The core task of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS – Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz) is protecting people and the environment from damage caused by ionising and non-ionising radiation. The work carried out by the BfS involves many areas of life: medical andoccupational radiation protection, the monitoring of environmental radioactivity, nuclear safety, the disposal of radioactive waste and research into electromagnetic fields and ultraviolet radiation are just a few examples.
Federal office for Radiation Protection UCS with Samba 4 supports Windows workstations with various specialist applications
A federal office with 750 employees, 9 locations and 950 workstations with conventional office software and specialist applications
- Easy administration and great flexibility at the same time
- Consistent adminsitration of decentralised it infrastructures
- Georedundancy and high availability of all services
- Comprehensive support of all Microsoft Windows workstations and specialist applications
UCS incl. Samba 4
“In Samba 4 we have finally found a bridging technology which truly allows us to unite the Windows world and the Open Source world. It is important to us because it allows us to use the advantages that a Linux server solution offers and at the same time.”
Dr. Christian Werner, Head of IT at BfS
The challenge: Controllable diversity
Based on the good experiences the BfS had had with the free operating system, a Linux-based solution was the preferred option. However, economic considerations also played an important role in the decision-making process as changing the entire server landscape over to Windows would have involved considerable investment costs.
After careful consideration they finally chose the Univention Corporate Server (UCS), the core product of the Bremen-based Linux specialist Univention. From now on, UCS should form the heart of the IT landscape at BfS with its various different locations. After all, the administration of decentralised IT infrastructures is where UCS really shows its strengths. Univention was chosen not only based on its extensive experience in the realisation of Linux solutions in the administrative sector, but particularly because of the professional and comprehensive support and simple communication guaranteed by the company’s headquarters in Germany.
Consequently, Univention Corporate Server has been introduced at all of the authority’s sites. In early 2013 the decision was taken to migrate to UCS Version 3.1 with integrated Samba 4 in order to benefit from the Active Directory functions now available.
The heart of the Univention solution is the central, OpenLDAP-based directory service, which takes over the authentication of the users and client systems at all the BfS’ sites and allows a single sign-on. The LDAP master server at the headquarters in Salzgitter replicates its data both locally and with the UCS slave systems at the different sites in an encrypted form over the network. In their role as a Samba/Active Directory domain controller, the slave servers function as local login and administration servers. This not only guarantees uniform load distribution, but also offers maximum system stability thanks to the georedundancy, as each site is still able to function autonomously even if the connection to the master server at the headquarters should fail. This is an extremely important feature for an authority which also or particularly has to act in case of nuclear incidents and other unforeseen occurrences.
The UCS environment supports the principle of georedundancy even for the e-mail services, for which the groupware Open-Xchange has been used since the changeover to UCS. Now, e-mail transport occurs decentralised and is no longer dependent on communication with the master server at the headquarters – a decisive advantage compared with the standard, centrally organised Microsoft Exchange scenarios.
The Active Directory functions of UCS also make it possible to mount existing proprietary storage systems from different manufacturers. That is one feature which convinced Dr. Christian Werner, head of the authority’s IT department, that: “In Samba 4 we have finally found a bridging technology which truly allows us to unite the Windows world and the Open Source world. It is important to us because it allows us to use the advantages that a Linux server solution offers and at the same time the system is well received among our employees, as they can continue to use their familiar Windows services and clients.”
While the majority of the servers at BfS run Linux, the client systems predominantly employ Windows. Particularly in terms of the administration of these Windows workstations, UCS with integrated Samba 4 saves the system administrators at BfS a great deal of work. With the new solution, the desktop
computers can also be installed and administrated conveniently and without Windows domain controllers. Group policies mean classic Windows-specific administration mechanisms are also available via Samba/Active Directory and can be administrated via the familiar Microsoft tools of Windows clients.
The dynamic DNS updates mean that mobile clients are also excellently supported. For example, the dynamic assignment gives company laptops a logical host name, so that the system recognises a certain device at any of the sites, even after it has received a new IP address. This is important if the respective employee requires help from the IT support team, for example, and the team needs to
access his device.