Manage Samba File Servers with a Cloud Directory

Written by Vince Lujan on April 11, 2018

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The IT storage landscape has changed a great deal in the last decade. It used to be that files were stored on-prem in Microsoft® Windows® File Servers for most small to medium sized organizations. Today, that is no longer the case. As a result, a challenge that has arisen is figuring out how to control access to modern file storage systems. In this blog, we’ll discuss the capability to manage Samba File Server authentication with a cloud directory, but let’s begin by describing how IT organizations have historically managed file storage.

Windows-Based File Storage

samba file server authentication

As previously noted, IT organizations have historically leveraged Windows File Servers to store their files somewhere on-prem. This approach was especially common around the turn of the century, at a time when most IT networks were on-prem and generally revolved around the Windows operating system. The dominance of Windows meant that IT admins could leverage a single directory services platform, called Microsoft Active Directory® (AD), to effectively manage their entire IT environment – including access to Windows File Servers. In other words, IT admins could leverage AD to provision access to Windows-based file shares bound to the on-prem network, and provisioned users could gain access to their files by entering their AD user credentials.

This system worked well for many years. However, things started to change when alternative on-prem storage solutions like Samba File Servers and NAS devices were introduced into the enterprise. Then came cloud storage alternatives like Dropbox® and Google Drive. Solutions such as these were often far more cost effective because of the way that Windows Server is licensed – on a per user basis with CALs. As a result, many IT organizations now often prefer non-Windows alternatives for data storage.

There are many different modern options for file servers, both on-prem and in the cloud. Interestingly, however, there are also challenges for many IT organizations with a cloud delivered storage service, including bandwidth and compliance issues to name a couple. As a result, many IT admins end up settling on the open source Samba File Server capabilities. This approach ends up providing IT with the ability to host their storage solutions internally, but at a fraction of the cost compared to Windows File Servers.

The challenge now though is that many IT organizations are trying to eliminate their on-prem identity management infrastructure in favor of cloud directory services alternatives. The question is, how do IT admins control access to modern file storage systems without an on-prem directory services platform? Easy – manage Samba File Server authentication with a cloud directory.

Cloud Directory Feature: Samba File Server Authentication

LDAP authentication Samba file server NAS appliances

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® is a next generation cloud directory that not only features Samba File Server authentication capabilities, but also securely manages and connects users to their systems, applications, files, and networks – regardless of their location, protocol, platform, or provider. In other words, JumpCloud admins and users can leverage the same identity they use for Samba File Server authentication to gain access to their Windows, Mac®, and Linux® systems, on-prem and cloud applications like JIRA and OpenVPN or G Suite™ and Office 365™, wired and wireless networks via RADIUS, and virtually any IT resource that connects to the internet. In essence, when it comes to managing IT resources, JumpCloud admins can leverage One Directory to Rule Them All®.

Manage Samba File Server Authentication with a Cloud Directory

Check out our whiteboard presentation to learn how the JumpCloud platform authenticates user access to Samba file servers. Contact the JumpCloud team or schedule a demo to answer any questions, or discover additional use cases. You can also sign up for a free account and manage Samba File Server authentication with a cloud directory today. We even offer ten free users to help you explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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