Deploying Suse Linux Enterprise Server


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Configuring the Samba Server

Introduction

One of the quickest and easiest ways to save quite a bit of money on your network is to utilize a Suse Linux Enterprise Server (or any other GNU/Linux Server) as a Domain Controller for Windows Clients.

Microsoft not only charges a premium for their Server Software, they also charge you a "License" for every client that accesses a Windows server over a network. These licenses are called "Client Access Licenses" or CALs and are different than the License that you need to run Windows. As of this writing a CAL for Windows 2003 Server from Microsoft costs between $40 - $50 per device depending upon how many CALs you purchase. For instance, if you go with a Windows Server and you have 100 clients connecting to your server, not only do you have to spend the thousand(s) of dollars for their server software, you would also have to spend an additional $4,000 - $5,000 just on Client Access Licenses.

Note: If you utilize any of Microsoft's advanced server products (such as SQL or Exchange) each product has their own CALs that you must also purchase, thus increasing the TCO even further.

To successfully deploy a Samba server within your Network there are a few things you will want to keep in mind: First, remember that Samba is not a replacement for Active Directory. If you think you want or need all of the features of Active Directory to manage your network, you may want to either stick with a Windows Server or look into more advanced solutions such as Novell's Open Enterprise Server. With that said, I believe (as well as many other admins) that a properly configured Samba Server can be easier to maintain than a Windows Server with Active Directory.

The second thing to keep in mind as you deploy a Samba Server is the fact that a Samba Server's primary role is to allow Windows machines to access the resources on a Unix/Linux server. Those resources (users, groups, shares) must be already be present on the Unix Server in order for samba to work properly. This will become more clear as you read this, but just keep in mind that the Samba Server is like a "window" for Microsoft Windows Clients to access your Unix/Linux Servers (pun intended). This Chapter is written for Suse Linux Enterprise Server, but (hopefully) it is written in such a way that it can be used with any GNU/Linux Distribution with relative ease.

Configuring Samba

With most GNU/Linux Distributions, Samba is normally configured through a single file, smb.conf, which is usually located at /etc/samba/smb.conf. This file is separated into a "global" section and a section for every share that your Samba Server will provide. With Suse Linux Enterprise Server, the Samba server is configured through a graphical Yast module. This module provides an easy way to configure and adjust the Samba Server without having to edit the /etc/samba/smb.conf file by hand.

Since I am trying to provide documentation that is useful for other GNU/Linux distributions (as well as Suse Linux Enterprise Server) I am going to "build" upon a sample smb.conf file that will change as you go through this document. The basic smb.conf file I am going to start with is below, note that this is only the bare minimum and you need to add upon this example as you go through this document for Samba to work properly:

	[global]
		workgroup = WORKGROUP
		netbios name = myserver
		printing = cups
		printcap name = cups
		printcap cache time = 750
		cups options = raw
		map to guest = Bad User

	[homes]
		comment = Home Directories
		valid users = %S, %D%w%S
		browseable = No
		read only = No
		inherit acls = Yes
		
	[printers]
		comment = All Printers
		path = /var/tmp
		printable = Yes
		create mask = 0600
		browseable = No
		
	[print$]
		comment = Printer Drivers
		path = /var/lib/samba/drivers
		write list = @ntadmins root
		force group = ntadmins
		create mask = 0664
		directory mask = 0775
				

Again if you are using Suse Linux Enterprise Server, you do not need the above example as Yast will configure Samba for you. If you are using the above example, you should adjust the workgroup and netbios name accordingly for your server.

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