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.)
Getting Started with DevOps - Including New Data on IT Performance from Puppet Labs 2015 State of DevOps Report
August 27, 2015
12:00 PM CDT
DevOps represents a profound change from the way most IT departments have traditionally worked: from siloed teams and high-anxiety releases to everyone collaborating on uneventful and more frequent releases of higher-quality code. It doesn't matter how large or small an organization is, or even whether it's historically slow moving or risk averse — there are ways to adopt DevOps sanely, and get measurable results in just weeks.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Hacking a Safe with Bash
- Django Models and Migrations
- Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory, Part II
- Huge Package Overhaul for Debian and Ubuntu
- Home Automation with Raspberry Pi
- The Controversy Behind Canonical's Intellectual Property Policy
- Shashlik - a Tasty New Android Simulator
- Embed Linux in Monitoring and Control Systems
- KDE Reveals Plasma Mobile
- diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development