one. A 2.5 x speed advantage can only mean one thing: misconfigured Windows machines. In my own experience (running a FreeBSD box with Samba 2.2.8 on a LAN full of Win2000/XP boxes), the Samba speed advantage has been about 30-40%.

    Where are the system specs, charts, graphs, actual numbers ?
    • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @09:18AM (#7198781)
      Samba 3 is a very different beast from 2.2, your remark is equivalent to basing an opinion of Windows 2K on your experiences with DOS 5.0.

      The numbers are in the dead-tree edition, I'm told. I don't know if they actually show any real information, because I haven't seen them.

      Samba had a 2x speed advantage over Windows NT 3.51 when that was the current MS offering, though, so I don't find this completely unbelievable.
    • Re:Excuse me... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @10:29AM (#7199240) Journal
      A 2.5 x speed advantage can only mean one thing: misconfigured Windows machines.
      You might be interested in this article [linux-mag.com] describing the implementations of SMB and Samba, as well as the documentation list at samba.org [samba.org]. Additionally, Microsoft has had many issues with the LMB, DMB, and backup browser implementations, partly due to historical network decisions and old networking bugs and highly visible on volitle networks. Some of the difficulties with SMB include methods of caching the data and cache consistancy, the inconsistant rate of refereshes done within the network, (on windows) the auto-detection and auto-creation of LMB and LMB-backup nodes, and the presumption of the underlying network.

      I'll focus on the network cache consistancy problem since that's the one I've had problems with. I don't know about the general speed issue (what speed are you referring to? throughput? Resource availablility? Master Browser updates? connection speed and concurrency under a heavy user load? ) I have experienced all kinds of problems with a highly volitile network, with programmers running multiple OS's inside of virtual machines. These virtual OS's need to be frequently restarted, meaning the network is constantly gaining and droping objects.

      A prime example of Microsoft's bad cache coherency problem is that if an object is deleted or removed from the network, the information can take over an hour to propogate through the entire network. The worst case isn't nearly as bad in the pure-Samba implementation, but the difficulty remains. This failure means that newly added resources aren't immediately visible on the network, or recently removed resources take a long time to be removed, and show up as errors when you try to access them. Or the object can be visible on some machines, but not available on others.

      When there is a high level of volitility on the network (machines being frequently rebooted or shut down, network re-wiring, etc.) this can really plague any SMB or CIFS network, but is especially hard on Windows boxes, and more so the older your Windows implementation. Problems are exacerbated if either the LMB or LMB-backup system is the one going back up and down, because the Windows boxes will respond less-quickly to the problem; this results in further instability for the SMB network, since critical nodes are not available, propogate incorrect data, and take longer to reconfigure.

      As you mentioned, the Samba boxes are faster than the Windows boxes, but not as big of a difference as you experience. You said you have "a LAN full of Win2000/XP boxes", which probably means they are on most or all of the time. Is it unreasonable to assume that the author has a more volitle network, or is otherwise more prone to speed impairment issues?

      frob

  • by SailFly ( 560133 ) on Monday October 13, 2003 @09:03AM (#7198690) Homepage
    I'm a networking, sysadmin, programmer (mostly programmer) consultant for small businesses in Sarasota, Florida. Most of my customers are small businesses (less than 12 people) and are looking for ways to keep costs down.

    After proposing a new 2.4GHz server with Win2k3, they were sticker shocked and decided to not hire me for the job. Then one of THEM mentioned Linux (which I love and hav used for 5 years). I told them that I use Linux in my software development practice, and we could consider this as an alternative for File Server (Samba), centralized security (ldap) and backups (Mandrake backup utility). We're also using VNC (realvnc.org) for remote desktop. I can also easily SSH and do remote X session from my office, or use VNC.

    It's been up for a week now, and they LOVE IT! It's fast, flexible, and you cant beat the price. And I've learned my Lesson to be mention Linux even when they specifically ask for Windows (I'm not a pushy sales person, but I do believe an presenting choices to my customers)

    They wanted to outsource their IT department (the owner doesn't ever want to worry or think about their IT issues), so we made a deal that allows me to keep their systems updated, but doesn't force him to hire an on-site IT person.

    Speed was NOT an issue for the Samba server, since they mostly use MS Office (win xp pro workstations) documents. However, this was a great step for them to embrace and support open source software (I donate to several projects in turn).

    I hope this story might help somebody who is considering doing something similar. I'm happy to answer any questions about our experiences.

    -Scott James

    • Samba is a great tool for promoting Linux, I've found. When I began working at my current job they had a rack of (remarkably unstable) NT4 machines, with a couple of Linux servers doing nothing particularly worthwhile. I mentioned maybe installing some apps to make them more useful to everyone, and was given free reign (though I'm actually employed as a software developer rather than an admin).

      Anyway, it's fair to say the NT admins, and other IT staff were pretty impressed once I'd integrated the Linux box
  • Expect a new series of ``independent'' studies showing that Win2003 is somehow superior to Linux+Samba in terms of TCO. Of course, they will only be able to show this by slapping an Oracle database on the file server in order to skew the costs in Microsoft's favor.

  • Even assuming this is true, does it matter?

    I mean, has it ever actually happened that somebody says "Gosh, my 2Ghz fileserver with fast ethernet and half-a-gig of RAM serves files too slowly?"

    I don't think in the last 5 years I've seen a fileserver running above 5% utilization unless the virus-scanner was doing a sweep.
    • Absolutely. Talk to anyone in a CAD environment. We have servers with over 4GB of RAM and have 1Gig Network cards (both client and server side). We realized speed increases on the client end every upgrade of the server, increased RAM and higher speed network cards. Then again we may be 'different' we have 100's of thousands of parts that are opened in each assembly.
      • Yeah, that's different. But honestly, if you actually have enormous numbers of *files* it's probably protocol overhead killing you anyway, rather than bandwidth or server capacity.

        I mean, you may be able to buy a bit by throwing hardware at it, but I'd bet money that you don't actually saturate that gigabit ethernet.

        I admint it would matter if you're trying to build a fileserver into your digital camera or some crazy thing like that...
    • I mean, has it ever actually happened that somebody says "Gosh, my 2Ghz fileserver with fast ethernet and half-a-gig of RAM serves files too slowly?"

      I mostly agree -- there are niche situations where things slow down, but even then, it's easy these days to throw more hardware at the problem.

      What's more important to my mind, is ease of administration, so it's nice to see a link to an older story on that page "Samba simplifies admin".
    • by laird ( 2705 )
      You're right that for a typical workgroup raw performance doesn't much matter -- either NT or Linux+SAMBA would be "fast enough."

      Where this does matter is to someone:

      1) Making a decision between NT and Linux+SAMBA. It's great for the OSS alternative to not only be better strategically, but faster and cheaper. You'd have to work pretty hard to justify why you'd pay more (forever) for a slower fileserver that's less secure and requires you to do more paperwork and maintenance.

      2) Trying to save money. A 2.5
    • by Halo- ( 175936 )
      Try working as a developer on a large corporate software product. An average build in around a gig a pop, and you either have people "backing" to them, or copying them wholesale. Add in the fact that these patterns are also really bursty (based on build publications) and you are talking serious overhead.

      We don't use Samba as the primary fileserver, but the majority of the windows developers use a Samba mirror (or gateway) to the backing tree.

      If copying a build goes from 20 minutes to 10 minutes, and the

  • From the article, the first impression one would get is that "Samba" is an operating system. After all, they're comparing it to Windows Server 2003.

    No, wait, it's not, it's a service that runs on top of an operating system.

    So which OS was used in the tests? Huh, it doesn't say.

    This article is worthless.
  • To make up for all the lost time trying to get it working :)

    Seriously though it can be rather fiddly to get it all configured right, but at least having all the settings in one config file lets you back it up once you really do get that perfect setup.

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