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Samba upgrade enables simple NT 4.0 migration

Administrators are one command away from seamless NT 4.0 migration, server consolidation and other cost savings with Samba 3.0.

You can't ever accuse the developers and engineers on the Samba Team of not having a sense of humor.

IT administrators need just one command to execute the key feature of the latest Samba upgrade, version 3.0, which enables seamless migration of a Windows NT 4.0 domain to Samba. Imagine the glee of an admin keying in "NET RPC VAMPIRE" and being able to access Windows file and print services on a Linux or Unix client.

"'NET RPC VAMPIRE' because it sucks the brains out of NT 4.0," said team developer Jeremy Allison.

Allison said Samba 3.0 is the first open source product to provide Windows NT primary and backup domain controller functionality. Administrators will be able to use their current user and group account databases with Samba 3.0. It integrates into a Microsoft Active Directory domain, with a single AD sign-on for Linux and Unix clients. Servers and clients can use AD as an authentication and account source. It's a good fit for small and medium-sized enterprises, Allison said.

"Active Directory is overkill for a lot of organizations. If you're not running a global enterprise, Active Directory is probably a lot more trouble than it's worth," Allison said. "That's why moving to Samba 3.0 is a significant help and cost savings. You have to pay no client-access fees. You can take an NT 4.0 infrastructure and migrate it with one command. You can then turn off NT, turn on Samba, and you're in business."

Allison said enterprises can save around $25 per client-access license and substantially more per server because 3.0 allows for consolidation. That same kind of management, however, does not apply to Windows 2000, Allison said, because it uses a combination of LDAP, Kerberos, DHCP, SMB and other protocols.

Samba 3.0 also implements Kerberos 5 authentication, SMB signing and Schannel security for safe remote procedure calls. Allison said it works with Windows Server 2003 domain controllers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: expert response: "How does Samba compare with NetWare for file and print serving?" news exclusive: "Open source security shines in Samba case"

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