File & Print Servers

File and printer sharing is a fairly straightforward issue. Most people mean “sharing with Windows” when they talk about this. For that we can use Windows Server itself, or run a Samba server on Unix.

Microsoft Windows Server:

Available in numerous versions. We recommend their Small Business Server 2003 (Microsoft Windows Server) products (Standard or Premium depending on your needs). It ranges in price from $600 USD to $1,500 USD.

Samba Server:

To quote from the site

“Samba is an Open Source/Free Software suite that provides seamless file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients... it allows [that] host to interact with a Microsoft Windows client or server as if it is a Windows file and print server.”

Newer releases of Samba can function as domain controllers, and offer an excellent value alternative for basic file and print sharing.

Alternative Protocols:

Network File System (NFS) is a primary file sharing protocol for Unix/Linux, and printer sharing is commonly accomplished using LPD, LPRNG, or CUPS/IPP. Many of these can be incorporated into a Windows network via Microsoft's no-cost Services for Unix software.