What kind of server do you need? What do you want to accomplish?
Also, are any of the hosts connected to the internet?
Are the hosts on identical or very similar hardware, and do the hosts use the same version of mandrake?
One thing that can be done is to have many of the Mandriva stations mount many of the partitions off the server. The Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard available from www.tldp.org
may explains this well. Some partitions can be shared and mounted read-only (static) e.g. /usr,/bin,/sbin. Others like /home can be shared and mounted rw. One advantage of doing it this way is that you can install software or security upgrades on the server and don't need to do the same on each host. Even with just 5 hosts, this will make administration and security upgrades easier. Imagine if you had 50 hosts. Another advantage is that you can perform backups on the server rather than each host. This is an example of using a file server.
There are other types of servers: database, mail, DNS (name server). A university or publishing house may even have a centralized font server. Sometimes each service is offered by separate computers. Often the file server and the mail server are on the same host. For a business with only 5-10 hosts, the database will probably be located on the same machine also.
The term server is used for any host that supplies a service for other hosts, and is usually a machine available 24/7. You could have one server that performs more than one service, or several machines that are dedicated.
A corporation will want to control access to and from the internet. This may even be a legal requirement for public held corporations, due to recent legislation. In linux you could use Squid and Dan's Guardian for this. Another requirement for all corporations, is that certain accounting documents be retained for a number of years. Having them on a central server makes backing them easier because they exist in the same place.
The first edition of the book "Linux Network Administration Guide", the NAG guide, is available on the www.tldp.org
website also. Mandriva may even have the LFS and NAG documentation included on one of the disks. If memory serves me, they also have all of the TLDP howtos in a "howtos" package that you can install.
There also is a sambadoc package that contains 3 books on Samba 3. These are the online versions of the same books that you can find at Barnes and Nobles! It may include the pdf versions also.
If you have the samba swat service enabled, you can configure the network, and access this documentation through your web browser: http://localhost:901
This is a list of the documentation you can access via swat on your own system with the samba-docs package installed:
smbd - the SMB daemon
nmbd - the NetBIOS nameserver
winbindd - the winbind daemon
- Configuration Files
smb.conf - the main Samba configuration file
lmhosts - NetBIOS hosts file
smbpasswd - SMB password file
- Administrative Utilities
smbcontrol - send control messages to Samba daemons
smbpasswd - managing SMB passwords
SWAT - web configuration tool
net - tool for administration of Samba and remote CIFS servers
pdbedit - Samba user account management tool
tdbbackup - Tool for backing up TDB databases
- Client Tools
rpcclient - command line MS-RPC client
smbtar - SMB backup tool
smbclient - command line SMB client
smbmnt - helper utility for mounting SMB filesystems on Linux hosts
smbmount - user space tool for mounting SMB filesystems under Linux
smbumount - user space tool for umounting SMB filesystems under Linux
ntlm_auth - allow external programs to use NTLM authentication
smbcquotas - get or set quotas on NTFS 5 shares
smbspool - Send a print job to an SMB printer
smbtree - Text-based SMB network browsing
- Diagnostic Utilities
smbstatus - monitoring Samba
testparm - validating your config file
nmblookup - NetBIOS name query tool
wbinfo - Tool for getting winbind information
- Misc. Utilities
profiles - migrating profiles from one domain to another
log2pcap - generate pcap files from samba log files
Using Samba, 2ed. - by Jay Ts, Robert Eckstein, and David Collier-Brown
The Official Samba HOWTO and Reference Guide
Samba 3 by Example
The Samba Developer Guide
Cups has a similar configuration utility via: http://localhost:631
Good Luck! I hope I've given you some ideas.