by May 11, 2002 0 comments

In a heterogeneous network, comprising Windows and Unix (or Linux) client machines, there may be a Windows and a Unix server to serve the respective clients. Alternatively, packages like Samba can be set up on the Unix server to serve Windows clients. But can you set up a Windows server to serve Unix clients (as well as Windows) and do away with a dedicated Unix server?

MS Windows Services for Unix (SFU) adds on this capability to the Windows servers–NT, 2000 and the yet to be released Whistler. The services provided by this package range from file sharing, password and telnet to user mapping, password synchronization and a powerful Unix shell environment within Windows. 

The components of SFU 3.0 can make use of Windows clusters when deployed on a busy and performance-hungry networkThe file services are provided via the NFS (Network File System) protocol. Both NFS server and clients for Windows are provided. However, through the NFS Gateway component, a Windows user can access NFS exported shares without having the NFS client component installed. With user mapping and password synchronization, a network user can use a single (same) login name and password for Windows or Unix machine. 

A significant enhancement to version 3 as opposed to version 2 of SFU is the inclusion of Interix subsystem, which was earlier available separately. It provides Korn and C shell environments with all the popular Linux shell commands and utilities. It also includes libraries–C, C++, Perl, Fortran, tcl/tk–GNU compilers (gcc,g++) and interpreters (Perl). This gives rise to the possibility to port existing shell scripts like those for system administration and Unix applications to the Windows server. Also, using the libraries and compilers one can build a Unix application from scratch on Windows. 

The components of SFU 3.0 are cluster aware. That is, they can make use of Windows clusters when deployed on a busy and performance-hungry network. Other enhancements are related to component specific performance, encryption, IPv6 (the latest Internet Protocol) and language support.

A GUI Web-based front-end is provided to configure all the aspects of the package. SFU 3.0 is claimed to be tested with Solaris 6.7 and 2.7, HP-UX 10.2 and 11 and AIX 4.3.3. The only Linux distribution being tested with is RedHat Linux 7.0. The final release date of SFU 3.0 has not been declared as of writing this article, but it is scheduled to be released shortly. Get more information on the product at

Microsoft Windows Services for Unix 3.0 is being totally developed at the Microsoft’s India Development Center at Hyderabad. The development center is also working on Visual J# .Net (Java language for .Net platform), a Windows server component and a patch to Office XP. 

Shekhar Govindarajan at Hyderabad

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