Many people use Linux every day in their homes and offices without ever realizing it. That's because they're using NAS (network-attached storage) devices like the D-Link DNS-323, and almost these drives run Linux and Samba. Now, HP has partnered with Likewise to bring plug-and-play Linux file servers to mid-size and enterprise businesses.
These HP StorageWork servers will use Likewise-CIFS, a high-performance, commercially supported, Windows-compatible file server, and Likewise Identity Service. Likewise-CIFS started as a commercially supported Samba but is now a CIFS (Common Internet File System) server in its own right. Likewise Identity Service is an Active Directory bridge technology providing authentication of non-Windows systems to Microsoft's Active Directory.
An AD bridge, according to Jerry Carter, Likewise's Director of Engineering, is a "technology that allows non-Windows systems to authenticate user credentials against Microsoft Active Directory. The Likewise CIFS stack includes the Likewise Identity Service component that allows OS logon and client authentication using Kerberos or NTLM (NT LAN Manager) authentication with an Active Directory domain."
Carter also added that unlike Samba, Likewise-CIFS offers SMB2 protocol support. This is a file transfer protocol that's meant to be more under Microsoft's control and, in theory, provide better network file adding copy, moving, and deleting speeds. On clients, it's available in Windows 7 and Vista. The Samba Group is working on SMB2 support, but it's only in the experimental stage in the most recent edition, Samba 3.5.0.
That said, any client running almost any operating system can access files on HP StorageWork servers. In a statement, Lee Johns, director of marketing for HP's Unified Storage Division, said, "Clients with demanding workloads need to rapidly execute file transfers, while ensuring only authorized access to data. The performance and scalability of the HP StorageWorks offerings coupled with Likewise's technology gives clients storage solutions that can grow with their business and provide multiprotocol access to data."