Good Reasons to Choose PCShare instead of “Samba” (Open Source)

Samba and HELIOS PCShare are both SMB/CIFS servers offering file and print services compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server products. Samba and PCShare run on all major UNIX platforms to serve Windows clients. The main goal is to be highly compatible with the original Windows SMB/CIFS services developed by Microsoft and deployed in the Windows 2000 Server family as well as in the Windows file sharing clients.

Samba offers the following unique benefits:

  • Windows Domain Controller Server
  • Windows Domain Controller Authentication
  • PAM Authentication
  • NTFS ACL (Windows Access Control lists, different security from UNIX)
  • Additional SMB/CIFS client tools
  • Large installed base; information / documentation is widely available

PCShare offers the following unique benefits:

  • DHCP Server and DHCP Backup Server
  • Windows File Streams support (compatible with all HELIOS products)
  • UNIX Terminal based administration of Users, Volumes, Printers, Server Settings, DHCP, Messages, etc.
  • Remote cross-platform administration of Users, Volumes, Printers, Server Settings via HELIOS Admin, from Windows, Mac, UNIX / Linux
  • Windows shell extension to manage permissions on files and folders
  • Update installer (automatic download install / undo)
  • Server Fail Safety (provided by the HELIOS Service Controller)
  • Process auditing and tracing
  • Unicode / UTF-8 file storage with custom encoding plug-ins
  • HELIOS Authentication server supports cross-platform clients (Mac / Win / Web)
Both are professional products offering scalable SMB/CIFS services which have been proven as reliable server solutions at many customer sites over the last years.

Additional unique benefits of PCShare combined with EtherShare:

  • Tight integration between file and print server services for Windows and Macintosh clients
  • Unicode / UTF-8 based file storage on UNIX, e.g. Umlauts (öäüßéú, etc.) work from Windows & Mac and UNIX
  • Cross-platform file locking (between all Mac OS X / Mac OS 9 and Windows clients)
  • Cross-platform record locking (between all Mac OS X / Mac OS 9 and Windows clients)
  • Automatic Mac data / resource / streams handling, e.g. if Windows clients rename Mac files, the resource fork is renamed as well, and the Desktop database is updated
  • FileID (Alias) support, e.g. linked images are working after Windows has renamed files / folders
  • Shared user names and password for UNIX, Macintosh, Windows
  • Shared printer queues including job names 

Additional unique benefits for PCShare together with EtherShare and ImageServer:

  • Script Server hot folder scripts (Perl actions)
  • Automatic file changed events (Server API)
  • Automatic OPI layout files and replacement
  • Server-based image conversion 

Additional benefits with WebShare:

  • Web-based remote file access (browse / download / upload / view)
  • Sharepoints with custom permissions
  • Highest security provided by two-tier server application 

Additional benefits with PDF HandShake:

  • Create PDF Server (automated PDF generation via printer queues)
  • PDF Preflight (Server automated, Acrobat compatible)
  • PDF printing (in-RIP, host separations, composite, PDF-native OPI)
  • PDF tools 

Maintenance costs:

PCShare: Software Upgrade Service including updates and upgrades is 500 Euro per year SRP, plus the installation by an authorized consultant / dealer (if required). Additional training and support options are offered by HELIOS partners. The HELIOS Update Installer can automatically download and install (or undo) all recommended software updates within seconds.
Samba: In many current UNIX distributions Samba often comes pre-installed (Mac OS X, Linux, etc.) and therefore the first installation is mostly very easy. The subsequent configuration and maintenance could prove much more complex than PCShare, and could even require additional costs for in-house or external consulting of a software or network engineer. Due to the many configurable parameters it is likely that you may need an expert to configure Samba. In case of a software failure, software compatibility problem, or network problems, a solution may not be readily available. Although the Samba source code is publicly available, it is unlikely that a UNIX dealer / integrator / vendor is able to manage the very complex SMB/CIFS protocol problem and would be able to integrate the necessary files into the source code.
Customers using HELIOS products know that it will work for years with very little maintenance costs. Hiring full time employees customizing and supporting the Samba public domain source code is very expensive and will result in much higher costs than purchasing and maintaining the HELIOS PCShare product. All additional HELIOS server solutions EtherShare, WebShare, ImageServer, PDF HandShake and PrintPreview are completely integrated with PCShare.