Samba 4 review: No substitute for Active Directory -- yet

Samba's open source alternative to Microsoft's domain controller is a good start, but not ready for prime time

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The bottom line
Samba 4.0 is definitely a zero point release, meaning it still has some growing and maturing to do. It is a good first step in providing a completely open source solution that mirrors much of Microsoft's Active Directory core functionality. Although the Domain Controller in Samba 4.0 appears to be stable, the single-domain limitation currently restricts it to small deployments. An obvious use case would be in education and training, where Samba 4.0 would provide a good platform for teaching domain administration. But in the real world, most small workgroups for which the Samba Domain Controller is suited will choose to do without.

On the plus side, there are new Python-based programmability features in Samba 4.0 that could prove useful to anyone looking for a way to either expand or more fully utilize the Samba 4 server functionality. PowerShell provides another avenue to script actions against a Samba Domain Controller.

The bottom line: Samba 4.0 is definitely early code and not enterprise-ready yet. As it matures, it will present an interesting option to larger organizations that rely on multiple Active Directory domains. If the Samba team meets its goal of a 9-month release cycle, we can hope to see a more scalable and useful version by late summer or early fall.

This story, "Samba 4 review: No substitute for Active Directory -- yet," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in open source software, Windows, and data center at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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