Upgrading from Samba Server Version 3

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Distinguishing between Samba Versions 3 and 4

From the Samba Version 4 release notes made by the Samba project, we got information on the addition of the DNS server and NTP protocols that are integrated in the new Samba 4 code, LDAP server and Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC)—both accounted within the Active Directory Services, support for SMB Version 2.1 with preliminary support for Version 3.0, and the Python scripting interface—all of which we will highlight as great and bold, new capabilities.

These new features can make the Samba Server Version 4 look appealing from an upgrade perspective for the Samba Server Version 3 users. It can also stimulate new installations, as it can be a strong choice to provide full network services as open source and as a free alternative in comparison to Microsoft Windows Servers.

The classic model (NT4 Domains) is still supported and present in the Samba Server Version 4, but the new version’s real gain for users and system administrators is the ability to use all the new features introduced by Microsoft with the development of the Active Directory Domain Controller services. All these are associated with the concepts of delegations, group policies, new security model, and so on.

The fact is that the Samba Server Version 3 is a rock-solid software. The file and print’s server code is very stable and has been working for many, many years. Besides this, the Samba Server Version 4 has implemented a new approach and daemons for these services; the new project’s software version still has support for the old and bullet proof file/print server daemons and those are the ones that are recommended for production purposes at the time of this writing.

Many users are really happy with the file and print services from Samba Server Version 3. As a great portion of the use cases and base installations of the Samba Server is for the purpose of these services, many users remain with the Version 3 in production, where the scary problem is to support the new Microsoft Windows Operating System versions.

So, for the users who are looking at and exploring the upgrade process, the real difference and the main feature that encourages them to take the upgrade path most of the time, which are the Active Directory services present on Samba 4. The new code has integrated the DNS and LDAP server and KDC. So, many users from the previous versions that could be intimidated by the need to deal with external and complex software combinations (for example, DNS/Bind or OpenLDAP) for small and medium installations can now have a really robust and complete solution for the Samba project’s new release.

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