Planning LDAP SAMBA Domain Controller

I am putting together a bid which will include a comparison of using Windows 2003 Server as a primary domain controller, versus some distro (thinking Slackware or Debian) running Samba.  My understanding is:  if I sacrifice X and all the other bells and whistles that create overhead, I could not only save the client on licensing by using linux, but could also save them money by building a more practical smaller server.

- Are my assumptions correct?
- Should I use a different distro (keep in mind I want the pdc stripped down)
- With 20 workstations, what type of hardware (SCSI Controller? RAM? RAID?) would be appropriate for the pdc?
- Are there any resources on the web that may help 'clear up the fog'?

thanks in advance!!!
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Since this is supposed to compete with a commercial, supported, OS I question your choice of distributions. I'd pick RedHat Enterprise Linux or SuSE because they are commercial distributions and have an established support service.

> keep in mind I want the pdc stripped down

There are advantages to have X installed on the server. You don't have to set the system up to boot to a GUI login, but a number of tasks are much easier in an X environment. Being able to run X when needed (via startx) allows you to have the best of both worlds. When the Gui isn't running more resources are available for Samba, and when needed you simply use 'startx' and have the Gui environment.

> With 20 workstations, what type of hardware

It isn't the number of workstations, but what they'll be doing that matters. As stated there isn't enough information to suggest a platform. Could you elaborate?
etherbreezeAuthor Commented:
great suggestions!

the client is basically going to have 20 - 25 client machines that will authenticate against the pdc - i'm also hoping to point two other sites with a few machines at the pdc through a vpn server.  there will also be an exchange server with accounts for each employee, web server, mysql server and vpn server on the network.  the web server will (eventually) host several applications that each client workstation will access.  permissions for the different features of the application will be set using the pdc -

what other information might you need to determine the right distro and hardware to use?
could i run the vpn / pdc from the same machine?  my current design has each server seperate -
What are you considering to use as a file server?
As you are looking at a Linux PDC I assume you are going to runa Linux fileserver using Samba?

My suggestion would be to use a Suse distribution. Suse comes with the XFS file system as an option while installing and this gives you the benefit of Posix ACL's on the file system. Although this wont give you the full range of access permissions you get on a windows file server it is still a major advantage over standard unix type file permissions.
I don't know whether to recomend a server version of SUSE or SUSE Pro 9 which has just been released. SUSE Pro 9 has the new version 3 of samba which would be an advantage but on the other hand the server version has a much longer lifespan and better support. The new version of the server version is not out until August time I believe.

Instead of Exchange I would also have a look at Suse Open Exchange. I am getting an evaluation version in a few weeks with the intention of switching over to it for our corporate email system. There is an online demo of the web interface on the Suse website.

With regard to VPN I have found Linux's implementation to be a bit immature. If you want to run it on a Unix box I would suggest NetBSD as VPN is more mature on that platform and lots of people use it. VPN is best located on the same hardware as the firewall/NAT. Personally I would go for a hardware solution such as a Cisco PIX. You can get a 506E for the same price as a reasonable desktop PC which will be good enough for 15 VPN sessions and bandwidth up to a few Mb/s.
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