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Samba Success in the Enterprise? 149

Posted by Cliff
from the asking-for-your-experiences dept.
gunnk asks: "We've deployed a Samba server here to replace some aging Novell Netware boxes. It works great: fast, secure, stable. However, we have one VIP that feels that Samba is 'amateur' software and that we should be buying Windows servers. I've been searching with little success for large Samba deployments in Enterprise environments. Anyone out there care to share stories of places that are happily running large Samba installations for their file servers? Or not so happy, for that matter — better to be informed!"
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Samba Success in the Enterprise?

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  • by thewiz (24994) * on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:32PM (#18291828)
    called Google?

    Probably not.
    • by rossifer (581396) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:49PM (#18292082) Journal
      AOL/Time-Warner enormously relies on linux and Samba all over the place. This may or may not help your case depending on what your boss thinks of AOL as a company...

      Ross
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gfxguy (98788)
        I can at least vouch for this Turner company that I work for (subdivision of TW). It's not exclusively anything, but a lot of our storage servers are NOT running Windows, but most of our desktops are. Figure it out. So there are Linux/Samba servers, but there's Samba running on other platforms, too.

        I even think we had some SGI's running samba a few years ago...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Curtman (556920)
          Maybe he should point this VIP at the history of samba [rxn.com]. Apparently Microsoft didn't think it was too amateurish to use his work when they implemented windows file sharing.

          On the newsgroup among the discussions of my server someone had mentioned that there was a free client that might work with my server that Microsoft had put up for ftp. I downloaded it and found to my surprise that it worked first time with my `pathworks' server! -- Andrew Tridgell (of the Samba team)

          • "Maybe he should point this VIP"

            Maybe he should find a higher VIP just to point the case as it is, not as it seems.

            Per the notice we are not talking here about "evaluating Samba as a replacement"; Samba is *already* working and working "great: fast, secure, stable", but a VIP thinks is "amateurish".

            What we should say about a manager that on purpouse forgets *facts* in favour of *opinions*? Maybe it's time to restudy if the company is making a good deal paying big cash to such a person.

            Not to talk about tha
    • Even better (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dolda2000 (759023) <fredrik.dolda2000@com> on Friday March 09, 2007 @04:01PM (#18293088) Homepage
      Instead of quoting specific companies, how about pointing to that well known study [vnunet.com] which shows that Samba is more than twice as fast as Windows Server 2003 for SMB serving?
      • Re:Even better (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrsbrisby (60242) on Friday March 09, 2007 @04:07PM (#18293170) Homepage
        Just say:

        ``That's why IBM and Google are big and profitable. Because they aren't run by you.''

        It'll either get you fired or promoted. I wouldn't want to work for that asshole either- no halfway decent manager is ever going to make you waste time and money challenging heresay.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It'll either get you fired or promoted. I wouldn't want to work for that asshole either- no halfway decent manager is ever going to make you waste time and money challenging heresay.

          I didn't get promoted, but last time I talked shit like that to a manager he did get fired.

          You can only repeat yourself so many times before you can't hold in the fact that you think someone is a complete fucking idiot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rm_-fr_* (107567)
      For what it is worth, I don't have so much a story as to who is using Samba but rather who is "shipping" it in enterprise products. I work for an HP partner and HP has a product I can vouch for called "HP StorageWorks Enterprise File Services Clustered Gateway". Basically a NAS box on steroids. It comes in two flavors: Windows and Linux. Both serve CIFS...you do the math...
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      That doesn't help if Google doesn't have a document detailing their installation, problems they ran in to (and how they solved them), and re-evaluated the business case for using Samba over the alternatives. That's what he's looking for, documentation.

      Just saying "well Google uses it!" is a terrible strategy. First it makes it look as if you're out of ideas and just spouting out company names as a last resort, and secondly because saying "Google uses it!" could mean the janitors at Google use it to check of
  • Sure, we use it (Score:4, Informative)

    by wiggles (30088) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:34PM (#18291852)
    I work in a Fortune 500 Media company, and with our mixed environment -- Sun, Linux, Windows, Mac -- we use Samba quite extensively for workflow. It works great, it's stable, and it makes our lives so much easier when we have to mass migrate files between the different platforms.
  • by jacquesm (154384) <j@wwMENCKEN.com minus author> on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:34PM (#18291854) Homepage
    I've been using samba for the last 12 years in various guises, if there ever was a problem then
    it usually was that I did not upgrade the software often enough because *it just works*.

    That in my eyes is the best feature any software package can have, that it is so reliable
    you forget you have it.

    As for it being 'amateur' software, amateur to me spells motivation and the quality level
    of the samba software reflects that dedication quite well.

    Better than the 9-5 code monkeys products by a long shot most of the time.

    OSS is the future, better believe it.

  • In our corporate environment we use Samba to share resources that reside in our AIX environment. It has been in use for 4+ years and 500+ developers that are baning away at it all day long. We have not had a single issue with the software. And to boot it is supported by IBM from both a hardware and software support perspective. Your VIP is simply wrong or misinformed.
  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:39PM (#18291920)
    We use it on my site. In fact we have about 2000+ users who use it every day.
  • by Sciros (986030) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:50PM (#18292088) Journal
    I can imagine samba making the workplace feel a little more-upbeat, what with the 1..a-2..3..a-4 rhythm that makes you want to shake that booty. It can definitely keep folks awake at their workstations, which would boost productivity. Plus it would give everything a more Brazilian feel, which will help people forget that in fact outside it's all icy and cold. So, yes, I could definitely see samba being successful in enterprise.

    Paso Doble not so much. Spanish Gypsy can get quite annoying after a while.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LehiNephi (695428)
      Ach, of all the times NOT to have mod points. Props for even getting the rhythm correct!
    • by Intron (870560)
      Obrigado!
    • "Plus it would give everything a more Brazilian feel, which will help people forget that in fact outside it's all icy and cold."

      I 'm brazilian, and out there it is 30C (AKA 86F). No need for a warm feeling, your insensitive cloud. (But samba is welkome...)

  • HHS in DC. (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheBeardIsRed (695409) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:50PM (#18292090)
    Department of health and human services (office of families) uses it to serve all of the files to their webservers.

  • Samba (Score:2, Funny)

    by MindStalker (22827)
    Technically yes, as Samba is based on SMB it is amateur. You should be looking towards something more like NFS or other tried and true Unix solutions. :)
    • Re:Samba (Score:4, Informative)

      by forsetti (158019) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:15PM (#18292456)
      Agreed -- try OpenAFS [openafs.org]. More complex, but scales well.
      • by mac-diddy (569281)
        Anyone have a pure kerberos or PLAIN+TLS SMB to AFS translator up and running? I love AFS, but it would be nice if users didn't have to install any extra software just to access their files.
        • by forsetti (158019)
          Why bother? Once you setup an SMB gateway, you lose almost all of the AFS functionality. You'd be limited to SMB ACLs, no client-server fault tolerance, no client initiated PT/DB balancing, etc. What do you gain over plain Samba?
          • by mac-diddy (569281)
            We already have AFS deployed and want to provide simple, file level access without requiring software to be installed on the client. We're not trying to replicate AFS, just make it easier for people to access what's there. Users that need everything that AFS has to offer would be directed to the full AFS client.
  • by RingDev (879105) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:56PM (#18292184) Homepage Journal
    Our network guys used a Samba machine for at least one file share server that I knew of at HQMC. That was a number of years ago now. I know my college (a MS certified partner) used it and it was used heavily in a number of our networking and security classes.

    -Rick
  • by guysmilee (720583) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:56PM (#18292188)
    sounds like your vp is an amateur and should be replaced with 'anyone' else!
  • However, we have one VIP that feels that Samba is 'amateur' software and that we should be buying Windows servers.

    Someone needs to tell your VIP to STFU and let the IT people do their jobs without him sticking his nose in. He's probably pushing it just so he can try to get some kickbacks from his friend Bob, who happens to be an MS sales rep.

  • by caseih (160668) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:00PM (#18292236)
    I have several samba servers that serve 3000 users and almost 1000 computers, from Windows 98 to XP. It works well and only ever gives us problems when LDAP (OpenLDAP is tempermental) has a problem. We've used Samba since the 2.2 days in production. We're looking forward to Samba 4 to get ActiveDirectory-style domains. NT domains work fine, but are clunky. Only our lab machines are on a domain. The rest of the machines either just have local accounts with network drives mapped, or have pGina logins that map the drives for the user.

    For many enterprises, Samba isn't enough. They require the management aspects of ActiveDirectory. Fortunately Samba 4 will do all that. Plus I have yet to integrate Vista into our system. Promises to be a nightmare I think.

    This stigma your VP has is quite common, and no amount of evidence or arguing will change his mind, likely. Stubborn ignorance. The world is slowly changing, but I think it's as the truly ignorant people die off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Short Circuit (52384) *
      Vista seems to work with Samba fine, at least for what I used it for. I went to a LAN party Wednesday, and had my Linux laptop's network shares accessed by a Vista machine on the network, with no issues.

      Yeah, yeah, not exactly "Enterprise" activity, but still...
    • Samba has had AD support for a while already. Here is a guide with a deliberately broken link to avoid a Slashdotting: www.aeronetworks.ca \ LinuxActiveDirectory.html Please have mercy on the server and only read the above if you are really interested in Active Directory on Samba.
    • The world is slowly changing, but I think it's as the truly ignorant people die off.

      Logically, then, the solution to improving the rate of progress has less to do with R&D investment than it does with placing more truly ignorant people at the bottom of the nearest large body of water.

      I have some recommendations.
  • Samba is A-OK! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:00PM (#18292238)
    Ever since it started to talk to Active Directory domain servers, it was perfect for the office. Before that it was great, but lacked the key feature to allow it to get accepted properly.
  • by Lxy (80823) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:01PM (#18292258) Journal
    We've deployed a Samba server here to replace some aging Novell Netware boxes

    So at some point, this VIP probably trusted Novell. Since Novell is putting all it's effort into OES linux (which ships with Samba, not to mention employed Jeremy Allison for awhile), I bet they'd have an opinion on the subject.
  • It just works. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CDarklock (869868) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:02PM (#18292266) Homepage Journal
    Samba is every bit as good as anything else for running a file server, and if you're setting your file servers up correctly, nobody will know or care what they're running. They either work or they don't.

    I would still recommend that you use Windows, because I'm at Microsoft. We like people to use Windows. You should use Windows more often. You should install it on everything. I'd be happy to explain how you could do the same things you already do with more Windows licenses. But it's sort of your job to think about what's best for your company, not ours.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#18292388) Homepage Journal
    On my network, SAMBA is doing a better job as a server than what I've managed using Microsoft products as a server. I'd hate to cling to something or avoid something just because of a prejudiced notion. Apparently, you're already using it successfully. I suppose the only way to argue with good results is to make emotion-based nitpicks on the methodology.
  • It's the protocol, and he's darn right, you should be migrating away from it to a more open protocol like NFS or (S)FTP.

    But putting it on Microsoft servers isn't a good answer either, Unix boxes have done it for years and are still good at it. If he's looking for simple and cheap, he shouldn't be looking at Microsoft, but at Apple. They have both software and hardware for cheap and large deployments and has seamless support for more than 5 protocols at the same time, with the same credentials.

    And by the way
  • Loving it over here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by binner1 (516856) <bdwalton@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:14PM (#18292442) Homepage
    I'm servicing 3 computer labs consisting of roughly 100 workstations here, all with a Samba/Linux backend. I have nothing but praise for Samba and would highly recommend it to anyone. I have some native clients and some that are housed in a vmware image. I have cross platform printing, cross platform credentials (thanks to password sync) and cross platform ~/. What's not to like?

    The only downside is that until v4 hits the streets, we can't do full AD. We could of course get around this by dropping in a single 2k3 box to be the DC, but we'd like to avoid that if possible. I'm really looking forward to v4, as AD is one of the good things MS has done, imo (standards adherence aside)!

    -Ben
    • "AD is one of the good things MS has done, imo"

      As long as Samba 4 doesn't do AD LIKE Microsoft has done it, i.e., ridiculously complicated horseshit...

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        As long as Samba 4 doesn't do AD LIKE Microsoft has done it, i.e., ridiculously complicated horseshit...

        Huh ? Compared to what, is AD "ridiculously complicated" ?

        • Compared to what?

          Almost anything...

          Just as an example, try moving AD objects using the command line tools provided.

          Ridiculous.

          • by drsmithy (35869)

            Just as an example, try moving AD objects using the command line tools provided.

            Your problem is that you're trying to manage Windows infrastructure like you would UNIX infrastructure.

            • It ain't my problem.

              Try moving tons of AD objects with the GUI - you'll switch to the command line - which is what those CLI tools are FOR.

              And they're ridiculous - not to mention I've been told some of them don't work properly...

            • by alienmole (15522)
              Yeah, efficiently. No hope of that being possible. Microsoft means full employment for low-level admins.
  • by SWood (8452) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:16PM (#18292480) Homepage
    We have a project inside IBM called the Global Storage Architecture that provides enterprise file system service. There are currently over 95K users on GSA with over 143TB of used space, spread across 39 installations on 5 continents.

    There are several different ways to connect to GSA File depending on the platform and application, but Samba is used for connecting the Windows clients, of which there are tens of thousands. In addition to general office productivity, many of these clients are doing hardware design and software development.

    You can read an account of GSA File in appendix B of the Implementing NFSv4 in the Enterprise: Planning and Migration Strategies Redbook. The appendix is oriented toward the NFS aspects of the service, but you can still get a good idea of what is going on.

    http://publib-b.boulder.ibm.com/abstracts/sg246657 .html [ibm.com]

  • Roll out Windows and make damned sure his name is attached to the project. Call it the "$VIPNAME project". Make sure you replace all of the Samba boxes in your enterprise. By the end of the projected he'll be well and truly fucked over. It'll be a salutary lesson to VP's the world over.

    Samba is used all over the place. All the FTSE 100's I've been at have used it.

     
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Not a chance... No one ever got fired for buying IBM I mean Microsoft.
      They are the standard and the largest software company in the world so their stuff has to work. If it fails it was because IT messed up.

      This post has nothing to do with facts, just reality.
      And not they are not the same thing.
      • by darkonc (47285)

        They are the standard and the largest software company in the world so their stuff has to work. If it fails it was because IT messed up.

        Not quite -- If Microsoft's shit stinks, then IT will get blamed for it because "obviously a company like Microsoft wouldn't do anything that stupid....".

        I'd just tell him: "Novell, IBM, Google, HP and Time/Warner (among others) use it is that serious enough for you?".

        He'll probably call you on the Novell name-dropping, so I'd have some extra documention on what Novell is doing with Samba.

        If that's not enough for him, then I'd ask (publicly, but politely) for what sort of use would satisfy him. Tell

    • If you're going to do the BoFH treatment, make sure that your most-certified-clueless MCSE's are on the project -- so as to lose that dead weight. ;-)
  • by prgrmr (568806) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:23PM (#18292556) Journal
    And there is a host of companies out there getting paid to do Samba support:
    http://us1.samba.org/samba/support/us.html [samba.org]
  • by tsa (15680)
    ... calling your colleague an amateur.
  • Personal experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rlp (11898) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:31PM (#18292646)
    I've used Samba at home for about eight years with a Linux file / print server. The server uses RAID1. The only time it's been down is:

    1) Changing hardware (including replacing drives with bigger drives).
    2) Changing entire server (replacing with faster box and previous drives).
    3) Power failure & UPS battery had died.

    Right now it's serving files to four Windows boxes including storing video for a PVR.

    Not that a home installation will mean anything to your VP.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      I wasn't going to share my own experience since it's not exactly fortune 500 either. I've never deployed samba to a network of more than about 70 people. But both when I did that, and years prior when I lived at The Marshmallow Peanut Circus (now defunct but was a geek house in santa cruz) I used a combination of linux with NFS, Samba, and netatalk to serve the same files to Unix, Windows, and Macintosh clients. The first time I set it up I was a total noob and it wasn't particularly hard and it was very re
    • "I've used Samba at home..."

      Quite convincing argument against an accusation of being "amateur".
  • by coyote-san (38515) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:33PM (#18292678)
    The Linksys consumer-level network storage controller, NSLU2, is embedded linux + samba. This box looks like a Windows shared drive and has to interoperate with different flavors of windows without configuration. (The web interface just allows you to create and name volumes, add users, etc.)

    It's weird to compare a $100 box with enterprise-scale problems, but embedded software has to be 100% reliable since you can't issue patches or administer the box later if there's a problem.

    (BTW the box is also linux friendly, both flashed applications and booting to a HD-based Debian system. I have one at home.)
  • Novell OES (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Novell will sell you "professional" Samba servers to replace your aging servers.
  • by GweeDo (127172) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:38PM (#18292744) Homepage
    I work for a small/medium size business with around 167 employees. We have locations in Plainville KS, Hays KS, Chicago IL, Pasadena CA, and New York City NY. We use Samba for network file shares in all these locations. It works great in a mixed Linux, WinXP, Mac OS X environment. We haven't ever had any issues with it what so ever.
    • by raddan (519638)
      I second the medium-sized-business-using-Samba bit. I have 250 or so users hitting a Samba box, actually running on the Mac OS. What this setup gave us was flexibility-- we are able to share out AFP in addition to SMB and not worry about file-locking (Netatalk uses POSIX locks and Samba has its own locking mechanism, so you can't just throw them together) and HFS+ metadata. The very, very nice thing is that we were able to make the switch and keep the whole thing completely quiet from the corporate overl
  • Anyone out there care to share stories of places that are happily running large Samba installations for their file servers? Or not so happy, for that matter -- better to be informed!"

    We support about 6500 engineers here at the rocket ranch. Back at the turn of the century, we wanted to migrate everybody from expensive-to-maintain *nix workstations to vastly cheaper Windows PCs, but we had a problem: all our data was on several dozen HP N-class data servers. We do serious 3D CAD and FEA, with engineerin

    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      I have to "Ditto" the NetApp's.

      Everyone else's "snapshot" solutions are total crap compared to NetApp's. EMC? Way more expensive, slower, more complicated for no reason, and snapshots suck (we have both EMC and NetApp.)

      But yeah, they are expensive. Samba works great too, and is used by hundreds of Windows clients to access 15T of data on the EMC. The only downtime is to install security patches. Samba is WAY less expensive than EMC's NAS, and way easier to configure.
  • by Yonder Way (603108) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:41PM (#18292794)
    Samba may have been met with trepidation like 8 years ago. The rest of the world has gotten with the program. It works. It works well. It works extremely well.

    I've implemented it at a number of Fortune 100 companies. I cannot name names due to NDA but you would recognize the names. I am contracting at one of them right now.

    For enterprise scale use, I would even contend that Samba makes a better file server to large numbers of Windows clients than running Windows on the server. Can you run Windows on an IBM pSeries 570 (16 POWER5+ processors, 128GB RAM) to serve files to ~20,000 users? I can tell you that RHEL 4 does that just fine.
  • by div_2n (525075) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:48PM (#18292874)
    While we aren't a huge environment (50 - 75 PCs), Samba is working great for us. Running Samba 3.0.22 on Ubuntu. I've integrated authentication into our Active Directory environment (native 2003) complete with ACLs. Although it is worth pointing out that there is a very distinct difference in ACLs on Samba (POSIX ACLs) vs Windows ACLs if you are used to Windows 2000 and beyond permissions. I won't tell the whole story here, but make sure to read Samba documentation on the subject if you don't already know. The short short version is that POSIX ACLs offer a much simpler set of permissions of rwx where Windows breaks out several others. This usually isn't a big deal.

    Configuring all of the proper settings on shares can be cumbersome if you have quite a few. If you require some quick and easy GUI to do everything, Swat is a favorite. Centeris also makes a product that looks promising.

    Keep your eye on Samba 4. It will allow you to replace your Windows Active Directory servers. All in all, I'd have to say your VIP calling Samba amateur software shows either ignorance of reality or negative bias towards Samba.
  • Show him the cost of setting up a Samba server on a commodity hardware (or for that matter, existing surplus hardware that still works) versus the cost of hardware, licensing, maintenance and installation of Windows Server 2003 to do the same job. Especially after you add in the licensing. That will shut him up.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday March 09, 2007 @06:16PM (#18294812) Homepage Journal
      Maybe not. IT has a budget. If they don't use all that budget then next year they get less money. Money is power.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        Maybe not. IT has a budget. If they don't use all that budget then next year they get less money. Money is power.

        Just like need to have and nice to have, there's need to spend and nice to spend. If you can't think of enough nice things that'll get you better educated and motivated employees, more efficient business systems or just less strain on your department without making it obvious that you have too much money, you can't be thinking very far. If you seriously have that problem, take a class with the pu
    • If it's an enterprise client, then the cost of the hardware is moot, and you'll run the same commodity hardware for Win2K3 or Linux/Samba anyway. The data is more expensive than the machine in those cases, and you're not (at least if you're sane and like your job), going to cut corners by buying cheap hardware unless you're like Google, buy it by the metric ton, and have the skills to make it completely redundant.

      This applies, btw, if you're a one person business, or a fortune 500. Only the size of the
  • How about at a large global company? Is that good enough?

    My group in particular uses it to share files to Windows XP, 2000, 2003. The same server (Linux based) is also used for NFS for the other OSes we have. The file share is visible company-wide, since there are execs and other groups that need important files from it periodically. We generally don't have problems with it. Its current uptime is 90 days (power outage 90 days ago). The Windows servers don't even stay up for more than a couple of weeks (neve
  • A lot of government uses it. We use it in the municipality that I work for, and it does all the domain auth, file, and print serving for everything. The backend is OpenLDAP and is the authentication source for email and UNIX systems. You can do the same thing in the other direction, for the most part, if you want AD to be your auth source, but I haven't spent any time looking at it as of yet.

    If you need Active Directory style functionality, take a look at Novell eDirectory and ZenWorks. There's a few ot
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Friday March 09, 2007 @04:05PM (#18293156) Homepage
    We're not as big as some enterprise customers, but we do have a 5 TB FreeBSD server which uses samba to both run our domain of analysis workstations and serve up all of that data. Someone else mentioned OpenLDAP frustrations (with which I somewhat agree). However, IDEALX's smbldap [sourceforge.net] does warrant a shoutout for making things easier for so long.
  • i was hired on after a merger and had to combine seven sites. dumped all that microsoft crap and installed suse servers and ipcop firewalls. i also installed a SME e-mail server and it too has performed flawlessly. god i love linux, it is really fun to be an administrator again. i had forgotten the command line (which isn't necessary) but it really is a blast. another benefit: i won't be hit by a chair (balmer's trademark).
  • Funny you should ask.

    I've just finished deploying a brand new CentOS/Samba solution to replace some ageing NT4 servers.

    We got a shiny new Dell Poweredge 2900 with 16GB Memory, twin quad-core Xeons and 8x300GB hot-swap SAS drives.

    I configured up CentOS 4.4, using Samba/OpenLDAP/Postfix/Dovecot and MySQL to provide domain, database, roaming profile and file sharing services to a workgroup of around 100 workstations running XP.

    Now we have ironed out the smaller issues with the deployment, it's absolutely rock-
  • 5 Samba servers. A DFS root, two main file servers (2x250gb sata raid 0 each), a backup server in another room, and a spare server (our previous backup server). With DFS, rsync, and the spare I was able to upgrade the hard drives in both file servers without downtime.

    Samba got our full attention when we installed it on an old, slow, unused server and noticed that it was visibly much faster than any of our Windows file servers. Just clicking around the file shares in Windows Explorer, the difference was like
    • by drsmithy (35869)

      [...] two main file servers (2x250gb sata raid 0 each) [...]

      So what you're saying is neither of your fileservers have any important data on them ?

    • by dtfinch (661405) *
      Big typo in the first line. Not raid 0. Raid 1 on the file servers. Raid 5 on the backup server, which is kept in a locked room on the opposite end of the building. And raid 1 on the spare, which also keeps a second backup of important files. Our important databases are additionally backed up to tapes, which are stored offsite. And nightly diffs are made of our ERP database, so I could go back and find a record that was deleted say, the middle of last year if I wanted.
  • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Friday March 09, 2007 @04:54PM (#18293844) Homepage Journal

    And they'll be happy to sell your boss as platinum support contract which includes it, so as to make it appropriaterly expensive (;-))

    --dave

  • Part of HP-UX (Score:2, Informative)

    by jazman_777 (44742)
    HP calls it CIFS Server [hp.com] for HP-UX, but it's really Samba.
  • A few months ago I removed Fedora Core 4 (which had X) and replaced it with Ubuntu Server (no X).
    This is the only Linux box in our Windows based company - running phpBB2, media wiki, samba and port forwarding for remote desktop.

    Does it meet the needs of our business? Yes. Configuration is not easy, but that does not mean it's amateur software.

    Webmin is installed (http://www.webmin.com/) - and it allows basic configuration of Samba. Occasionally I need to use ssh to edit the config manually.
  • by midian_va (839022) on Friday March 09, 2007 @06:08PM (#18294684)
    we have over 10,000 users (students/faculty/staff) with home directories on a single sparc solaris samba box (files stored on a SAN), and i can't say that we have had any problems with it. It has been extremely reliable for the past 5+ years we have been using it.
  • Other considerations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Saturday March 10, 2007 @02:57AM (#18297970)

    Something else you might want to consider are the things Windows will do that Samba does not (or, at least, does not do without lots of hacking around).

    Two of these are DFS Replication (DFSR) and Volume SnapShots (VSS).

    We are currently in the process of evaluation a replacement for our aging fileserver plus some sort of centralised, SAN-like storage. Two of the leading candidates are Sun's 5320 and IBM's N5200 which offer access for clients via both network (CIFS, NFS, etc) and block-level (iSCSI, FC). Several branch offices are also in the same situation, although they lack the need for block-level, centralised disk.

    However, neither of them support DFSR (nor does any other non-Windows based NAS device from what I can gather). They do both have replication technologies of their own, but those are just as expensive (additional US$8k-ish) - if not more so - than just buying a dedicated Windows fileserver to connect to the SAN/NAS device via iSCSI.

    Then there's the snapshotting, which Samba doesn't do on its own (but you can hack together something, depending on the host OS). VSS in Windows is trivial to enable, very simple to use and works quite well. It's primary benefit is to reduce the overheads on support staff from users "accidentally" deleting things and needing them restored - something they are now able to do themselves, rather than weighing down support staff with those requests. It can also be used for simplifying backup procedures. (Any decent NAS device will also have some sort of snapshotting functionality).

    With regards to Samba in general, we use it fairly extensively on a per-host basis to allow easy access to certain parts of the filesystem for certain staff. I've experimented with it in the past on an AD level and successfully gotten it working, but the overhead for setup is non-trivial, especially if you want things like UIDs to match up across different machines.

    Simple setups in Samba and Windows are simple. More complex (Active Directory integration, especially with multiple servers) are also fairly simple in Windows, but relatively much more difficult with Samba. If you're looking at the latter - *especially if you're not already an expert* - you'll probably need almost a complete person full-time to work with it during the implementation phase.

    The simple version is this: software and hardware are cheap, people-time is expensive (this is a concept a *lot* of technically oriented people - myself included - have significant difficulty a) grasping and b) remembering). In all likelihood, you will use substantially more people-time - especially in the earlier phases - with Samba than you will with Windows. That's where the "value" of Windows (or NAS appliances) comes in - saving people-time $$$. If you're already a Samba expert, OTOH, the people-time aspect of the equation will be substantially different and you can compare largely on features. However, banging out a good, manageable, sustainable, reliable AD-integrated Samba infrastructure is something that will take on the order of weeks unless you already know what you're doing and have done it before. Your boss has a very poor argument against Samba, but do not kid yourself that good arguments against Samba do not exist.

    • One person salary isn't that different from the cost of the Microsoft solution (sometimes even lower) since he'll be over the machine just at instalation time. That is a really short time. (Hardware is relatively cheap, but you should take that into account too, samba runs on much cheaper hardware.)

      And maintaining Samba is much cheaper than Windows. That counted on people time (as you said, that cost real $$$).

  • Back when I did system admin one of the companies I worked for needed SAMBA but the management did not trust it so I found a product called Totalnet. It was an exact replica of SAMBA but with a nice graphical interface, since it was a commercial product management had an easier time and paid the thousands of dollars, but I had a nicer graphical interface, in addition to the command line tools.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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