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Old 11-03-2003, 04:07 PM   #1
mdkelly069
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Question Need Advice on building a Linux/Samba Server for an internal corporate network


Good Day,

First off let me send out my thanks to those who regularly post to these boards. They have come in handy and solved many of my Linux problems. Keep it up, it is appreciated

Now the meat. I am trying to design a Linux/Samba server system for my internal corporate network. I already have the machine, a Intel Celeron 433 with 256MB of RAM. I currently have Red Hat 9.0 installed on that machine and it is running great. I have played around with Samba Installs in the past with a reasonable amount of success so I am not a complete newbie, more like a novice.

On the aforementioned machine I have put a test install of Samba 3.0.0 and it is runnnif OK. I say okay because I have only had one evening of testing with it on the network.

Here are the facts:
- Network serves about 12 people, but could soon grow to 15 or so
- All clients will be running Windows 2000 Professional
- A large amount of data transfer occurs
- Some files are very large > 30MB (AutoCAD)
- Office uses "guest" account on the current server for all transactions
- I know this is bad, but I do not have control over it and
I am trying to get it changed, but it would require reconfiguration
of all machines in the office as they do not want to log into the
file server.

My only real concern is the large file transfers. The current "server", a Win2000 Pro box, handles it no problem, but we are constantly hitting up againt the 10 user limit. I said I would find a solution.

Any advice, suggestions, and/or questions are much welcomed.
Time is not of the essence, but I would like to deploy the new system this week.

Thanks
mdkelly
 
Old 11-03-2003, 04:26 PM   #2
mcleodnine
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Damn shame about the "guest" account.

A few things to consider;
1) A recent test of Samba3.0 server shows it outperforms Win2K servers, especially when serving more users.

2) depending on your office policy you should really consider some sort of access control other than 'guest'. You could implement this at a later date.

3) How many drives are you using and what kind of controller are they connected to?

4) As always I have to add the obligatory nag about keeping busy drives cool. Hot disks get cranky fast and a hard-locked machine will make you look bad.
 
Old 11-03-2003, 04:46 PM   #3
mdkelly069
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Hi mcleodnine,

In response:

1) I don't doubt that Samba 3 outperforms Win2K servers. My office is currently "served" by a Win2k machine, not the server addition, hence the major upgrade I will be doing.

2) I am trying to get them off the guest account system. I will probably just sneak in one night and do it so they won't know *heh heh*

3) We will be using 3+ drives. One for the OS, one for the main data storage, and one for a mirror backup, not RAID, just a copy of the working drive that will be completed every couple of days. I want to put in a removable rack so I can swap out 2 drives, one for incremental backups, and one for full backups that will be done weekly and kept off site. All drives will work off the IDE chain.

4) I will be installing some sort of hard drive cooler, probly a bolt on fan set up. I think we already had one drive go bad due to overheating so the evidence is sitting on the corner of my desk.

I guess I am still wondering about any special considerations surrounding hooking up to an all Win2k network. I have read many posts talking about improperly configured Samba servers wreaking havoc on the network neighbourhood (Canadian ).

Also my still big concern is the sheer size of the files being transferred. I have also read posts about Samba losing responsiveness when transfering large amounts of data. Should any consideration be taken when setting up the Linux partitions (swap) that may help or correct this?

Thanks for any more info you, or anyone can provide.

I want to get this thing up and rock-solid so I can convince them to switch a few more of there service machines over.

Thanks Again

Last edited by mdkelly069; 11-03-2003 at 04:47 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2003, 04:58 PM   #4
mcleodnine
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I've never really had much of a problem with large files in a Samba/Win9x environment (users regularly copied a 400Mb+ database folder to the local machine for Maximizer. Yes, very lame)

All I can really offer is that you stress-test your setup by hucking huge files back and forth and see if you have any problems.
 
Old 11-03-2003, 04:58 PM   #5
Eqwatz
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Read the Performance HowTo and the Partition HowTo for partition and file layout for the best performance and ease of recovery.

Practice Back-ups and Recoveries until you can do it with the same elan as you do with 2000. All the tweaks for 2000 pretty much apply to linux ( as far as services).

Consider investing in enough drives and good controllers to go high performance using linux raid. (Check compatibility before buying; on the net not just the list.)[[And avoid CMD680 based cards--I hate them a lot. Although people that didn't get the cheesy "Belkin" brand said they had good luck with them. I use new-old-stock Promise non-Fast-track; non-raid ATA/udma133 controller cards and only use one brand of hard drive on each channel--I try to use the same brand on each controller. ( And it isn't just WD drives that bugger up either.)]]

Boot and run from command-line (you knew that). Let 'er rip.

For a production environment you are using older used drives?

If you aren't using a case designed for continuous use--like one designed to be a server--you may want to invest some time in arranging everything and possibly modifying the case for better cooling and layout. Often, just slapping more fans on or into it don't necessarily make it cooler.

I built one you could have used for a hot air pop-corn popper--lucky I didn't fry it. I can make quiet and cool running computers now--I was surprised how much there was to it.

***/*Linux Documentation Project HowTo list. The HowTos I mentioned are for tweaking the O.S. and making the disk-managment much easier. It also helps to make recovery of files easier.
These guides do more than tell you the writer's personal opinion--they tell you why file location and partition layout is important for any O.S.. I alway like to know why.******/*

The location of the files on the disk makes a difference in performance even with modern drives.

Most important is the separation of the data, logs, and user accounts from the O.S..
First, you can keep track of things with a df -h. Second, purging logs should be scripted and regular. But I'm too lazy to script all of them, so I use tail logfilename >temp/log# (for each log file which doesn't already come scripted) Then I nuke them and touch them and cat the temp. Yeah, I know I manually do a script--I'll get riiiiiiggghhhttt on that.

The physical layout means more in linux than 2000. And even on 2000 you see a major improvement in performance if you tweak the layout of the Program files, Data, and swap files (yes 2000 uses multiple swap files).
Setting up mirrored and or striped drives is not difficult, and the utilization in linux is much more efficient than with windows.

Production level admin practices are important. Read the Linux Installation Guide; The Linux Customization Guide; The Linux Administrator's Guide; and other stuff on the "DOCS" ISO you should have downloaded with RedHat-9.

KickStart will take you from "bare iron" to fully installed in 12-20 minutes It is a complete custom install, not a recovery, the hardware doesn't matter. Windows 2000 has the same kind of thing available, but it isn't near as easy, nor quite as fast (for just the core O.S.). Nice thing about it is you only have to do it once, the more specific to the hardware the faster it is, it is editable by any unix text editor.

Last edited by Eqwatz; 11-03-2003 at 11:58 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2003, 05:07 PM   #6
mdkelly069
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Thanks for your replies, both mcleodnine and Eqwatz.

Believe me, I am going to beat the hell out of the system before I go live with it. This is pretty much an MS office and I want to show them that there are other viable, and almost always free, alternatives.

mcleodnine, thanks for the info on the file transfers. To be honest I think I saw one post about a problem with large transfers, but it still did put up a red flag.

Eqwatz, when you speak of the "Performance How To" and the "Partition How To" are you speaking of them in terms of the OS, or in terms of Samba. I myself have always gone with the default during install of the OS, usually Red Hat. I knew there were better ways of doing it, but the default has always worked fine for me so I never strayed. If you could point me to those documents you are speaking of it would be much appreciated.

Thanks again to both of you

Cheers
MDK
 
Old 11-03-2003, 05:13 PM   #7
mcleodnine
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Probably start here.

nod to david_ross for the linkage
 
Old 11-03-2003, 05:26 PM   #8
mdkelly069
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Thanks, I will check it out

Cheers
 
  


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