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Old 01-17-2004, 03:50 PM   #1
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NFS and or Samba


I have a small home network with several Linux boxes and several windows boxes.

I was planning on setting up NFS for the linux boxes and was wondering if I should use Samba or the new NFS tools (free download as of Thursday) from MS for the windows clients.

All recommendations on how and where to start are appriciated.

Old 01-17-2004, 06:06 PM   #2
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i tried SFU 3.0 a few months ago and spent >1 hour trying to find why my NIS mms snapin required for installation bluescreened. i promptly gave that CD away.

in contrast, SFU 3.5 was very easy to install on the same computer that did not allow installation of SFU 3.0. I installed (only the) NFS and NIS components as follows:

copy passwd and group files to the win2k box,
run the install exe & select components,
point SFU to the passwd and group files,

surprisingly NFS worked on the win2k box immediately. win maps your windows user login to the same user password entry in the passwd file and seemed to work properly for the several users i tested. NFS mounts are viewed through a new Network|Entire Network|NFS Network entry that functions similar to the typical windows samba browser.

however, after installing SFU 3.5, clicking on Network|Computers Near Me would hang the system for > 1 minute before returning a 'cannot find {...whatever}' error message. apparantly SFU broke something else since Network|Computers Near Me was working before the SFU 3.5 evaluation.

before uninstalling SFU 3.5 from the windows box, i compared NFS throughput to samba througput by copying the entire unzipped SFU 3.5 package (something like 12000 files, 300MB) to the win computer from a PII350MHz linux NFS and samba server over gigabit ethernet. results are as follows:

NFS transfer, linux to SFU 3.5 win box, total time: 4:48 (min:sec)
samba transfer, linux samba server to same win box, total time: 4:51 (min:sec)

i prefer to use samba for win boxes since it doesn't adversely affect windows networking, saves a lot of HD space, and i don't have to configure it on every box i want to serve files to. alternatively, i only had to set up samba once and haven't thought about it since.

i am unsure if uninstalling SFU 3.5 fixed my broken windows networking, i halted win2k and booted back into linux.

hope this helps, - bp

Last edited by bdp; 01-17-2004 at 06:09 PM.
Old 01-17-2004, 07:18 PM   #3
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To my mind it depends on whether you are likely to expand your network at all. Since SMB comes as a default part of any/all Windows setups, I would have everything that you want to be shared running with Samba. Since Linux will happily mount SMB shares and yet an un-updated Windows box will not read NFS shares it (to my mind) would make greater sense to share stuff with SMB.

This is, of course, if you are planning to have flexibility in the system. If not, then NFS is certainly easier to set up in Linux... I have not tried the MS Unix tools for Windows so I do not know the ease with which you can access NFS or share your own files with NFS.

Old 01-17-2004, 08:36 PM   #4
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I was not aware I could use SAMBA between linux boxes so it looks like that might be a better solution for me. To make sure I have it right:

I can create SMB shares on my linux box and can mount them in other linux boxes and windows boxes.

Is that correct?

Old 01-17-2004, 08:54 PM   #5
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i don't run samba between 2 linux boxes but sure that's possible and that might be simpler than also using nfs on a network and thus a good choice for you. i did prove to my satisfaction over the course of a week of experimentation that automounting with autofs samba shares onto linux was nowhere as near as stable as automounting with autofs nfs shares instead. i decided to only use samba where nfs wasn't an option since i also found nfs to give higher througput, which was my primary interest.

if you set up samba between 2 linux boxes i'd be curious to see a throughput comparison between nfs and samba as my throughput comparison may be outdated now.
this ?outdated? throughput comparison refers to one i did with the 2.2 kernel a while ago between 2 linux boxes. it doesn't refer to my first post that tested {linux server} -> {windows client}.

cheers, -bp

Last edited by bdp; 01-18-2004 at 02:59 AM.
Old 01-17-2004, 10:24 PM   #6
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Yes of course samba works between linux boxes. It's all I use, because I have a mixed network and don't particularly care for using different set ups, I just set up my shares with samba and every machine on my network can access them whether it's win or linux.

I don't use nfs for shares so I can't compare the throughput, but it is plenty fast enough for me. If the above differences are an exapmle then I am satisfied. The 3 second difference couldn't convince me to change anything. Especially installing a buggy windows app in an enviroment that is working flawlessly.
Old 01-18-2004, 12:51 AM   #7
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'If the above differences are an exapmle then I am satisfied.'

the results above were produced via testing throughput from a linux server to a windows client, i.e. they are not a relavent example. they are unrelated to linux to linux file serving, which is where i had determined a significant difference in throughput some time ago. sorry for the confusion, i edited my comments above to clairfy. regardless, i agree with your conclusion to use samba for the windows box.

Last edited by bdp; 01-18-2004 at 03:02 AM.
Old 01-18-2004, 06:18 AM   #8
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From linux I use smb4k to connect to my shares on the samba server although it does not support printer shares. Its a nice application.

I just setup the samba server and I don't know how to print to it from my linux boxes though.


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