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Windows server alternatives

Dec 08, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

My company is looking to add more servers at our corporate office as well as install smaller servers at the larger remote offices. The cost of deploying and maintaining Windows servers continues to grow but our budget doesn’t. What options do we have on keeping things under control?Samba. This system can imitate a Windows server to the point that your average Windows user probably won’t realize they’re talking to a Linux server instead. I recently had the chance to talk to John Terpstra, one of the Samba team members. I gained a whole new appreciation for Samba. Capable of running on just about any flavor of Linux you can think of, you can come up with a potentially more affordable way of providing file and print services to your users. Since not everyone may be able to talk to John or one of the other Samba team members, your best bet is to get a copy of “The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide.” This book is comprised of frequently asked questions from the Samba listservs and goes into detail beyond the documentation available from  that offers another way of administering Samba via a Web interface.

 – Via the Internet

There are a couple of options. Both of the options I mention assume you’ll either have a direct data circuit between the remote office and your corporate office, or you have a VPN in place between the locations. The first option involves setting up one or more dedicated Windows Terminal Server systems. Remote users can attach to these systems, print to remote printers and use whatever applications or services they need without deploying and maintaining a remote server. Although the number of servers may still continue to grow somewhat, they’ll be centralized and more directly under your control

The other option is to use an open-source service called 

Samba may not be the best answer for everyone due to application dependencies in which something specific, such as SQL 2000, cannot address another option such as MySQL. There will be a little bit of a learning curve when you use Linux but that’s also true of anything new implemented. There is a Web-based administration tool called SWAT that’s included with Samba. You also have the option of using a tool called