[wellylug] Networking and network filesystems

Daniel Reurich daniel at centurion.net.nz
Tue Mar 8 22:41:54 NZDT 2011


On Tue, 2011-03-08 at 00:18 +0100, Andrew Tarr wrote:
> While I've had more than one computer at one time in my possession for
> quite some time now, I've really only been using one at once for
> reasons that are too boring to relate.  But now it looks like I'll be
> able to have several working, which raises the question about how to
> integrate them.

Depends on what you mean by "integrate them", and how far are you
willing to go.  Are you going to set up a permanent machine to act as a
server or just want peer to peer functionality?
> 
> Linux will be the primary operating system, but I do have a MacOS X
> machine (which I'll probably try to set up to dual boot with Linux,
> but MacOS X will need to access network filesystems etc).  Windows is
> a distant secondary consideration - I don't really use it, but you
> never know when you might end up with a windows machine on your
> network (visiting friends, software that must be used that only works
> on Windows, etc).

What do you mean by network filesystems?  Shared filesystem/home
directories or just peer to peer access with minimal/no authentication.
> 
> Until now, I've coped with DHCP (with my ADSL router thingy acting as
> the server) and SCP/rsync for the odd times when I've wanted to copy
> things between computers, but I don't want to do that forever. 

It's either your router doing it or you setup some sort of permanent
server to do that for you.

> The first question is about name resolution.  As the number of hosts
> will be quite small, /etc/hosts would probably work for the linux
> boxes, but maybe it's just worth setting up a DNS server?  That way,
> presumably there won't be any problems with other operating systems,
> especially as I can have DHCP set up an appropriate DNS entry. 
> 
Check to see if you router doesn't already provide this functionality.
If it doesn't then your needing to set up some form of dns service on a
server, and having that handle and forward/cache requests for your
network.  You'll also need to get your dhcp service (be that your adsl
router or a service you've set up) to tell the dhcp clients where to
find your new dns server.

> Also on the topic of name resolution, obviously if I use /etc/hosts I
> need static IPs.  Is it worth considering using static IPs if I use
> DNS, or is it just easier to use DHCP? The number of computers is
> small, so I don't mind fiddling around a bit to set-up whatever once -
> I'm probably more interested in what's got less on-going maintenance. 
> 
Static IP's are ok for servers but you'll still want dhcp/dns setup for
your portable clients and for guest access.

> Final thing related to name resolution - is it worth looking into
> setting up a cacheing DNS? 

Depends on what you want.  For 1 or 2 pc's you probably wouldn't notice
the difference, but if youv'e got a few more and mail servers etc it
would be well worth the time invested.

> The second question (or topic, really, as I've asked several questions
> already) is network file systems.  I suppose most things will talk
> CIFS these days, making Samba perhaps the best all-around bet for
> accommodating anything, but perhaps it's silly to use Samba when I
> don't have any Windows machines at all?  Maybe NFS would be more
> sensible.  I gather MacOS speaks NFS.  Are there any drawbacks with
> using Samba with unix machines? One issue might be unix filesystem
> permissions, I suppose, although I see Samba has some extensions that
> concern them.  Are there other network filesystems I should consider? 
> 
For windows Samba 3 does a fairly good job for clients up to Windows XP.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 are a little more fussy and may require more
tweaking of the server, and Windows 7 also needs a registry tweak to
atleast do domain authentication (not sure about whether this required
for peer to peer with Pre Vista desktops).  For Mac OSX, if your running
a server with samba you may like to install Netatalk to get better
performance, compatibility and codepage support, but it's not essential.

 
> The final topic is how to handle users and permissions across the
> network.  As it's just me, it seems to work so long as I set myself up
> as the first user with the same username everywhere, but perhaps I
> should consider something cleverer? One issue here might be restoring
> things from backups with the correct permissions. 
> 
Openldap and sounds way over the top for your scenario, but it is going
to provide the easiest path to centralized authentication.  Kerberos
might be a go.

> I can probably work out how to use any of these technologies, so I'm
> not looking for a HOWTO at this stage, I really want to get some idea
> about what people have found useful on a small,
> mostly-but-not-entirely homogenous network.  Happy to read any
> resources you recommend. 
> 
> -Andrew. 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 


-- 
Daniel Reurich.

Centurion Computer Technology (2005) Ltd
Mobile 021 797 722





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