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Window Servers in an Open Directory Infrastructure

The easiest way to support Windows servers in a Mac OS X environment is to use the same approach that you'd use with Windows workstations. Configure your Open Directory Master (the primary Open Directory server for your network) to host a Windows domain. You can do this while running the Open Directory Setup Assistant when first setting up the server, or at any later point by using the Windows Services panel of Server Admin. Simply select Primary Domain Controller as the Windows Server Role (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2 Using Server Admin to configure an Open Directory Master to host a Windows domain.

Member servers can be added to a Windows domain hosted by the Mac server. Mac users will be able to browse Windows resources as SMB share points and print queues on the network and will be able to access them using their Open Directory user accounts. Windows users, who will be seeing the domain as any other Windows NT-style domain, will be able to browse any resources on the Mac side—provided that they're shared via SMB—and will be able to browse any Windows server resources in much the same way.

This approach works well for file and print services and can work well with a number of other services. However, some Windows server products, such as recent versions of Exchange Server, cannot interface properly with pre–Active Directory Windows Server versions. Those services won't be able to function on a network integrated in this manner and would be a reason for which, even if you have more Macs or Mac servers, you might want to make Windows 2000/2003 Server and Active Directory your dominant platform.

As I mentioned earlier, you won't be able to configure GPOs for the domain, but you can gain some measure of control over the Windows user environment by using login scripts and home directory options, and by defining network profiles. All of these features can be configured by using the Windows tab for a user's account in Workgroup Manager (see Figure 3). Although not as effective at configuring the Windows environment, these techniques are viable options that have been in use for quite some time.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Using Workgroup Manager to specify Windows environment options for Open Directory user accounts.

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