Jesse Huestis on 29 Nov 2004 19:14:03 -0000

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Re: [PLUG] Dumb idea?

With Samba 3.X there are ways to pull all of the security information in, but you have to have the Samba server join the Active Directory tree.  The new server would not have the same name and the same security structure.  MS developed a poor tool which allowed earlier netware servers to be migrated keeping the same name and file structure and security.  It worked ok, often with problems.

The approach I am taking is to create a new server either part of an existing Active Dir tree, or stand alone and redo security.

     1) Capture the security information (Users, Groups, file and dir rights). 
                Tools like Bindview are worth a look.
         1a) Reveiw current rights with customer (They are often amazed at who has rights to what)
    2) Import users and groups
    3) Setup update rights and change login scripts.

You keep the existing server in place so pointer can be put back.


W. Chris Shank wrote:
Ok here is my idea, I'd like to know if you think it's off the wall or what.

Let me start by giving a little perspective. As a provider of Linux focused IT services for Small & Medium businesses we ALWAYS have to deal with the issues surrounding server migrations from Windows to Linux since we don't do windows (servers). Most companies that have really old servers usually expect to have to purchase new HW so the migrations aren't that hard a sell (they'd need to move it anyway). However, for companies with newer servers running Windows 2000 or even 2003 this can be a significant barrier to selling them on linux. We have plenty of work arounds like putting in an additional HDD - but the best option is usually to have a separate server. We always want to do a migration that keeps the old server in tact - in case we have a problem and need to revert them back.

Also Microsoft has an "in-place" migration tool that can transform a win2000 server to a win2003 server. From the cusomter's POV I think they see the MS option as less risky (even though it probably isn't). So, for a very long time I've been thinking about how to transform an existing server into a linux server yet have it keep all their data and shares and user/group information and be able to revert back if it doesn't work.

I thought about a bunch of different ways of trying to do this- most of them impractical- like running a program that would transfer all the windows data to another computer or having a portable PC that "sucked" the info from the windows server via the network. Alll these ideas involved a separate machine or highly intrusive hardware addition.

Then it just occurred to me today that a specialized Knoppix might actually do the trick. Here is the basics of how it would have to work. Upon booting it would recognize that Windows 200x server was installed and mount the disk(s). It would need to run something (wine app?) that could ready system configuration from the windows system - like user accounts & groups, shares, printers, and mapped drives. It would then make unix & samba user/groups accounts for each it found. It would modify smb.conf with the windows setting including creating shares that point to the real data (NTFS read/write works - but I'm not sure how well). It would need to create a file on the windows partition that kept any unix specific info that should be saved between boots. Everything else would need to be written directly into the Windows system, including new users/group, shares, printers, etc. Theoretically, you should be able to boot back into windows and have all the new stuff from linux carry through. I don't think there are any distros with this goal in mind - but if there are please point me to it.

What do you think? Pie in the sky or do-able?


W. Chris Shank
ACE Technology Group, LLC
866.229.1543 x10