If you're supporting both Windows and Linux file servers, there are several utilities that can be used with both, such as backups. That is, most enterprise-class backup servers today support Windows and Linux, as well as many mainframes, database formats etc.
Sharing backup hardware can save you a lot of money, but there are some things to consider when you schedule jobs. One of those is that with the most common Linux file systems used today, there is no undelete feature. Unlike Windows and Macintosh operating systems, where you have trashcans or recycle bins, in Linux, when you delete a file, it's gone.
Of course, you can get special software to create this functionality, but if you haven't, and your users are accustomed to undeleting on Windows, consider doing two things.
First, schedule your backup jobs a little more frequently than you normally do. With incremental backups, this shouldn't be too burdensome on the hardware, and it will allow you at least to restore from tape if something really critical is lost and must be recovered.
Second, educate your users. In all other respects, you may want transitions between Windows and Linux to be invisible to the user. In other words, the users probably have no clue where their files are stored, because both Linux and Windows provide identical functions, in most respects. But, if you can get your users to understand ahead of time, it can save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Alexander Lancaster IV is a consultant and author with over ten years experience in the networking industry, focused on Internet infrastructure.
This was first published in November 2003