How do you access CIFS and NFS on the same network in a secure manner?

A new solution from authentication vendor Likewise is taking aim at that problem. Likewise, Storage Services combines the Likewise CIFS system, which is used by multiple storage vendors including HP and EMC and pairs it with an NFS module. The combination enables users of heterogeneous Windows, Linux, Mac and Unix environments to more easily access and share data storage assets across the network.

“One of the things that we do well at Likewise is deal with the issue of cross-platform interoperability,” Ken Cheney, vice president of marketing and business development, Likewise Software, told “We’ve now evolved our storage capabilities to not only support CIFS but also now to support NFS.”

Cheney explained that NFS is important since many organizations want to run both CIFS and NFS storage devices. The Likewise storage solution supports both, providing coherency across both the CIFS protocol and NFS.

“What this means is that OEM partners that we work with can ship devices that will allow end-users to access storage from either a Window client or Linux/Unix machine, the same storage device and have consistency in the security,” Cheney said.

Cheney said the way NFS and CIFS devices work together today is often with two separate storage devices, one for Windows and the other for Linux. In cases when a single system is used the security model isn’t maintained as Linux descriptors and Windows ACLs are not adhered, too.

“With our solution, we’re pushing the Window ACLs across both the CIFS and NFS sides,” Cheney said. “So at the end of the day, there is a standard managing and securing the data.”

On the CIFS side, Likewise has both a commercial enterprise version of their technology as well as an open source edition. With Likewise Storage, there is currently only a commercial version.

Cheney noted that initially the storage solution is being targeted at OEMs who tend to prefer the commercial license. Moving forward as the solution may end up as and end-user solution, Cheney noted that Likewise hasn’t decided on all the licensing options, just yet.

“If you look at the history of Likewise we have strong open source roots,” Cheney said.

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