The Release of Samba 4.0 - First Free Software Active Directory Compatible

On Tuesday 11th December 2012 the Samba team announced the release of Samba 4.0 containing the first compatible Free Software implementation of Microsoft’s Active Directory protocols. This is great news as it is sure to be the beginnings of bridging the gap between the Open Source world and the Microsoft World. Containing an admirable quote from Director of Development at Microsoft; Thomas Pfenning this could be a remarkable start to further development in other areas. Sirius has implemented Samba for many of their projects and long term clients, including Specsavers. The most recent was the introduction of Open Source in the backend infrastructure at Ysgol Maesydderwen School in Wales, but this was with Active Directory in place. If Sirius had Samba 4.0 at the time, it would have been possible to replace Active Directory too. Sirius has always used Samba for complete OSS infrastructure environments and in the past Samba only did the old style Windows NT type of domains. However now that it is Active Directory compatible, a lot more can be done. Looking at the amount of Active Directory used in Government, Education and the Private Sector, this Active Directory compatible Samba will no doubt have a major impact in accelerating uptake to OSS as well as improving interoperability with the Microsoft World.

The press release follows

The First Free Software Active Directory Compatible Server
As the culmination of ten years' work, the Samba Team has created the first
compatible Free Software implementation of Microsoft’s Active Directory protocols.
Familiar to all network administrators, the Active Directory protocols are the
heart of modern directory service implementations. Samba 4.0 comprises an LDAP
directory server, Heimdal Kerberos authentication server, a secure Dynamic DNS
server, and implementations of all necessary remote procedure calls for Active
Directory. Samba 4.0 provides everything needed to serve as an Active Directory
Compatible Domain Controller for all versions of Microsoft Windows clients
currently supported by Microsoft, including the recently released Windows 8. The
Samba 4.0 Active Directory Compatible Server provides support for features such as
Group Policy, Roaming Profiles, Windows Administration tools and integrates with
Microsoft Exchange and Free Software compatible services such as OpenChange. The
Samba 4.0 Active Directory Compatible Server can also be joined to an existing
Microsoft Active Directory domain, and Microsoft Active Directory Domain
Controllers can be joined to a Samba 4.0 Active Directory Compatible Server,
showing true peer-to-peer interoperability of the Microsoft and Samba
implementations of the Active Directory protocols. Acknowledging the value of the
interoperability of the Samba 4.0 Active Directory Compatible Server, Steve van
Maanen, the co-founder of Starsphere LLC, an IT services company in Tokyo, said:
"Thanks to Samba4, I have two fully replicating Active Directory Domain controllers
that boot in under 10 seconds ! It is nice to have alternatives, and Samba4 is a
great one." Upgrade scripts are also provided for organizations using the previous
Microsoft Windows NT Domain Controller functionality in Samba 3.x, to allow them to
migrate smoothly to Samba 4.0. Suitable for low-power and embedded applications,
yet scaling to large clusters, Samba 4.0 is efficient and flexible. Its Python
programming interface and administration toolkit help in enterprise deployments.

Created Using Microsoft Documentation
The Samba 4.0 Active Directory Compatible Server was created with help from the
official protocol documentation published by Microsoft Corporation and the Samba
Team would like acknowledge the documentation help and interoperability testing by
Microsoft engineers that made our implementation interoperable. "Active Directory
is a mainstay of enterprise IT environments, and Microsoft is committed to support
for interoperability across platforms," said Thomas Pfenning, director of
development, Windows Server. "We are pleased that the documentation and
interoperability labs that Microsoft has provided have been key in the development
of the Samba 4.0 Active Directory functionality."

Introducing SMB2.1 File Serving Support
Samba 4.0 includes the first Free Software implementation of Microsoft's SMB2.1
file serving protocol. Building on the success of the SMB2.0 server in Samba 3.6,
the Samba 4.0 file server component is an evolution of the trusted Samba file
serving code that is used worldwide by vendors of file servers, such as IBM's
clustered Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS), and many other commercial
products. In addition, the Samba 4.0 file server contains an initial implementation
of SMB3, which will be further developed in later Samba 4 releases into a
fully-featured SMB3 clustered file server implementation. Future developments of
our SMB3 server and client suite, in combination with our expanding number of SMB3
tests, will keep driving the performance improvements and improved compatibility
with Microsoft Windows that Samba users have come to expect from our software.

Integrated Clustered File Server Support
Building on our success as the first commercial implementation of a clustered
SMB/CIFS server, Samba 4.0 provides industry-leading scalability and performance as
a clustered SMB2/SMB/CIFS file server, using our "clustered tdb" (ctdb) technology
- also available as Free Software. Clustered Samba provides a "Single Server" view
of clustered file storage, allowing clients to connect to the least loaded server
and still providing a completely coherent view of the underlying clustered file
system. Written and tested to be compatible with most clustered file systems, both
Free Software and proprietary, Samba 4.0 with ctdb provides a scalable clustered
file server solution with full Windows file sharing semantics. Samba and ctdb have
been shipping in production file serving products for many years, to some of the
most demanding customers in the world.

Easy Integration into Existing Directory Services
Samba 4.0 ships with an improved winbind, which allows Samba 4.0 file servers to
easily integrate into existing Active Directory services as member servers. Both
Microsoft Active Directory and Samba 4.0 Active Directory Compatible servers are

Stability, Security and Performance
Samba 4.0 has been tested using our widely accepted smbtorture test suite, created
by the Samba Team to test Samba itself and now used by most of the companies
writing SMB3/SMB2/SMB/CIFS file server software to test their own products. We also
regularly test interoperability with other major vendors at plug-fest events to
make sure Samba 4.0 deployments work correctly with existing customer equipment. In
addition, Samba is one of eleven open source projects that leading software
integrity vendor Coverity has certified as "secure" and has reached Coverity
"Integrity Rung 2" certification. The Samba Team provides immediate responses to
any security vulnerabilities, and provides fixes to all vendors using the Samba
code in coordination with industry standard security reporting agencies.

A Modular Toolbox for OEM Vendor Needs
As Free Software, Samba 4.0 is the ideal choice for Original Equipment
Manufacturers (OEMs) to use for their file, print and authentication products. It
is easily integrated into a whole host of different tasks, and can be customized at
will by the vendor to satisfy their needs. In addition, Samba 4.0 includes a
modular "Virtual File System" (VFS) interface that vendors can use to quickly and
efficiently customize Samba to take advantage of any specific features of their
underlying technology without having to modify any of the core Samba code. From
advanced file systems to network traffic analysis, the Samba VFS layer allows
external code to be easily integrated with Samba. Example modules are provided as
source code for vendors to customize as they wish.

Samba is the leading choice for Microsoft Windows connectivity
Samba is the leading technology choice for Windows file serving on Linux and UNIX
platforms and in embedded Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions. Samba is used
by vendors selling NAS solutions ranging from high end clustered business-critical
systems, to low end consumer devices, and everything in between. Samba is fully
IPv6 enabled and meets all mandates for modern network interoperability. Commercial
support is available for Samba from many different vendors.

Getting Samba 4.0
Samba 4.0 source code is available now from the Samba Web site.

About Active Directory
Microsoft Windows and Active Directory are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

About the Samba Team
The Samba Team is a worldwide group of computer professionals working together via
the Internet to produce the highest quality Free Software Windows
(SMB3/SMB2/SMB/CIFS) server and client software. We are the undisputed experts in
providing interoperability with computers running Microsoft Windows. Members of the
Samba Team work for many of the largest companies in the software Industry and even
helped Microsoft produce the protocol documentation that fully specifies the
SMB/CIFS protocol.