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Samba Success in the Enterprise?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the asking-for-your-experiences dept.

Linux Business 149

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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Has your VIP ever heard of a little company... (5, Insightful)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291828)

called Google?

Probably not.

Another big company... (4, Informative)

rossifer (581396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292082)

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...


Re:Another big company... (2, Informative)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292322)

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:Another big company... (2, Interesting)

Curtman (556920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293534)

Maybe he should point this VIP at the history of samba [] . 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)

Even better (4, Informative)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293088)

Instead of quoting specific companies, how about pointing to that well known study [] which shows that Samba is more than twice as fast as Windows Server 2003 for SMB serving?

Re:Even better (5, Insightful)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293170)

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.

Re:Even better (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294280)

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:Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18294772)

Instead of quoting specific companies, how about pointing to that well known study which shows that Samba is more than twice as fast as Windows Server 2003 for SMB serving?
It's just a pity about how poorly it translates file permissions and ACLs between Windows and Unix filesystems.

Re:Has your VIP ever heard of a little company... (3, Informative)

rm_-fr_* (107567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293216)

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 do the math...

Sure, we use it (3, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

We use it too...On the Enterprise (5, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292342)

I hear they use it on the Excelsior as well. It's a great little secret weapon, let's hope the Klingons don't get it.

Re:We use it too...On the Enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292776)

Back! Back to the Trek convention where you belong! Be gone!

Re:Sure, we use it (5, Funny)

fhage (596871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292746)

Don't listen to Linux zealots. Samba will bankrupt your company. Best to purchase lots of new MS servers.

-with love,

your competitors.

Re:Sure, we use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293034)

Using it here at a US government agency on several servers that I'm aware of. No problems I've ever noticed (I'm an end user here, not an IT person).

Re:Sure, we use it (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294788)

You get the "-1, Douchebag" mod for using the word 'workflow'.

samba for the corporation (2, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291854)

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.

Samba used by 500 developers (2, Informative)

losman (840619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291874)

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.

I work for a Fortune 500... we use Samba (2, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291920)

We use it on my site. In fact we have about 2000+ users who use it every day.

It might help (5, Funny)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292088)

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:It might help (2, Funny)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292310)

Ach, of all the times NOT to have mod points. Props for even getting the rhythm correct!

Re:It might help (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293056)


HHS in DC. (3, Informative)

TheBeardIsRed (695409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292090)

Department of health and human services (office of families) uses it to serve all of the files to their webservers.

Re:HHS in DC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293822)

Wow. Someone needs to tell them what NFS is.

Samba (1, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292132)

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 (3, Informative)

forsetti (158019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292456)

Agreed -- try OpenAFS [] . More complex, but scales well.

Re:Samba (1)

mac-diddy (569281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292638)

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.

Re:Samba (1)

forsetti (158019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292892)

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?

Re:Samba (1)

mac-diddy (569281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293030)

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.

It's in the military... (3, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292184)

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.


sounds like your vp is an amateur! (4, Insightful)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292188)

sounds like your vp is an amateur and should be replaced with 'anyone' else!

Huh? What? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292208)

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.

Re:Huh? What? (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292542)

I suggest telling the intern doing this. He was already going to be fired as soon as it was found out he's porking the VIP's daughter.

Re:Huh? What? (1)

allscan (1030606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292658)

That wouldn't happen to be the same Bob from those Enzyte commercials would it?

Re:Huh? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293110)

You'd have to bring that up. My wife and I both hate Bob and his defective penis.

Re:Huh? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18294994)

> get some kickbacks from his friend Bob, who happens to be an MS sales rep.

That's how Microsoft sells most big deals from what I've seen. They take idiot VP's to strip clubs and get them drunk and get them to agree to give Microsoft stupid amounts of money for nothing. That's the reason our four largest customers switched to the Microsoft garbage. Even though I make a lot more money because I bill them by the hour to fix all of their Microsoft-created problems, it still makes me angry to see them get ripped-off like that because one stupid VP likes to get drunk with the Microsoft rep.

Re:Huh? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296946)

The possibilities for blackmail are worth considering.

Re:Huh? What? (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295376)

No, that's not "Bob", that's "Rob" - as in Enderle...

We serve about 1000 computers with it (5, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:We serve about 1000 computers with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293520)

...Plus I have yet to integrate Vista into our system. Promises to be a nightmare I think....

I found this on Wikipedia Samba page....Cheers

Re:We serve about 1000 computers with it (3, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293550)

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 is A-OK! (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Every Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292256)

My infrastructure is responsible for transactions totaling over 18 billion USD a day, and we use Samba.

/my identity withheld to protect...well, me

Just ask Novell...... (5, Insightful)

Lxy (80823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292258)

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. (5, Insightful)

CDarklock (869868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292266)

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.

Re:It just works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18294436)

If everyone there had that attitude, think what a better company Microsoft would be.

Re:It just works. (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296328)

Couldn't agree more, system administration is about offering something that works and is best for your company.

I say go with what works best for the task. (3, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292388)

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 isn't the software... (0)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292440)

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, he's a VIP? Shouldn't that be a VP, they usually have no other information than what some marketing drone tells him. And I think he has some good intentions for his own wallet if he has been 'convinced' by Microsoft.

Loving it over here (3, Interesting)

binner1 (516856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292442)

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)!


Re:Loving it over here (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295420)

"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...

Re:Loving it over here (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295934)

Active directory? That'd be the LDAP directory, with the 'microsoft compliance' wouldn't it?

Seriously, much like Microsoft TCP/IP, LDAP was OK before the beast of Redmond shat upon it.

Re:Loving it over here (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296688)

If you think AD is nothing more than a shitty LDAP server/DB, you obviously don't have much of anything to do with it.

Not that it doesn't have its share of shittiness, but it's 1.) Actually a Great Idea for managing a network and 2.) Just an LDAP server like Windows is just the Registry.

Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292448)

Samba also ships with OS X!

Enterprise scale deployment (5, Informative)

SWood (8452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292480)

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. .html []

Re:Enterprise scale deployment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18295130)

Are you telling me that I can mount GSA as nfs4? I just got my non-standard Linux onto GSA in the past few weeks, but it's mounted as nfs3. CAn you point to documentation on how to convert?

Fuck him (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292488)

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:Fuck him (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293016)

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.

forget him. (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293946)

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. ;-)

Can't be an amature if you're getting paid (2, Interesting)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292556)

And there is a host of companies out there getting paid to do Samba support: []

Smart (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292588)

... calling your colleague an amateur.

Personal experience (2, Interesting)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Personal experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292878)

great place to hide your pr0n stash too... map a network drive with access from only your account name. Unless your S.O. is a linux type too :P

Re:Personal experience (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294350)

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 reliable. The second time I was much less of a noob, and it was still easy :) More to the point I never EVER had any problems with it... but this was before active directory.

Linksys network storage (NSLU2) (3, Informative)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.)

Re:Linksys network storage (NSLU2) (2, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293152)

The Buffalo LinkStation line of storage devices are the same way. Embedded Linux and Samba.

Novell OES (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292736)

Novell will sell you "professional" Samba servers to replace your aging servers.

167 employees and growing... (3, Informative)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292744)

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.

Re:167 employees and growing... (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296494)

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 overlords (we have the blessings of the prez of our company to do this kind of stuff); they never noticed the difference.

The one downside is that, at least with Apple's implementation, we've found that there are (or were) some reliability issues with the AD-OpenDirectory plugin that Apple supplies. It had trouble scaling past 25 users. They may have fixed that particular problem, but since our current setup is working, I'm not terribly eager to go back and try it again.

Samba is very responsive, even for very large shares, and I basically don't worry about it. It's a nice change from the Windows box that it replaced. Oh, and the fact that I can also SSH/SCP into this box is a nice bonus.

Samba is cool, but a NetApp is better... (2, Interesting)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292784)

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 engineering data sets measured in dozens of terabytes. We wanted to leverage the performance and economy of fast, cheap X86 boxen while not losing our investment in our storage management infrastructure. My IT masters had never heard of samba, and were amazed when I demonstrated how easy it was to serve out a Pro/E drawing to an engineer working at one of our brand new 1 GHz NT4 PCs (I told you it was at the turn of the century.) We deployed it sitewide in 2000, and even now, seven years later, my users still thank me for making it possible for them to use fast PCs to access their Unix-based data sets. We ran samba on SunOS boxes, because we never could get it to play nice with HPUX. Samba is ridiculously easy to install, manage, and maintain, especially with one of the GUI frontends that are readily available. We used SWAT, and it rocked. Samba was a great intermediate enabler, allowing us to continue to use our N class servers while we were moving our user base to PCs.

In 2003, however, we acquired a bunch of Network Appliance servers, and migrated off our HPUX and Sun data servers. NetApp filers are platform agnostic; if the client is a *nix box, the filer presents the data as an NFS mount. If the client is Windows, it looks like NTFS. NetApps aren't cheap, but they were worth the major investment. If your company doesn't want to shell out for a filer, then samba is very viable and I recommend it highly.

Re:Samba is cool, but a NetApp is better... (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294484)

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.

your "VIP" is a clueless n00b (4, Interesting)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:your "VIP" is a clueless n00b (1)

Scott7477 (785439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294024)

Personally, I would rephrase that as "flaming retard", but that's just me...

Samba running fine here (2, Insightful)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Run the numbers for him. (1)

joedoc (441972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292934)

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.

Re:Run the numbers for him. (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294812)

Maybe not. IT has a budget. If they don't use all that budget then next year they get less money. Money is power.

Re:Run the numbers for him. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296860)

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 public government.

Re:Run the numbers for him. (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296756)

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 hardware changes. (most of us, even in our geekier moments, do not buy E15Ks or p690s for personal/small-business use) Licensing costs are a real issue, but if you're going to make your CIO happy by going with a commercially supported distro (RHEL/SLES), the cost differences aren't going to be as great as you might think.

another installation (1)

statemachine (840641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292968)

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 (never mind not being able to serve to Unix and Unix-clones).

My group is not supporting 1000 desktops all constantly mounting/reading/writing (we're not in a support role), but when it needs to work, it does, and we use it every day.

Government (1)

aaronl (43811) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293040)

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 other things out there that will give you management functionality, and software deployment, such as WPKG and Mandriva Pulse.

Also, using SAMBA doesn't mean that you *can't* be using Windows Server systems, or Active Directory. W2k3 server can still join a SAMBA controlled domain, and SAMBA can join and authenticate against an AD domain just fine. Domain trusts work, too.

5 terabytes of Scientific Data @ an EDU; smbldap (3, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293156)

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 [] does warrant a shoutout for making things easier for so long.

samba and some really happy users (1)

SUSE_RULES (1073860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293214)

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).

My University (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293472)

I recently graduated from the University of Lethbridge. Has at least 5000 students, each of them has their own personal network drive for use on school computers, as well as a web drive, where any files saved there are published on their personal site at the University. How does it all function? A bank of Linux machines that use Samba. It's never been anything but reliable.

We just did a similar thing (2, Interesting)

penfold69 (471774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293482)

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-solid. Current uptime is 18 days, without a glitch at all. Utilisation hasn't peaked over about 20%, giving us plenty of spare capacity for expansion.

We did consider deploying Windows Server 2003, but were put off by the price tag of the cluster of machines that was recommended to provide us with the capacity to service 100 workstations. Suffice to say that the £6k we paid was a mere fraction of the Windows alternative.

Small installation (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293800)

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 night and day. One the Windows servers, directory listings would always take at least 1/2 second to display. On the Samba server, it was practically instantaneous. It was like local browsing.

Nearly all of our downtime has been hardware related. Our old backup server suffered multiple simultaneous hard disk failures. One of our file servers suffered from failed ram, and I didn't have a replacement handy, but I was able to get it to avoid the bad parts with a kernel boot option, until I could get it replaced. There have been a couple software issues. Our spare server, at a time when we didn't need it, somehow managed to damage its MBR, booting to a blank screen after we rebooted it, but I was able to restore grub with a live CD once I figured out what it had done. I'm really not sure what was to blame for that. And we had WildFire IM server on our DFS root, and it managed to fill the hard disk with error logs one day, but that was a WildFire problem, not Samba or Linux.

Sun ships it with Solaris, and supports it (2, Informative)

davecb (6526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293844)

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


Part of HP-UX (2, Informative)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294248)

HP calls it CIFS Server [] for HP-UX, but it's really Samba.

Try Webmin (1)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294310)

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 ( - and it allows basic configuration of Samba. Occasionally I need to use ssh to edit the config manually.

SAMBA + Windows 2003 Server is shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18294584)

They still use POSIX style permissions which does not work well with modern filesystem ACLs. The amount of times I have had to log into Unix to modify a file because the Windows 2003 Terminal Server says access denied. I'm like "WTF, I just created this file, now I cannot rename it?" It seems that the SAMBA team don't give a shit about modern filesystem access control lists.

Re:SAMBA + Windows 2003 Server is shit (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295636)

Or maybe Bill doesn't give a shit about being compatible with anything or anybody who isn't paying him money?

Re:SAMBA + Windows 2003 Server is shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296202)

Did your underyling filesystem support ACLs? Probably not.
Next time, pick one that does at install time.

Re:SAMBA + Windows 2003 Server is shit (4, Interesting)

Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296912)

It's me you're complaining about here, as I wrote (and maintain)
the POSIX ACL code in Samba.

I understand your problem, but you've got to realize there's
nowhere on a UNIX filesystem to store that meta-data and have
the kernel understand it.

Sure, we can push the NT ACLs into an EA, but nothing in
the kernel will look at that EA or even be able to make sense
of the SIDs stored within it.

We can do the interpretation inside Samba but this doesn't
prevent other POSIX processes from completely ignoring
whatever ACLs you thought you'd securely set on that file.
NetApp can do this as they have their own kernel (based
on FreeBSD originally) which they've hacked to understand
these ACLs. Samba isn't a kernel, and so can't do this :-).

NFSv4 ACLs, whilst having their own problems, are much closer
to what we need to store full NT ACLs. Unfortunately they (a)
break POSIX, (b) aren't yet finished on the most popular
platorm (Linux) and (c) have no userspace API standard for
getting to them.

This is one of the reasons my world sucks (Microsoft DFS is
another at the moment :-) :-).

Your complaint is like a child screaming "I want a pony,
I want a pony...". We *all* want a pony. Where is it going
to live..... :-).


Re:SAMBA + Windows 2003 Server is shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297488)

It's me you're complaining about here, as I wrote (and maintain) the POSIX ACL code in Samba.

I understand your problem,....

....Your complaint is like a child screaming "I want a pony, I want a pony...". We *all* want a pony. Where is it going to live ..... :-).
But isn't the whole **point** supposed to be interoperatablity with NT? It's not just some pie-in-the-sky wish when people keep touting SAMBA as the replacement/alterative for much of the Windows Server technology.

Large University Deployment Solaris + Samba (3, Informative)

midian_va (839022) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Large University Deployment Solaris + Samba (1)

midian_va (839022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295002)

I should also mention that this box is a monster 4x900mhz sparc box with 4gb ram serving 2000-5000 client connections with samba alone at any one time. there are many other services running (sun web+coldfusion, ftp, apache+php, NFS) and it never breaks a sweat. With that in mind, samba is definitely not "amateur" nor is it not suitable for enterprise deployments. We have windows servers also and it beats the holy hell out of them as far as responsiveness and uptime is concerned.

Macs (1)

flymolo (28723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295424)

Nobody that I noticed mentioned it yet, but Macs use samba for sharing with windows.
We haven't had any problems with our Mac/Linux NFS/Samba servers, and our windows clients.
But we have had problems trying to make our windows servers do NFS.

Apple OSX uses Samba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18295468)

Is Apple OSX considered good enough for the enterprise? It uses Samba for its file sharing with Windows computers.

If Apple thinks Samba is good enough, can't you use it too (in your operating system of choice)?

Samba is better than some NAS servers (1)

dannycim (442761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296572)

A couple of years ago I worked in a University department and we acquired an EMC Celerra NAS server (NS600) which promised to serve files to both our Unix and Windows clients (about 200) using NFS and CIFS (SMB) from the same volume sets.

Long story short: There were so many problems (not the least security-wise) on the CIFS part of it that we ended up putting a Samba server in front of it for our windows clients. Samba simplified operations, was very simple, efficient, and secure. It integrated in our Domain almost transparently.

$200,000 server needed a cheap PC running Linux in front of it. You do the math.

If I had had any guts, I'd have imposed my views and never let the department spend that money on the EMC box and would have gotten Intel server(s) instead, for one tenth the price. >

What about clientserver encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296908)

Using SAMBA, is there any way for server/client communication to be encrypted after authentication? Or is the only solution to be on a secure network, e.g. over a VPN?

Re:What about clientserver encryption? (3, Informative)

Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297046)

I'm glad you asked that :-). It's not currently
possible in CIFS - you need a secure network.

But Steve French (CIFSFS Linux client) and I
are looking at ways to add krb5/gss encryption
to Linux/MacOSX/HPUX CIFS clients when talking
to Samba servers using the UNIX extensions.

Won't work with Windows clients unless Microsoft
decides to implement what we design (and publish
the protocol in an rfc of course) but then again
you should be using Linux or Mac clients anyway to
get the extra cool features :-) :-).

Come to the SambaXP conference to hear more.... []

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