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linux in a windows environment

Posted on 2003-12-05
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As of right now the network I am working with has 3 servers
Server 1 is a windows 2000 PDC that is also the file server SQL server and print server.
Server 2 is a NT box running exchange 5.5 also runs flexlm
Server 3 is a windows 2000 oracle server.

I would like to do some updates to the network and create some redundancy. Create a BDC would be nice, and to bring in 2 servers for file servers and create some sort of mirror. With windows, there is octopus and others. But what about linux is there some way to set 2 file servers up to mirror each other for redundancy or is there a better hardware solution than using 2 servers?

I have never setup linux as a file server before. I know samba is what is used but that’s about all I know. I have been running linux at home for about 1.5 years now and it has been great for a web server and email server. In fact windows never runs anymore unless I need to do some remote administration from home.

I am seriously considering Suse Openexchange to replace our exchange server. In fact, I have already turned in a request to the boss on this one. I’m just not sure if open exchange is the right choice. I used postfix UW-IMAP along with Squirrelmail flawlessly at home :)

What about using linux as a domain controller, What advantages or disadvantages is there? Can I still use domain policies and logon scripts? Do I use samba for this? How does this work on the windows 98 and 2000 workstations, meaning I will need to download and install the samba client on each workstation but how will the mapped drives in windows look and act. How will this effect the users?

If I was to stay with windows for the domain controller, how do I give permissions to shares in samba by username? Is samba capable of grabbing the user names and information from the Microsoft domain controller?

I know I have asked allot of questions some that have no right or wrong answer. I have been reading and researching for hours now and really could use a head start in understanding how the linux side of things works, when trying to implement it into a windows environment.

Thanks,
AD
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Question by:illtbagu
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by:rafamvc
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Samba is a very good software, but it dont act like a Domain Controler as Windows 2000.
Samba is more close to be a NT4 than a Windows 2000, but still a good solution.

Samba has a "friendly" interface, called SWAT, but isnt so intutive like windows interface.

From samba documentation:
"What Samba Does

File & print services
Authentication and Authorization
Name resolution
Service announcement (browsing)
"

BUT the new version of samba can do all that windows 2000 do, BUT it still a beta version. I suggest to you to start study with samba 3 to use it when it goes for final version. here is a link to official documentation:

http://us2.samba.org/samba/docs/man/

And for your questions i will asnwer on next post.
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rafamvc earned 250 total points
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"I would like to do some updates to the network and create some redundancy. Create a BDC would be nice, and to bring in 2 servers for file servers and create some sort of mirror. With windows, there is octopus and others. But what about linux is there some way to set 2 file servers up to mirror each other for redundancy or is there a better hardware solution than using 2 servers?"

           What you call file server? Is a remote profile? or is just a "mapped"(i hate this term, the right term is mounted) space for users?

"I have never setup linux as a file server before. I know samba is what is used but that’s about all I know. I have been running linux at home for about 1.5 years now and it has been great for a web server and email server. In fact windows never runs anymore unless I need to do some remote administration from home."

To setup Linux as a FS you will need to install something like XFS to make possible to mount users space on windows. XFS is a partition type, properly made to do FS tasks. One good, very good solution is use PAM and LDAP to manage Users, LDAP is the same structure used by Active Directory from Windows to make the "database" for users and policys, and PAM is a Authentication Manager for all linux tasks, like logon (for linux and windows across samba), like FTP, Mail accounts (SMTP and POP), advanced mail search (like Active Directory does to search emails into same server), and user print quota, also HD space quota.

"I am seriously considering Suse Openexchange to replace our exchange server. In fact, I have already turned in a request to the boss on this one. I’m just not sure if open exchange is the right choice. I used postfix UW-IMAP along with Squirrelmail flawlessly at home :)"

Squirrelmail is very stable, and is a good option. And some Windows Network Admins hate IMAP, cause IMAP is very expensive for network bandwitch, but Exchange is more than IMAP. If your plan is only to replace mail service from windows to Linux, and dont wanna have too much work (PAM and LDAP are a little hard to use) i suggest you to use Qmail+Vpopmail+VmailMGR. is a nice combination and there is a very good how to on internet. i can search for you if u choose for it.

"What about using linux as a domain controller, What advantages or disadvantages is there?"
Is very nice, but i suggest wait for Version 3 of Samba, cause Samba 2 cant do it fine.

"Can I still use domain policies and logon scripts?"
Yes, with Samba 3 you can.

" Do I use samba for this?"
Yes.

"How does this work on the windows 98 and 2000 workstations, meaning I will need to download and install the samba client on each workstation but how will the mapped drives in windows look and act. How will this effect the users?"
Your windows workstation will act like your using Windows 2000, cause SAMBA focus is that use.

"If I was to stay with windows for the domain controller, how do I give permissions to shares in samba by username? Is samba capable of grabbing the user names and information from the Microsoft domain controller?"
Good question, but probally samba 3 can do. We can make a test with it.

"I know I have asked allot of questions some that have no right or wrong answer. I have been reading and researching for hours now and really could use a head start in understanding how the linux side of things works, when trying to implement it into a windows environment."
Good job ;)

"Thanks,
AD"
Ask when u need.
[]´s
Rafael Cardoso
rafamvc at superig.com.br
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by:illtbagu
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rafamvc,

Wow cool thanks for all of the great information, that was awesome. Very good advise :)
This will take some time to digest.

Samba 3 sounds really cool. When do you think samba 3 is going to be officially released? I see on the samba website, under announcements that its suggesting it will be really soon.

To answer your question about what I am referring to as a file server: meaning a server with shared drives that have permissions set upon the drives contents for user access and rights to manage or view the files contained within. So I'm assuming you refer to this as "mounted space for users" because now we are talking *nix. Setting up 2 file servers to mirror each other would be my dream machine :)

PAM huh? I want to say that squirrel mail uses this for authentication if I remember right (I guess that only makes sense). Infact now that I think of it thats what manages all of the user rights and authentication on my redhat machine. Just like you said.

>>To setup Linux as a FS you will need to install something like XFS to make possible to >>mount users space on windows.
XFS hmmm? No ext3. I thought thats what the samba client did, mount the users space on windows workstation machine. I will read some more :)
don'treceiving
>>Squirrelmail is very stable, and is a good option. And some Windows Network Admins hate >>IMAP, cause IMAP is very expensive for network bandwitch, but Exchange is more than >>IMAP
Well to be perfectly honest with you my idea was to go with a completely web based system for the MUA. I just dont see a need for using anything like outlook or evolution. Most email users where I work are only sending and recieveing on the average of about 20 emails a day per user. Thats not very much. With squirrelmail its so easy to use its makes me sick :). Why even spend the money on say 50 licenses of outlook when the web based solutions are just as good if not better. This of course is just my opinion as a user.

Thanks again,
AD
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by:ahoffmann
ahoffmann earned 250 total points
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starting somewhere with version 2.x Samba can be used as full replacement of M$'s domain functionality. File sharing works since awn of Samba.
With 2.x it should also be possible to replace win2k and AD.
For Exhcnage, Samba is not the choice, but SuSE's openexchaneg might be.
To tell you more about this, you need to tell more details which functionality you need from exchange. If it's just mail, then any simple MTA (postdif, qmail, sendmail) is sufficient.

As you're talking about 20mail/day/per user, any webmail solution should be ok too.
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by:illtbagu
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>>To tell you more about this, you need to tell more details which functionality you >>need from exchange
Groupware ;) (squirrelmail is making leaps and bounds in this are. Though I don't think its truly considered a groupware solution in the linux community, I think it has potential to fit most of those kinds of needs by the user)

I have downloaded Samba 3.x and have been playing around with it for about a day. I have been using both swat and webmin for configuring.

What solutions are there for linux/samba as far as running it as a backup domain controller to a windows 2000 primary domain controller? Is it possible for login scripts and domain policies using samba because I'm not seeing that anywhere (is winbindd part of this)?

I guess the real question in the end is, is it worth it to run linux as the primary domain controller or even as a main file server over windows? Is it worth it to run samba as a backup domain controller or file server if it is possible?
The fact of the matter is we are running all windows 98 and 2000 workstations and it seems the only advantage that samba has over windows in my situation is cost. How true is this?

Thanks,
AD
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by:ahoffmann
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yes, Samba can be used to provide logon scripts.
First setup Samba as BDC to your current PDC.
Then switch of your PDC and Samba outomatically becomes PDC ;-)
At least up to version 2.x it was not possible to switch back from Samba PDC to a M$ PDC.

> .. only advantage .. is cost.
A Samba server can be setup on any other host, just by copying it's setup. Ready.
If this (and the costs) are not enough, why are you thinking about Samba?
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by:illtbagu
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>If this (and the costs) are not enough, why are you thinking about Samba?
Please dont get me wrong linux is awsome, linux is all I use at home. But It has its goods and bads just like any things else in this world. As a email server it blows away what the microsoft world has to offer and its very apperent. I also seems to me as a file server it can do everything that microsoft has to offer. Im just not seeing the more apperent benifits of using samba over what microsoft has to offer thats all. I always question both sides.

>A Samba server can be setup on any other host, just by copying it's setup.
What exactly do you mean?

The reason why I am so currous about the login script question is I run panda anti virus and it updates the workstation signiture files everytime the machine logs into the network.

What about domain policies? Can samba or some other software offer some sort of manipulation with domain policies?

Thanks,
AD
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by:ahoffmann
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>> .. Samba server can be setup on any other host, ..
> What exactly do you mean?
I meant that you can simply copy a server and its data, including all setup information.
Try this with shares and permissions on a domain controller without 3'rd party software.

> .. panda anti virus .. login
Samba can do this too.

> What about domain policies?
what do you mean?

> Can samba or some other software offer some sort of manipulation with domain policies?
Don't understand this too. Do you mean something like M$'s policy editor?
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by:mikesg
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I havent had any problems with Linux, or samba in any areas of what you're trying to do.  The software I use supports the following.

***VPN***
 
***Firewall and Network Security***
Stateful Firewall
Intrusion detection
 
***Web Server***
Apache web server
Support for CGI and PHP
Secure/SSL support
 
***File Services ***
FTP server
Windows file server
AppleShare file server
 
***E-mail ***
POP and IMAP servers
SMTP server
Webmail
Antispam engine
Antivirus (Office Edition only)
 
***Filtering ***
Banner ad blocking
Web proxy
Content filtering
Bandwidth manager
 
***Printing  ***
Print server support
Printer sharing for Windows
 
***Easy Configuration ***
Web-based configuration
Optional Webmin package
 
***Network Support ***
DSL (including PPPoE)
Cable Modem
802.11b Wireless
Internal DHCP server
Caching nameserver  


The only drawback in my case, is that it requires a broadband connection (cable or Dsl) for connectivity to the outside world.  Two and a half years ago I set this system up on a pentium II 200mhz with 80mb ram and I had no Linux experience whatsoever.  ZERO.  Its very easy to use and setup.  The team who made it have created its own built in configuration system that you can access remotely or on lan via a windows pc and have full functionality without even accessing the console.  I dont even have a monitor or keyboard plugged into my box.  Just a thought.

http://www.clarkconnect.org/info/index.html
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by:illtbagu
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>> What about domain policies?
>what do you mean?
Im sorry I mean "group policy settings" not domain policies, oops :)

>> Can samba or some other software offer some sort of manipulation with domain policies?
>Don't understand this too. Do you mean something like M$'s policy editor?
group policy settings oops again

Thanks,
AD
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by:ahoffmann
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you have to break down M$'s group policies to UNIX (file) permissions and to Samba's restriction directives like
  valid user
  invalid user
  hosts nallow
  hosts deny
  browsable
  read only
  create mask
  etc. etc.

"UNIX permission" means uid/gid set in /etc/passwd and /etc/group, and file/directory permissions, see
   man chmod
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