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Old 02-07-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
marxxx
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Reliability sharing large files - heavy traffic over network to windows clients


Hey All,

I have recently inherited a network that is primarily Linux servers on a windows domain. The linux servers are running samba, and share immense amounts of large files over the network. At some point in time they had a lot of problems with people being able to access the shares mapping from windows desktop pc's to the samba shares so it was decided to route everything through the DC using DFS.
Due to the very large files and amount of traffic the network is very slow at certain times of the day. Several of these servers have failing hard drives and need to be replaced.

My question is: Is samba reliable enough to share large data files (many single files are over a gig each) over the network. Traffic is heavy just about 24 hours a day, but saturates the network when several files are being moved at once.
Or, am I better off switching some of the linux boxes to windows server. I know linux performs better, but is it better at file sharing for such large amounts of data?

What would you all recommend?
Thanks in advance!

Mark
 
Old 02-07-2013, 04:44 PM   #2
lpwevers
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Hi Mark,

Well, seems like you've gotten yourself into one hell of a network. Since you mention that several drives are failing I highly recommend that you hurry in replacing them. Just for yours sake, I hope they're in a raid configuration.

As for your main question. Yes, samba is reliable enough to share large data files. And in most cases it's actually much faster then running a native Windows file server also with large files. If you have dedicated servers for your storage I suggest you try out installing a dedicated storage OS onto them. Both OpenFiler (http://www.openfiler.com) and FreeNAS (http://www.freenas.org) should serve you just fine. Which one you pick depends mostly on personal choice. OpenFiler is Linux based and FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD, so OpenFiler might be a little more familiar during the installation process. For performance I really can't give you advice which one's the better.

Since you mention that drives are failing, you may want to consider FreeNAS, as it implements ZFS, which is much more fault tolerant then most file-systems.

Kind regards,
Louis
 
Old 02-07-2013, 05:23 PM   #3
marxxx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpwevers View Post
Hi Mark,

Well, seems like you've gotten yourself into one hell of a network. Since you mention that several drives are failing I highly recommend that you hurry in replacing them. Just for yours sake, I hope they're in a raid configuration.


Since you mention that drives are failing, you may want to consider FreeNAS, as it implements ZFS, which is much more fault tolerant then most file-systems.

Kind regards,
Louis
Louis,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. indeed - I did get into one hell of a network. It's like a nightmare honestly. I have been replacing the bad drives, so far 4 bad in the last 8 weeks, with yet another slot in the raid controller failed (replacing the drive didn't help). Wiring is 13 years old and the ends are broken, servers with dual nics were not bound together (most only a single nic plugged in), one of the dc's was totally failed, with dns records pointing to servers that are no longer on the network. The good news - the workstations are in equally poor shape. The original decision was made to go to linux based on the unwillingness to buy windows licenses.
That being said, I am far better in windows than linux - but willing to learn! I am not really a fan of windows just more opportunity to work with it. I didn't feel knowledgeable enough about linux to make the decision on which platform to choose for the new servers.

Thanks again!
Mark
 
Old 02-07-2013, 05:52 PM   #4
chrism01
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Linux (& Samba) is good enough

It sounds like you've got major HW issues, so you need to fix those first.

Disks:
I recommend you read up on http://linux.die.net/man/8/smartctl & http://linux.die.net/man/8/smartd. These tools run low level disk checks (whilst they're running) and warn you about disks likely to die soon.
BTW, I believe this is just for individual disks; for HW RAID you'll need to get the manufacturers diagnostics tools.

NW:
If the network is truly saturated you may have to persuade your management to up grade eg 10G => 100G, but I'd definitely start by checking all cables/cxns and replacing where needed.
Bad network hw will kill the the throughput, regardless.

I highly recommend you document all the fixes/replacements you do in case you need to get some money out of management later.

Can you confirm which distros+versions of Linux you have
Code:
cat /etc/*release*

uname -a
If you're relatively new to Linux, here are some good links
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz - good cmd line tutorial
www.linuxtopia.org - a lot(!) of free to read books/manuals; you may want to start with the SysAdmin section


Good Luck & Welcome to LQ

Last edited by chrism01; 02-07-2013 at 06:10 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-08-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
schneidz
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why not use nfs or sshfs:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...fs-4175448688/

i dont use samba but in my opinion since it was intended for windows file sharing, haxing it into sharing among linux servers probably degrades performance.
 
Old 02-08-2013, 03:55 PM   #6
lpwevers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marxxx View Post
Louis,

That being said, I am far better in windows than linux - but willing to learn! I am not really a fan of windows just more opportunity to work with it. I didn't feel knowledgeable enough about linux to make the decision on which platform to choose for the new servers.

Thanks again!
Mark
Oh you're very welcome. And don't worry about being better in Windows than Linux. That will wear off eventually

But first I must agree with chrism01: fix the hardware. Without that nothing will work properly. And if you can persuade management to go for one of the NAS solutions, don't worry. Only the installation requires some general OS / Network knowledge. The rest is handled through a nice web-interface. (And if you feel unsure, FreeNAS is much better documented).

Well good luck in there. You'll need id.

Regards,
Louis
 
  


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