Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    We have about 7Mb/s down and 2 Mb/s up i'm less concerned with the active directory as I am the file server and since we had a file server I figured having active directory on that same server would be a good idea. However, we could just have the file server at the remote branches and handle active directory through the central branch.

    That's how I would normally handle that. AD from central works really well. Local file servers are often needed. They use all the bandwidth.

    Linux fileservers are trivial to maintain. AD takes a bit more.



  • @scottalanmiller This actually makes a lot of rational sense but is counter intuitive for some reason. I guess I had a little too much of the M$ cool aid. I would love to see a write up your mentioned.

    Also, regarding have remote support, I agree. We live is such a rural area (literally a 5 hour drive to a town big enough to have a stop light). Once the network is in place getting support shouldn't be an issue we can just give the VPN credentials to a qualified sysAdmin any where in the world.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I would be a mess to find someone with both Linux and Windows administration experience (it's a rural area).

    You don't want someone with both, you want a Windows expert and a Linux expert. Don't look to hire consulting generalists unless they are CIO level. For technical experts you want people who are focused. Better skills, lower cost.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    Also, regarding have remote support, I agree. We live is such a rural area (literally a 5 hour drive to a town big enough to have a stop light). That said I agree about the remote support.

    In the enterprise, a system admin is not expected to ever even see their servers. Admins work from home or from high rises or whatever - office spaces. Servers go in datacenters with tight security and clean rooms. So generally admins aren't in the same area, often not even the same state or country, as their servers. There's no reason for it. Even if they are in the same building you would not want the people who have logical access to the servers to be the same ones that have physical access; and vice versa.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    Once the network is in place getting support shouldn't be an issue we can just give the VPN credentials to a qualified sysAdmin any where in the world.

    Not VPN. Other methods like ScreenConnect, TeamViewer, SSH, etc. VPN is a security problem and should never be used for outsiders to connect in. They should never need it, and no one should want it. It exposes you to them and them to you. It's bad for everyone and very cumbersome.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I'm also wondering if i'm underestimating the time and cost to get these Linux servers up and running and integrated with Server 2016.

    Linux AD only goes to 2008 R2. So if your forest is still 2008 R2, not a big deal. If it is 2012 or higher, you are out of luck for now.



  • @scottalanmiller I see so we are stuck with Windows then anyways. Intresting point you made about the VPN. I've worked some other small business and that is how support was administered. Now that I think about it it does give access to the entire network where the other options you listed limit it only to where it is needed. I suppose that's obvious just didn't occur to me for some reason.



  • Hey Scott, I just wanted to make sure that there were no other file servers out there that support active directory integration with Server 2016 right? The ONLY option for us (given that we are stuck with 2016 already ) is the use Microsoft products for our entire domain right? Every file server including FreeNAS and BSD will be unusable in our environment?



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    Hey Scott, I just wanted to make sure that there were no other file servers out there that support active directory integration with Server 2016 right? The ONLY option for us (given that we are stuck with 2016 already ) is the use Microsoft products for our entire domain right? Every file server including FreeNAS and BSD will be unusable in our environment?

    All fileservers should work fine. Any AD integrated NAS or file server will work with 2016. You have zero Windows dependency.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @scottalanmiller I see so we are stuck with Windows then anyways. Intresting point you made about the VPN. I've worked some other small business and that is how support was administered. Now that I think about it it does give access to the entire network where the other options you listed limit it only to where it is needed. I suppose that's obvious just didn't occur to me for some reason.

    Yup. General rule is fire any vendor that requests VPN.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @scottalanmiller I see so we are stuck with Windows then anyways. Intresting point you made about the VPN. I've worked some other small business and that is how support was administered. Now that I think about it it does give access to the entire network where the other options you listed limit it only to where it is needed. I suppose that's obvious just didn't occur to me for some reason.

    I'm using ZeroTier (no bridging!) to get to the bastion hosts of the systems I manage. Very recommended, It's easy to use and IMHO much more secure and simple than obscure NAT forwarding through many routers etc.



  • @scottalanmiller

    Linux AD only goes to 2008 R2. So if your forest is still 2008 R2, not a big deal. If it is 2012 or higher, you are out of luck for now.

    I've been researching and have found a lot of posts stating 2012 DCs and 2008 DCs will work together. Provided the "functional level" is set to 2008.

    However , I found nothing regarding Linux & Windows Server 2016 AD support. Is there a reliable authority I can reference to determine what is or is not compatible or is this just trail and error?

    I did find one page, on the SAMBA wiki, saying "Joining a Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 DC to a Samba AD breaks the AD replication!" Was this what you were referring to?

    I've taken your word for it and moved on, but I would really like to understand why for my own benefit.

    Would you mind elaborating on why 2016 DC wont play ball with a Linux DC, and why Linux file server will authenticate with a 2016 DC just fine?

    Is it that there is some new features in 2016 DC that aren't available in 2008 DC that Windows 10+ clients might be expecting?



  • @Francesco-Provino said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @scottalanmiller I see so we are stuck with Windows then anyways. Intresting point you made about the VPN. I've worked some other small business and that is how support was administered. Now that I think about it it does give access to the entire network where the other options you listed limit it only to where it is needed. I suppose that's obvious just didn't occur to me for some reason.

    I'm using ZeroTier (no bridging!) to get to the bastion hosts of the systems I manage. Very recommended, It's easy to use and IMHO much more secure and simple than obscure NAT forwarding through many routers etc.

    But is the same at VPN - so where is the security there?



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @scottalanmiller

    Linux AD only goes to 2008 R2. So if your forest is still 2008 R2, not a big deal. If it is 2012 or higher, you are out of luck for now.

    I've been researching and have found a lot of posts stating 2012 DCs and 2008 DCs will work together. Provided the "functional level" is set to 2008.

    However , I found nothing regarding Linux & Windows Server 2016 AD support. Is there a reliable authority I can reference to determine what is or is not compatible or is this just trail and error?

    I did find one page, on the SAMBA wiki, saying "Joining a Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 DC to a Samba AD breaks the AD replication!" Was this what you were referring to?

    Exactly - this is why you are limited to 2008 level of AD

    Would you mind elaborating on why 2016 DC wont play ball with a Linux DC, and why Linux file server will authenticate with a 2016 DC just fine?

    Actually, if the function level of your 2016 Server is 2008 or lower, you will be able to use Linux DCs, but if it's higher, you're out of luck.

    Is it that there is some new features in 2016 DC that aren't available in 2008 DC that Windows 10+ clients might be expecting?

    No, Windows 10 isn't the issue here. It's that MS has updated features that the Linux community hasn't added for the required compatibility yet.



  • @Dashrender Thanks for the reply. So how does this affect a simple Linux file server?

    It isn't a domain controller just present on the domain and using active directory for authentication. Are there any "features" that 2012+ active directory has that will cause issues?

    Scott said it was fine, but I just want to understand exactly why.

    I'm hesitant to deploy a Linux server into production without knowing for sure that server 2016 has changed something in a protocol or schema that is going to cause major issues...



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @Dashrender Thanks for the reply. So how does this affect a simple Linux file server?

    It isn't a domain controller just present on the domain and using active directory for authentication. Are there any "features" that 2012+ active directory has that will cause issues?

    Scott said it was fine, but I just want to understand exactly why.

    I'm hesitant to deploy a Linux server into production without knowing for sure that server 2016 has changed something in a protocol or schema that is going to cause major issues...

    It doesn't affect member systems.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    It doesn't affect member systems.

    Right, AD has all kinds of extra stuff in it. A member server is just authentication. As long as Linux Samba supports the same authentication protocols you'll be good to go.



  • @scottalanmiller @Dashrender

    Thanks guys
    I understand the outstanding SAMBA bug doesn't' affect member systems, just replication between DCs.

    I guess what i'm struggling with, being my first time setting this up and all, is the lack of an official list of supported clients/hosts from either from Microsoft or from the dev teams responsible for the Linux implementation of LDAP, Kerberos, Winbind, SAMBA....

    Microsoft does list some supported operating systems for Server 2012 and "later". From which XP was recently removed.

    However, I can't find anything on the Linux side other than that SAMBA bug with replication between DCs. I'm just trying to establish why Scott and others are so confident in Linux client support for ALL Windows DC functional levels.

    I'm guessing that its either:

    • A ) Client/member support just isn't, and wont be, an issue because the protocols used ( Kerberos, LDAP, and so on) havn't/wont change from version to version of Windows.

    • B ) The devs behind the Linux integration always keep these protocols up to date.

    I'm also assuming that you guys, and others, have tested this in production and in the lab and confirmed for yourselves there aren't any issues.

    I'm in the process of doing that myself at my home lab. I've just been out of the loop, and am just now catching up. I haven't seen how client support has/hasn't changed over there years which makes me a little wary.

    Your two cents would be much appreciated. Sorry for not be more articulate in the first place.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @scottalanmiller @Dashrender

    Thanks guys
    I understand the outstanding SAMBA bug doesn't' affect member systems, just replication between DCs.

    Which bug is that?



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    However, I can't find anything on the Linux side other than that SAMBA bug with replication between DCs. I'm just trying to establish why Scott and others are so confident in Linux client support for ALL Windows DC functional levels.

    Why do you assume a problem? This is how Linux works all day, every day. Literally millions of installations do this constantly. It's not just Linux, it's every non-Windows OS except for Mac (which doesn't work well) uses Samba. There is no "Linux side" here, first of all, it is an application question about Samba, nothing to do with Linux itself. You have no reason to question this, Samba has worked for 17 years without an issue.

    And what bug are you referring to?

    This is one of those "I've assumed a problem that doesn't exist, now can't find documentation proving that it doesn't." Of course you can't, there is no problem to even be looking for. Why would someone have documentation that says otherwise?



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I'm guessing that its either:

    • A ) Client/member support just isn't, and wont be, an issue because the protocols used ( Kerberos, LDAP, and so on) havn't/wont change from version to version of Windows.

    • B ) The devs behind the Linux integration always keep these protocols up to date.

    These are both true.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I'm also assuming that you guys, and others, have tested this in production and in the lab and confirmed for yourselves there aren't any issues.

    The entire NAS market depends on this, the degree of testing is pretty extreme.



  • @scottalanmiller

    Which bug is that?

    I believe it is #11204

    "Samba fails to replicate the Windows Server 2012 R2 directory schema (69) from a Windows 2008 R2 DC."

    Why do you assume a problem?

    I think this is rooted in my inexperience with SAMBA, and not having put in the work to gain confidence first hand. I have a little PTSD from working with open source projects in the past that were poorly tested/supported and issues never appeared until we were well into production. The community was in decline, and we ended up writing our own fixes at great expense, time and money.

    However, not all software is created equal and the more research I do I see that SAMBA development has been pretty consistent and adoption/use has been as well. I know M$ has its own share of problems and you are at their mercy to fix the issues.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @scottalanmiller

    Which bug is that?

    I believe it is #11204

    "Samba fails to replicate the Windows Server 2012 R2 directory schema (69) from a Windows 2008 R2 DC."

    There is no replication of Active Directory in a member server. You are ready DC functionality bugs and applying them to something very different. And it is already known that 2012 R2 schema is not an option on Samba, so even if you were doing AD, this bug doesn't exist for Samba today (it's a bug but not for a version that is available yet.)

    So nothing to see here.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I think this is rooted in my inexperience with SAMBA, and not having put in the work to gain confidence first hand.

    Inexperience should not make you react negatively to Samba. Samba has a nearly twenty year track record, much of that time beating Windows at its own game. Pre-AD Samba was faster and more stable than Windows for the same tasks. Samba has been the leading file server for Windows for a very long time (until SMB 3 was released.) Samba powers so much enterprise file serving. Feeling like Samba cannot be trusted is like wondering if that new fangled Ford company has ever actually made a working car - ignoring the hundreds of thousands of them on the road every day.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I have a little PTSD from working with open source projects in the past that were poorly tested/supported and issues never appeared until we were well into production. The community was in decline, and we ended up writing our own fixes at great expense, time and money.

    We all have that from closed source projects, too. You should not apply experience from one company or project to another based on source licensing. To make an example, that's like reading one bad book and being wary of all printed literature since all literature is copyrighted. It's just a license, it has nothing to do with the value of the final project. You have to evaluate each project individually and not apply experience from one to another.

    Same with closed source. Think of all the crappy closed source, often full of malware, that doesn't work and you have to pay for it. You don't take one little application written by a guy in his basement and then wonder if Microsoft can pull off making Windows just because the two are both closed source, right? They aren't related to each other.



  • @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    However, not all software is created equal and the more research I do I see that SAMBA development has been pretty consistent and adoption/use has been as well. I know M$ has its own share of problems and you are at their mercy to fix the issues.

    Yes, top enterprise market leaders with decades of experience and track records are generally the best bets that you can make.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    @cggart said in Mixing Linux & Windows Server in a SMB:

    I think this is rooted in my inexperience with SAMBA, and not having put in the work to gain confidence first hand.

    Inexperience should not make you react negatively to Samba. Samba has a nearly twenty year track record, much of that time beating Windows at its own game. Pre-AD Samba was faster and more stable than Windows for the same tasks. Samba has been the leading file server for Windows for a very long time (until SMB 3 was released.) Samba powers so much enterprise file serving. Feeling like Samba cannot be trusted is like wondering if that new fangled Ford company has ever actually made a working car - ignoring the hundreds of thousands of them on the road every day.

    Sure, but you can't just look out into the world and see millions of servers running Samba like you can walk down a road and see dozen's of Fords. Someone new to the Linux game - how are they suppose to know Samba is what it is other than people like you just telling them, and then over time seeing it more and more, and getting personal experience.



  • @Dashrender

    I agree, but also understood Scott's point. I should have said "ignorant" instead of "inexperienced". I am both but one doesn't necessarily imply the other. Semantics! 😉

    I'm in a better place with this now, and want to say thank you both for being patient and giving the straight dope.



  • Now that 2016 is (finally) out, I have to decide if I want to upgrade my 2003 domain to 2016, or perhaps give Samba a try.

    I need a 2016 server anyway, so I might just go with that, but maybe not! 🙂


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