This chapter provides information regarding the types of server that Samba may be configured to be. A Microsoft network administrator who wishes to migrate to or use Samba will want to know the meaning, within a Samba context, of terms familiar to MS Windows administrator. This means that it is essential also to define how critical security modes function before we get into the details of how to configure the server itself.
The chapter provides an overview of the security modes of which Samba is capable and how they relate to MS Windows servers and clients.
A question often asked is, "Why would I want to use Samba?" Most chapters contain a section that highlights features and benefits. We hope that the information provided will help to answer this question. Be warned though, we want to be fair and reasonable, so not all features are positive towards Samba. The benefit may be on the side of our competition.
3.1 Features and Benefits
Two men were walking down a dusty road, when one suddenly kicked up a small red stone. It hurt his toe and lodged in his sandal. He took the stone out and cursed it with a passion and fury befitting his anguish. The other looked at the stone and said, "This is a garnet. I can turn that into a precious gem and some day it will make a princess very happy!"
The moral of this tale: Two men, two very different perspectives regarding the same stone. Like it or not, Samba is like that stone. Treat it the right way and it can bring great pleasure, but if you are forced to use it and have no time for its secrets, then it can be a source of discomfort.
Samba started out as a project that sought to provide interoperability for MS Windows 3.x clients with a UNIX server. It has grown up a lot since its humble beginnings and now provides features and functionality fit for large scale deployment. It also has some warts. In sections like this one we tell of both.
So, what are the benefits of features mentioned in this chapter?
Samba-3 can replace an MS Windows NT4 Domain Controller.
Samba-3 offers excellent interoperability with MS Windows NT4-style domains as well as natively with Microsoft Active Directory domains.
Samba-3 permits full NT4-style Interdomain Trusts.
Samba has security modes that permit more flexible authentication than is possible with MS Windows NT4 Domain Controllers.
Samba-3 permits use of multiple account database backends.
The account (password) database backends can be distributed and replicated using multiple methods. This gives Samba-3 greater flexibility than MS Windows NT4 and in many cases a significantly higher utility than Active Directory domains with MS Windows 200x.