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Can I build a mac server in windows Client environment ?

3452 Views 31 Replies Latest reply: Jul 27, 2011 8:59 AM by Abdelaal EL-Hayawan RSS
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Abdelaal EL-Hayawan Calculating status...
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Jul 17, 2011 6:45 PM

I have Windows 2003 server and want to make a move, So, I prefer to move to Mac OS X Server than Windows 2008.

All the workstations are Windows 7 & XP.

So, can Mac OS X Server apply its polices to those kind of windows?

Roles: Active Directory, DNS, DHCP (IPv4).

Permissions: HDD is NTFS to have more security and to apply folder permissions for the users. I will have external network storage, so, I do not think this will be a factor affecting my issue.

 

So, I don't have lots of services which can be complicated.

 

So, Can I make the move to Mac OS X Server?

 

Thanks,

Boudy,

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Camelot Level 8 Level 8 (45,670 points)

    No - at least not as a drop-in replacement.

     

    Roles: Active Directory, DNS, DHCP (IPv4).

     

    For one, Mac OS X Server doesn't run as an Active Directory server so you can't authenticate your Windows clients against an Active Directory domain running on your Mac.

    Conversely, Windows 7 won't authenticate against the version of the Windows authentication system that Snow Leopard Server does use (SMB/PDC).

     

    DNS and DHCP aren't an issue, though

     

    Permissions: HDD is NTFS to have more security and to apply folder permissions for the users. I will have external network storage, so, I do not think this will be a factor affecting my issue.

     

    You can't run Mac OS X Server off an NTFS volume, so forget that right now.

    In addition, NTFS support is generally limited to read-only, so it's not practical even as a back-end shared storage medium. Of course, if your external storage device is where you're serving your content from then the underlying disk format is irrelevant anyway. If your storage is being served by Mac OS X then it doesn't matter to the clients what the disk format is since the permissions are implemented in software (e.g. SMB/AFP/NFS) rather than at the OS level (in other words you can have an HFS+ disk atached to a Mac being served to a Windows machine via SMB and you'd still be able to maintain the permissions, even though that Windows machine has no idea what HFS+ is).

  • Antonio Rocco Level 6 Level 6 (10,095 points)

    Hi

     

    ". . . it will work as File Sharing?"

     

    Actually no. You'll need 3rd-Party help if you want write capability. As Camelot has already said: NTFS Volumes are read only from the Mac platform. If these 'external storages' are NAS drives with their own embedded OS you'll may struggle and have mixed results if you try and re-share them using OSX Server.

     

    You're also going to need 3rd-Party help with your Windows7 workstations for the reasons Camelot has said. Even then your mileage may vary. The situation may change with the forthcoming Lion? It's rumoured Apple have replaced Samba with their own proprietary Windows Protocol. However no-one really knows until it's released, installed and tested.

     

    HTH?

     

    Tony

  • Antonio Rocco Level 6 Level 6 (10,095 points)

    Boudy

     

    There's no problem as far as I'm concerned. I'm only trying to help as are all of us here. I responded because it seemed to me it was not exactly clear what you meant by external storage and File Sharing and how OSX Server was related to this?

     

    HTH?

     

    Tony

  • Antonio Rocco Level 6 Level 6 (10,095 points)

    Boudy

     

    ". . . clients that are using windows 7 or XP will be free from any domain, and then join the new domain."

     

    Slightly at odds because which one is it? Are clients not joining any domain or are they joining the Domain you create on OSX Server? Besides you can't join Windows7 to OSX Server in a Domain Controller Role as Camelot has already pointed out

     

    "Does Mac OS X Server apply its polices to windows 7 or XP?"

     

    No.

     

    "is there any special required configuration to do this?"

     

    Yes but not with what OSX Server provides in its Interface.

     

    "i want to change the active directory with Mac OS X Server Open Directory"

     

    With all your clients being Windows PCs you are going to have potentially some issues. OSX Server is not Windows 2003 or 2008 Server. Open Directory is not Active Directory. They share some superficial similarities but only in the sense they are both Server Products and are both based around OpenSource OpenLDAP.

     

    Apart from a desire to change I'm struggling to see why you would want OSX Server for your needs and environment?

     

    My 2p and HTH?

     

    Tony

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)

    Abdelaal EL-Hayawan wrote:

     

    I have Windows 2003 server and want to make a move, So, I prefer to move to Mac OS X Server than Windows 2008.

    All the workstations are Windows 7 & XP.

    So, can Mac OS X Server apply its polices to those kind of windows?

    Roles: Active Directory, DNS, DHCP (IPv4).

    Permissions: HDD is NTFS to have more security and to apply folder permissions for the users. I will have external network storage, so, I do not think this will be a factor affecting my issue.

     

    So, I don't have lots of services which can be complicated.


     

    Currently it is not possible to get Windows 7 (or later) clients to fully join a Mac OS X Server, you can do various tweaks to get part way down this route, XP clients would not be a problem. However if all your looking for is accessing a (Mac OS X) file server as a file server then this is not necessary.

     

    However not joining the clients to the server means that while they can do simple file server access, they cannot use Roaming User Profiles. For simple file server access you just need to make sure the same user name is defined on the Mac OS X Server as you create locally on the Windows client.

     

    The Mac OS X Server can happly be used as the DNS and DHCP IPv4 server. It can even do custom DHCP option codes for things like VoIP systems.

     

    With regards to moving your current NTFS formatted drive. If this is directly connected to a Windows client then this has nothing to do with the server. If it is connected to your current Windows server, then while it is possible to plug it in to the Mac server and it is possible to use one of at least three available utilities to add NTFS write (as well as read) capabilities to the Mac Server, it is not the way you should go. You should instead copy the contents to a Mac HFS+ formatted disk. A HFS+ formatted disk supports the same type of permission capabilities as NTFS which are called ACLs (Access Control Lists). The fact it is formatted as HFS+ will not affected the Windows clients at all as they would be accessing it over the network and using SMB/CIFS to talk to it via the server.

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)

    Mac OS X 10.6 Server is using an older version of Samba which only supports the old Windows NT Domain style system and not Active Directory. The reason Apple stuck with such an old version of Samba is that the new versions of Samba now use GPL3 licensing which Apple found to be in conflict with their operation as a business.

     

    For Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Apple have written their own replacement for Samba. At this point we (or at least I) don't know for certain how well this will act with Windows 7 clients.

     

    However as I mentioned some tweaks have been found to help at least partially in supporting Windows 7 clients with Mac OS X 10.6 Server. See this thread https://discussions.apple.com/message/10413980#10413980 I suggest you carefully read it all.

     

    My suspicion is that this will still not let you use Open Directory to manage Windows clients in the same way that a Windows server (via Group Policies) could. It should however hopefully let you use Roaming Profiles.

     

    What do you mean by external network storage server? This sounds like a NAS box. The ones I have seen e.g. a ReadyNAS cannot link to Open Directory and as such you would have to separately define a list of users in the NAS box which makes managing the permissions much harder and less powerful. It would be possible to use a SAN system with Mac OS X Server. What make and model is it? Some can connect to Active Directory but as I mentioned I have not seen any which connect to Open Directory, this is not because it could not be done, but merely because they have not bothered to add that ability.

     

    A VoIP desk phone needs to know how to contact the VoIP controller. This information is normally provided by DHCP option codes. The DHCP server will not be the VoIP controller it will merely advertise how to reach the real VoIP controller, e.g. a Cisco CallManager.

     

    A HFS+ formatted disk can be read by Windows if you install a suitable utility. However as I previously mentioned, the clients would only be accessing the files via a file server and they would never be directly talking to the hard disk and never need to know what format the actual disk is. For example nearly all NAS boxes use a Linux operating system and have the disks formatted in either Ext3 or Ext4 format which are typically only used on Linux systems. A Mac or Windows client would not know how to handle Ext3 or Ext4 format disks but it does not need to because it will speak either AFP or SMB to the server which itself handles the access to the disks.

     

    All the client does is in your case use SMB commands to ask the server to copy a file, or delete a file, or rename a file, etc.

     

    If you were using the Mac OS X Server as the file server, you would use its utilities i.e. Server Admin to share a particular folder, and to assign ACLs to that folder and to folders and files within it.

     

    A HFS+ formatted disk locally connected to a Mac could be used as a Time Machine backup disk. Time Machine is Mac only so will not help your Windows clients. It is also possible to share a disk to Mac clients over a network in a way that will also support Time Machine backups but again this is for only Mac clients. While NAS boxes do not support linking to Open Directory many do support acting as a network Time Machine backup drive including the ReadyNAS range made by NetGear.

     

    You might be able to have a Mac OS X Server connect to a NAS box via NFS and then 'reshare' it via SMB to the Windows clients. This would then allow the Mac server to set and control the ACLs.The Windows clients would be talking to the Mac server and not to directly to the NAS. If one was starting from scratch a simpler approach would be not to use a NAS (since it does not support Open Directory) but to get an external drive enclosure with built-in RAID which connects to the Mac server either via FireWire 800 or eSATA or FibreChannel. For example see this product range http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_category.aspx?region=en-global&m=192&rsn=40& statistic=Mac. These type of products are not called NAS (Network Attached Storage) nor are they called SAN (Sorage Area Network), but instead are DAS - Direct Attached Storage. That is directly attached to the server (not to the clients). They can be equally attached to a Windows box and formatted as NTFS but only attached to a single host (server).

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)

    Abdelaal EL-Hayawan wrote:

     

    Hello Again John,

    Thank you very much for your great helpful information.

    Now, we have to wait until the fall of Lion.

     

    The External Network Storage Server I was talking about is Lacie,

    http://www.lacie.com/intl/products/product.htm?id=10477

    So, If Mac Server, this device will not work, right?

     

    It is compatible with Active Directory not Open Directory. But what I know that Windows or Mac are using the same Protocol LDAP which make the possibility of Mac users to access a Domain Controller in Windows Server environment. Thats why I expect the vise versa.

    While Active Directory (Windows), Open Directory (Mac) and OpenLDAP (Linux) all use LDAP, they add other things as well. Yes it is possible to link systems via plain ordinary LDAP to Open Directory (I have done this myself) to get basic authentication, but for what you want that would not be adequate.

     

    For your information, the Time Machine capability of the Lacie product is because it is also acting as a self-contained AFP (Apple Filesharing Protocol) server with network Time Machine backup support. The product spec sheet does not mention NFS support, only SMB and AFP (ftp and http do not count).

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)

    Abdelaal EL-Hayawan wrote:

     

    Dear John,

     

    I have another Question please,

    Which kind of formatted disk that can be used on Mac or Windows so I can read and write?

    Of course except Fat & NTFS.

    Please find this image,

    https://files.me.com/boudy83/86gohi

     

    Thanks,

    • FAT32 - Both Mac and Windows can read and write as standard however FAT32 has limitations in terms of a maximum 4GB file size and does not support the advanced security controls of NTFS
    • NTFS - Mac can read as standard but cannot write as standard, to do so requires installing a third party utility.
    • HFS+ - Windows cannot read or write as standard, to do so requires installing a third party utility.
    • Ext3 - Neither Mac or Windows can read or write as standard, to do so requires installing a third party utility. This format is mainly used by Linux.
    • Ext4 - Neither Mac or Windows can read or write as standard, to do so requires installing a third party utility. This format is mainly used by Linux.
    • ExFAT - Mac and Windows 7 can read and write as standard. However this format is intended just for use by memory cards for high-end cameras. It is not intended for normal hard disk use. Mac and Windows support it to allow importing photos from memory cards.

     

     

    By the way MS-DOS (FAT) in Disk Utility means FAT32. Windows NT Filesystem means NTFS. Mac OS Extended means HFS+.

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