Challenges of File Sharing
When setting up file services, there are a number of issues to consider. The obvious ones
are what types of clients will be accessing your file server, what protocols they will be using,
and what access levels they will need.
At first glance, these questions might seem relatively easy to answer, but the true require-
ments can get very complex. For example, a network share point might require access by
Windows and Mac users, using their native protocols, where both platforms might be
reading and writing to the same files at the same time. In other cases, you might need a
complex workflow to be supported, such as in a print production environment, where the
traditional UNIX permissions model is not sufficient to support the workflow. In other
cases, you might have a large number of users and the challenge is managing their appro-
priate access over a period of time, as user and departmental needs change.
Historically, Mac OS X Server supported multiple platforms, but the experience may
not have been optimal. Whereas Mac OS X Server implemented the UNIX permissions
model, Windows NT servers and later implemented a much different permissions model
based on ACLs. Accessing a server from a nonnative client, such as a Windows XP client
accessing a Mac OS X v10.3 server, might have led to a confusing interpretation of the per-
missions available to that user, because the Windows client would have expected the more
granular permissions model. Mac OS X Server v10.4 addressed this issue and others by
supporting new features, such as ACLs, at both the file-system and service levels.
The challenge also lies in the setup of the share points themselves. Careless layout
of share points results in a more complex permissions matrix than necessary.
Different Protocols for Different Clients
Mac OS X Server includes a number of ways to share files. The method you select depends
largely on the clients you expect to serve (although security is another factor to consider).
Mac OS X Server provides the following file-sharing services:
Apple Filing Protocol (AFP): This protocol is useful mainly for sharing files with
Macintosh clients, both older Mac OS 9 clients and the latest Mac OS X clients.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP): This file-sharing protocol is lightweight in the sense that
it is simple and does not have all the features available in the other file-sharing services
in Mac OS X. FTP allows you to transfer files back and forth between client and server,
238 Using File Services