Linux in Government: Another Look at Linux in the MS Infrastructure
In an article published in IT Week, Roger Howorth discussed lab results that indicated how the latest version of the open-source Samba file and print server software out-performed commercial Windows 2003 Server. The latest version of Samba, the software that helped put Linux on the technology map, has new features that make it compatible with Microsoft Active Directory. Linux thus can authenticate users from an existing Active Directory. As IT Week Labs reported:
The latest benchmark results show an improvement over version 2, which performed twice as fast as Windows 2000 Server when it was tested by IT Week Labs last year. Overall, it now performs 2.5 times faster than Windows Server 2003.
In terms of scalability, the gains of upgrading to Samba 3 are even more striking. Last year we found that Samba could handle four times as many clients as Windows 2000 before performance began to drop off. This year we would need to upgrade our test network in order to identify the point where Samba performance begins to fall in earnest.
Interestingly, IT managers who have deployed Linux with Samba have found that Samba requires less expensive and lower power servers than does the Windows software. Additionally, by using open-source software and Linux, managers can remove the expense of Windows server licenses.
The benchmark tests at IT Week Labs provide a tangible example of why Linux has gained so much server market share. As Howorth writes:
The IT Week Labs tests used Ziff-Davis NetBench file server benchmark with 48 client systems. We selected a low-specification but otherwise modern server for our tests. We used an HP ProLiant BL10 eClass Server fitted with a 900MHz Pentium III chip, a single 40GB ATA hard disk and 512MB of RAM. We did not tune any of the software to improve performance.
Each NetBench client makes a constant stream of file requests to the server under test, whereas in real-world environments many users would remain idle for long periods. Consequently our test environment simulates the workload of some 500 client PCs in a typical production environment.
Samba is an open-source implementation of the filesystem deployed by Microsoft. The bundle of standards and protocols behind Microsoft's filesystem originally was called SMB, or the Server Message Block Protocol. Over the years, Microsoft has made SMB the most prevalent filesharing protocol on the planet by shipping it with every Microsoft Windows system, whether desktop or server.
In government networks, Windows and Novell provide the primary server platforms used at every level, from small municipalities to federal agencies. Consequently, anyone considering an alternative desktop must consider how it will work with Microsoft's SMB protocol, which also is referred to as the Common Internet File System (CIFS). Do not let the latter name fool you; Microsoft changed the original name to make people believe SMB is an Internet standard.
SMB, or CIFS, allows Windows machines to share directories, files, printers and other computer resources within a network. The protocols and services included in SMB, which are called a following or a bundle, enable tasks such as introducing new hosts, name resolution, authentication and access control. Each service operates independently, but to the user it all looks like a single protocol.
SMB helps each desktop find and identify shared resources. It also controls access to those resources so unauthorized users cannot access them. Within this environment, Samba allows Linux desktops to look and act like Windows desktops.
SMB has been available for open-source operating systems such as Linux for several years, thanks to Samba. And as Linux began its move out of the datacenter and onto the corporate desktop, Samba helped Linux become part of the Microsoft network neighborhood. In fact, back in 1999, companies such as Cisco discovered that their engineers had replaced NT Servers with Linux machines running Samba. These companies were alerted to the presence of Linux and Samba by IT auditors who wondered why those servers did not need rebooting. As companies began discovering Linux in their organizations, word spread and a grass-roots movement gained management acceptability.
Some of the services included in Samba came from published standards. Many remained undocumented by Microsoft and have changed with each Windows version. In current lingo, people use CIFS when referring to the entire suite of services and SMB when discussing the filesharing protocol that allows one to see the network and its resources in the network neighborhood.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
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.
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|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
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