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Directory service and file sharing under Linux

Posted on 2011-03-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Dear All,

I would like to have some detailed discussion under this article.

My manager asked me to create file sharing (Directory services) for our windows clients . Currently we use windows server, but he insist on changing to linux system.  Where can I start and what do I need to read about. As you know there are different types of directory service, Samba, Redhat Directory services. openLDAP…etc.

Which one is good to go for, and where to start?

thanks
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Question by:uknet80
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de2Zotjes earned 668 total points
ID: 35120222
I am confused by the wording of your question. And specifically this:  file sharing (Directory Services).  In general people mean 2 distinct things with these 2 phrases. File sharing refers to making parts of a filesystem available to remote computers, in the case of windows based clients using the smb/cifs protocol. Directory services refers to making available structured information to the clients. In the context of windows clients this wil almost exclusively mean retrieving information from an "active directory" server. Active directory is an implementation of ldap by microsoft. As you are now using windows server, you are most likely using both these mechanisms.

Making filesystems available via smb/cifs from a linux/unix machine is possible using the samba suite of programs.

Providing directory services to clients that are compatible with active directory is possible using that same samba suite and openldap. For a small setup this could suffice. Once your network starts growing or is  spread over multiple geographical locations you have to sync multiple instances and this quickly becomes cumbersome. This is where a product like redhat directory server comes in.

Your startpoint has to be samba, so I advice you to start by reading up on the documentation they provide at http://samba.org/samba/docs/
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Author Comment

by:uknet80
ID: 35120950
I am new to samba and Redhat directory server.
can to replace Redhat directory server with samba, does Redhat  do what samba does and more more features as you described.

what do you mean by sync multiple instances? do you mean sync between redhat servers. like windows domain controller and additional domain controllers.

do i have to learn samba first before going to Redhat Directory service
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Assisted Solution

by:farzanj
farzanj earned 664 total points
ID: 35121330
Samba can provide the share and can also act as a primary domain controller.  However, for more efficient and scalable data storage and retrieval, you may use Red Hat Directory Server (LDAP).  If you do that, you can make SAMBA get the information from LDAP, basically using it as its backend database.  Furthermore, you can make the network more secure.

One important thing to note that the above arrangement is hard to implement.  You would need a bit of reading and testing.  Making just Samba act as a domain controller is much easier.  If you want to involve LDAP (RedHat directory server, OpenLDAP, etc.), it would take much more configuration.  However, that is a much better way to do things.  If your network is not large (less than 50 clients) and you consider it totally secure--no need for SASL-LDAP or SSL-LDAP communication, then you can simply use SAMBA to do this task.

The file sharing part will remain Samba's part because, it translates the linux file system to Windows.
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by:bz43
bz43 earned 668 total points
ID: 35121959
Just fyi: There's a book named, "Linux Networking Cookbook
From Asterisk to Zebra with Easy-to-Use Recipes" at http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596102487

It has a section named, "Single Sign-on with Samba for Mixed Linux/Windows LANs"
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Author Closing Comment

by:uknet80
ID: 35147860
thanks
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