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Bell Labs: Providing Reliable NT Desktop Services by Avoiding NT Server

Jul 11, 2000, 21:15 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Robert Fulmer, Thomas Reingold, Alex Levine, Ralph Loura)

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"We have developed a reliable, stable NT Desktop environment for our customers. ... We founded our architecture by selecting open, standard protocols rather than specific applications. This decoupled our client application selection process from our server platform selection process. We could then choose the server based on our needs for reliability, scalability, and manageability and let customers independently choose their clients based on their needs of platform (NT or UNIX), features, and preferences. ... Our customers are happy because the "tail" doesn't "wag the dog". Our ability to manage this infrastructure is superior because the dog doesn't wag the tail either. The resulting system gives us a strong base to build new services."

"In this paper we hope to refute several myths: (1) It is impossible to provide reliable NT Desktop services. (2) It is impossible to integrate NT and Unix into one coherent environment. (3) Adding NT desktops means getting rid of all UNIX back-end servers. We prove these by demonstration."

"For small-scale NT file service, NT Server is appropriate. A UNIX Server is appropriate for small-scale NFS service. If the data must be accessed by both, a UNIX server running SAMBA [SAMBA] or Syntax TotalNET [TAS] is fine. We have multiple terabytes of data and it almost always needs to be accessed from both kinds of clients. ... For medium-scale file service with CIFS and NFS we choose Network Appliance Filer (referred to as the NetApp Filer) [Hitz1] dedicated file servers. A typical user has a directory on a NetApp Filer that is exported via NFS for access from UNIX and as a "share" available to NT systems."

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