Samba File Servers and Directory Services

Written by Vince Lujan on November 8, 2017

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Samba file servers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are appliances that are specialized for data storage and for serving files. Many organizations leverage Samba file servers and NAS devices to free up other servers from the responsibility of file storage and transfer.

Samba file servers can be critical to end user productivity. Yet, as the world continues to shift to the cloud and organizations drop their legacy directory solutions with SaaS-based alternatives, the question becomes how to connect Samba file servers to modern directory services.

On-prem Samba File Servers and NAS Appliances

Most organizations don’t spend a huge amount of time considering their file server and data storage solutions. The status quo is generally fine. These types of Samba and NAS appliances have traditionally been on-prem, and many organizations would prefer to keep it that way.

The on-prem approach to file servers and data storage can provide a number of advantages for organizations compared to their cloud hosted alternatives. The big benefit is greater storage capacity and quicker transfer of files. Another perceived advantage is increased security, since all critical data is stored within company walls.

Samba file servers and NAS appliances are relatively small and can usually operate effectively in heterogeneous system environments. They also have built-in security and access control with integration to the core directory service such as OpenLDAP and Active Directory®.

But what if you don’t have an existing directory? Or what if you are looking to replace your aging directory infrastructure with something that’s a better fit for your heterogeneous IT environment.

Other Options for File Servers and Data Storage

Cloud file servers and data storage solutions such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box can provide an ‘easy’ answer to file service and data storage. The challenge is these solutions often don’t meet expectations or aren’t the sole solution to the data storage problem for many organizations.

For example, cloud-based data storage and file servers can be challenging in situations where there are large file sizes that need to be moved around and manipulated. Cloud infrastructure solutions like AWS or GCP often charge per gigabyte, and the costs as such can certainly add up quickly.

Another challenge with cloud storage solutions is staying in compliance with regulatory requirements for long-term data storage. In this regard, cloud-based storage sometimes isn’t the right answer.

The bottom line is on-prem Samba and NAS solutions are cost-effective and easy to setup and integrate into the overall IT environment compared to cloud solutions. That’s really saying something in today’s “Everything-as-a-Service” market.

On-prem vs. Cloud File Servers and Data Storage

Most modern organizations are trying to shift away from on-prem solutions. But there are still major limitations to enterprise-grade online file storage.

On-prem NAS devices and Samba file servers have remained popular for these reasons. They often reduce long term costs and management overhead for a lot of IT organizations, which is certainly hard to ignore.

The right file server and data storage solution for you depends on the needs of your organization. But regardless of your choice, the good news is that keeping your files on-prem doesn’t mean that the authentication and access control over files and data needs to happen on-prem as well. This is where cloud directory services come in.

Samba File Servers and NAS Appliances with Directory-as-a-Service

A new generation of SaaS-based directory services is emerging and changing the identity management landscape. These modern IDaaS platforms are consolidating the user identity – granting admins the ability to grant or revoke user access to virtually any IT resources (including systems, cloud and on-prem servers, web and on-prem applications, wired and WiFi networks, and cloud and on-prem storage systems such as NAS devices and Samba file servers).

One particularly powerful example of this new generation of cloud directory services that can effectively manage these file server resources is called Directory-as-a-Service® from JumpCloud. Directory-as-a-Service seamlessly integrates with the vast majority of the IT resources that most modern organizations leverage on a day to day basis, including Samba file servers and NAS appliances.

Check out our LDAP Authentication to Samba File Servers and NAS Appliances whiteboard video to see how it works.

The advantage for organizations leveraging Directory-as-a-Service is that IT now has one centralized location to manage the breadth of their IT resources, both on-prem and in the cloud. Whereas previously they would require multiple solutions to manage siloed resources independently. Further, since Directory-as-a-Service lives in the cloud, users can access their resources regardless of the resource or user’s physical location.

Learn More about Samba File Servers and Directory Services

If you would like to learn more about how Samba file servers and directory services can integrate, drop us a note. We are happy to discuss how our platform can benefit your organization. You can also sign up for a Directory-as-a-Service account today and check out the full functionality of our product risk free. Your first ten users are free forever.

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