Integrating Linux in a Windows Enterprise Environment

This course shows you how to use Samba and other interoperability tools to integrate Linux systems into an existing Windows-based network.
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Nov 3, 2014
Duration
4h 18m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Nov 3, 2014
Duration
4h 18m
Description

The course begins by discussing the issues facing those who wish to introduce Linux systems into an existing enterprise environment based on Windows. From there we'll see how to install and use the Samba suite of programs to provide basic file sharing and print services to Windows clients. We'll see how to store user accounts on a stand-alone Samba file server, and how to implement access controls. Then, we'll examine how to integrate a Samba server into a Windows domain as a domain member server, and (as our pièce de résistance) how to install and configure Samba so that Linux can act as an Active Directory domain controller. The final modules cover the use of remote login and remote desktop access tools to access Linux machines from Windows clients (and vice versa), open source equivalents of proprietary applications, and the use of Windows emulation and virtualization to run legacy Windows applications on Linux systems.

About the author
About the author

Dr. Chris Brown has been using UNIX as a software developer and system administrator since its pioneering days over 30 years ago, and has used Linux professionally and at home for about 10 years.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction
Welcome to Pluralsight, and welcome to this course on Integrating Linux into a Windows Enterprise Environment. I'm Dr. Chris Brown. I want to begin this introductory lesson by telling you a story. Once upon a time, there was a company called Pluraltaste. They were a gourmet catering company. Like most companies, it had an extensive IT infrastructure, both servers and desktop machines, and all of these machines were running some version of Windows. One night, when all the employees were fast asleep, a flock of rather determined penguins showed up, each penguin representing a different Linux distribution. Quietly, they replaced all those Windows servers with open source alternatives. When the employees of Pluraltaste came into work in the morning, they found themselves in a pure Linux environment. And they all lived happily ever after. Fairy story? Well, yes. Such transformations do happen, but they certainly don't happen overnight. But many organizations are introducing Linux into the mix, slowly, usually initially on the servers, but also increasingly onto desktops. Now these organizations need to face a number of interoperability issues, file sharing, printer sharing, authentication over the network, remote access tools, compatibility tools, and open source equivalents, and these are the key topics that we'll be addressing throughout this course. Let's start with file sharing. I'm going to tell you another story, and this one's true. Some years ago, I delivered Linux training to Bloomberg, the financial information services company in London, and they had a number of servers that didn't meet the minimum hardware requirements for the latest version of Windows Server, and they were planning quite literally to throw them away, until someone came up with the idea of putting Linux onto them and installing Samba and using them as file servers, which they did. Now this is a relatively easy way for Linux to get a foothold in a corporate environment, because since Samba is speaking the native Windows file sharing protocols, the Windows desktop machines barely notice a difference, and certainly no user retraining is required. Similarly, we might have a printer hosted by a Linux server, which we want to print to from our Windows clients. Although increasingly, since many printers have a direct presence on the network, the concept of sharing printers across operating systems is becoming less relevant. If you're introducing Linux desktops into a Windows environment, you'll want to know how to attach a Windows-hosted file system into your Linux machine's file system. Here, Windows is the server and Linux is the client. Now, Pluraltaste is a decent sized company, it has a couple of thousand employees, and prior to the arrival of Linux, all of these people had accounts in a Windows Active Directory, and all their Windows machines used this for authentication. Now we'd like to keep those accounts and ideally enter a single sign-on world where both Linux and Windows can establish and identity that's valid right across this heterogenous network. It was a good few years before this became possible, and it became a sort of Holy Grail of integration. Now James has the job of administering some Linux servers. Here's James. He is sitting at a Windows machine on his desktop. To access the servers, he needs command-line access tools and possibly desktop access tools as well. Now although there are open source equivalents to many proprietary Windows-based applications, there are likely to be some key applications for which there is no acceptable substitute. Here's another story that I was involved with when Novell took the decision to move entirely to Linux, they instigated a sort of triage, employees would vote the applications that were most critical to them, and by counting up the votes, the company decided how to prioritize its efforts in replacing or porting those applications. I remember that the finance people were especially worried, they were firmly wetted to some key proprietary applications. In these circumstances, the ability to run Windows applications on a Linux operating system can be part of the solution. Likewise, the ability to run open source applications on Windows can also be part of a migration strategy. Now, migrating to an open source infrastructure may, at least initially, not involve migrating from Windows to Linux, it may just be a question of replacing proprietary software with open source equivalents. For example, we might replace Microsoft Office with LibreOffice, we might replace tools like Windows Photo Gallery with Shotwell or Adobe Photoshop with the GIMP. Getting hard information on the extent of Linux deployments and the extent of market penetration can be difficult because a single download of Linux can result in hundreds of installations. There are sponsored surveys, but they often give skewed results because they're commissioned to come to a specific conclusion. But there are some significant companies, which makes substantial use of Linux, people like Amazon, Google, McDonalds, Pixar, Dreamworks, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Disney, Seamans, and Mercedes Benz. Famously, the city of Munich migrated 14, 000 desktops to Linux, it took them about 10 years. The International Space Station, which has suffered repeated virus infections of their Windows XP machines, decided to migrate to Debian Linux in 2013. And there are a number of countries, like Brazil for example, that are enthusiastic adopters of Linux within government. Trying to be objective, a report from the Linux Foundation in 2013 reported that 80% of people were planning increased investment in Linux over 5 years compared with 20% for Windows. About 40% are migrating Windows servers to Linux. So Linux adoption is not a fairy story. Here's a quick outline of the course. At lesson 1, this Introduction, this is it. In lesson 2 we'll install Samba and we'll use it to create a simple, standalone file server. In lesson 3 we'll look at file sharing in a bit more depth. And then things start to get more interesting in lesson 4 where we'll see how to make Samba operate as a member of a Windows domain. Then things get really interesting in lesson 5 where we'll use Samba 4 to turn our Linux box into an Active Directory domain controller. Lesson 6 looks at remote access tools such as SSH and VNC. And finally, we have a look at some other interoperability tools such as Wine in lesson 7. If you want to follow along with the demos, and I hope you will, you'll need to do a basic installation of CentOS, I was using CentOS 6. 5, but you could install onto bare metal or into a virtual machine. You will need an internet connection, because everything else will be downloaded from the repositories. If you want to demonstrate interoperability, you'll need some Windows desktop client or other, I'll be using Windows 7. Later in the course, we'll switch to a different version of Linux, and we'll also need a real Windows server to verify interoperability. So in the next lesson, we'll install Samba, we'll set ourselves up with a simple, standalone file server. I'll see you there.