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We have a network of XP machines, with a 2003 Standard DC running in 2000 mode. We really only need Windows for an app that uses SQL Server.

Is it feasible to get a Linux or BSD server going as an AD DC/fileshare/DNS for these XP machines, and get 2012 Essentials or even Foundation going just for the SQL Server? Is there a way to get them to play nicely? If so which Linux or BSD would you recommend for this purpose and why?

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closed as not constructive by Bryan, Ward, mdpc, Tim Brigham, kce Jun 12 '13 at 17:46

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Samba 4 will "do" Active Directory, but it is entirely unsupported. If you want minimal pain, I would suggest implementing True AD. – jscott Jun 12 '13 at 12:24
Unsupported by whom, community or MS? – Kev Jun 12 '13 at 13:09
If by "community" you mean "ServerFault" then I would guess both SF and MS consider Samba AD "unsupported". There are a scant 32 questions on SF tagged with samba4, more than half without even a single answer. – jscott Jun 12 '13 at 13:34
Do people instead use Samba as an NT4-style PDC in production with XP clients? – Kev Jun 12 '13 at 13:55
@Kev I wouldn't consider using Samba instead of Windows for any production Active Directory environments. – jscott Jun 12 '13 at 13:58

If you only need Windows for the SQL server then why not implement that without a DC, use local Windows or SQL server credentials rather than AD ones for the SQL authentication, then migrate your XP machines to a modern Linux distro such as Mint or Ubuntu and then implement a "proper" Linux server for file sharing, DNS, etc.

I'm not usually one for suggesting migrations like this without good cause, but I can't help thinking that would be preferable to implementing Samba when you don't really need Windows for anything other than just hosting the SQL server.

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We need XP clients because the app that needs SQL Server on the backend needs Windows for the client. When I said "we only need Windows for SQL Server" I was talking only about the server. That's why I asked about a Linux server supporting XP clients. – Kev Jun 12 '13 at 12:59
That said I'm not sure the app specifically uses AD to authenticate (in fact, I don't think it does.) I just thought XP and if we ever get newer Windows versions on the clients would not like NT4-style DCs to connect to anymore. – Kev Jun 12 '13 at 13:04
Agreed - he client app should be able to "talk" directly with SQL database on the SQL server. You probably don't need an AD domain at all if you were to study it out. Windows clients can log in with local accounts just fine. – TheCleaner Jun 12 '13 at 13:22
What about the fileshare and home drives? How does authentication work for those without a central login? – Kev Jun 12 '13 at 13:46
If that issue can be addressed then I guess we don't need Windows Server at all, we could run any version of Windows that will run SQL Server. Indeed, our app supports XP Pro as the server, I just discovered. – Kev Jun 12 '13 at 13:52

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