Linux as a File and Print Server
Over the last three weeks we looked at Linux from the beginning and then talked some about its capabilities. This week is the first episode where we drill down to more specifics. And, in this episode, we look at using Linux as a file and print server.
Right off the bat, let me point out that here at Linux Journal we have a network of Linux systems that runs the gamut from desktops to web servers. All printers are served by Linux systems, and the MS-Windows system used for layout still relies on a Linux system as its file and print server and has for about five years.
It doesn't. That is, Linux distributions include all the necessary software to use any Linux system as a file and print server. Because multi-user and pre-emptive multi-tasking are part of the basic Linux kernel, there is no need for a special version of the software.
This is not to say that servers and desktops have to be configured the same way, just that they can be. If you are building a server that will be subjected to heavy traffic volumes, you will want to use faster, more reliable disk drives or possibly a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) storage system to allow the system to continue to operate even if a disk fails. You will also want some sort of backup device, such as a tape drive on the server.
On the software side of a server, you may want some sort of commercial backup software. While Linux includes backup software, many people choose a commercial package because they find it easier to use.
There are lots of alternatives including Windows2000 and Solaris-based systems. While Linux isn't the only answer, it is an excellent answer.
Linux has proven reliability offering typical uptimes in the hundreds of days.
The cost of a Linux solution is lower than that of the alternatives.
Cost deserves more discussion. Besides a zero cost for the software, Linux tends to be frugal in resource utilization. You can squeeze more performance out of your hardware with Linux than say Windows2000. As an example, I know of two ISPs in Vancouver. They have about the same amount of traffic to handle. One ISP uses nine WindowsNT systems, the other uses a single Linux system. While you shouldn't expect a 9:1 ratio, you will see the difference to be significant. One case study of Linux as a file server comes from our story here from our "Linux Means Business" column.
Print service is another area where Linux will shine. Linux includes print spooling software. The Samba and netatalk packages mentioned above offer print service capabilities as well. This means that The supported printers can either be connected to the serial or parallel ports on Linux systems or they can be on Ethernet and just be managed by a Linux system. For an explanation of how far print management can go, see our discussion on the Linux Print System at Cisco Systems, Inc.
Linux speaks TCP/IP, the standard communications protocol of the Internet. As MS-Windows and Macs can speak TCP/IP as well, TCP/IP over Ethernet becomes the standard. Linux has the additional software (Samba for MS-Windows systems, for example) that allows it to perform the requested services. No add-ons, nothing to buy--it just works. (More on Linux and TCP/IP is available in an early LJ article here.)
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide