Samba standalone + OpenLDAP

On the web there are many tutorials about setting a Samba server as one’s Domain Controller (DC), but really a few about setting a Standalone Samba server relying on an external OpenLDAP for authentication. Actually quite a simple process, it needs a lot of configuration on both ends, the Samba server and the OpenLDAP one, before it can be functionnal.

This post shows how to set up a Samba 3.6 server to rely on an external OpenLDAP 2.4 server, both being hosted on a CentOS 6.4

The Samba Server

Authorize the use of LDAP system-wide

In order for the Samba server to be able to rely on then OpenLDAP one, the use of LDAP needs to be enabled system-wide. To do so the authconfig configuration needs to be updated the following way

authconfig --enableldap --update

This simply edits the /etc/nsswitch.conf file and append ldap on passwd, shadow, group, netgroup and automount items

Install the samba packages

Simply run

yum install samba samba-common

Note : This article is about Samba 3.6 version and not Samba4. So do install the samba* packages and not the samba4* packages.

Copy and install the Samba schema in the OpenLDAP server

Note : Since those steps need to be done before the smb.conf configuration, this section shows here, even if logically it belongs to “The OpenLDAP server”

By default, the OpenLDAP server doesn’t speak the Samba language. One needs to add samba LDAP schema to it. From the Samba server, once the samba packages installed simply copy the samba.ldif file located at /usr/share/doc/samba-3.6.9/LDAP/samba.ldif to your OpenLDAP cn=schema directory

scp /usr/share/doc/samba-3.6.9/LDAP/samba.ldif user@openldap:/etc/openldap/slapd.d/cn=config/cn=schema

On the OpenLDAP server, the file needs to be renamed with the pattern – cn={X}samba.ldif – where X represents the highest number available + 1. On a default OpenLDAP installation, the highest number available is 11 (cn={11}collective.ldif) thus, the samba.ldif file needs to be renamed cn={12}samba.ldif

Edit the cn={12}samba.ldif file at line 1 and 3 so it look like this

dn: cn={12}samba.ldif
objectClass: olcSchemaConfig
cn: cn={12}samba.ldif

Finally, restart the slapd service so the new schema can be loaded correctly.

The smb.conf

In Samba there are 3 backends storage available per default.

  • smbpasswd – it is deprecated,
  • tdbsam – the one enabled by default.  It relies on a local database of user, filled via the smbpasswd -a command
  • ldapsam –  It relies on an external LDAP directory

To make your standalone Samba server rely on OpenLDAP simply change this chunk of code

security = user
passdb backend = tdbuser


security = user
passdb backend = ldapsam:ldap://
ldap suffix = dc=wordpress,dc=com
ldap admin dn = cn=admin,dc=wordpress,dc=com
  • ldap suffix : the suffix of your DIT
  • ldap admin dn : This is optional. If the OpenLDAP server denies anonymous request, then one needs to specify an admin dn entry.  Also if your LDAP tree do not have a SambaDomain entry yet, specifying the ldap admin dn configuration will create it automatically.  If using ldap admin dn, one needs to specify the admin dn password running smbpasswd -W

Save and exit the file, then restart the smb service. After few second one can run net getlocalsid and will be presented with a line looking like

SID for domain SAMBA-SERVER is: S-1-5-21-2844801791-3392433664-1093953107

If you set ldap admin dn in the smb.conf, the SambaDomain was created automatically and net getlocalsid returns this value, if you setted it manually net getlocalsid should return your your SambaDomain informations

Set samba to start automatically at boot time – chkconfig samba on – and the Samba server is all set to receive request from LDAP existing users.

The OpenLDAP server

In order for an OpenLDAP server to be Samba aware, some attributes needs to be added to the appropriate entryies. Make sure the samba schema has been loaded into OpenLDAP, as explained earlier.


This entry can be automatically created  by the Samba server – if one wants  – and contains general informations about the Samba behavior. The most important information that can be found here is the SID, Security IDentifier for the domain. It will be needed for the configuration of Samba Groups and Users entries.


This is an auxiliary objectClass  that should be added to all the posixGroup entry that one wants to work with in Samba. It has only  two mandatory attributes, the SambaSID that is a uniqe ID within the SambaDomain ans the SambaGroupType, that define the type or the group.

The SambaSID is composed of the SID + RID

  • SID : From the SambaDomain entry
  • RID : Relative IDentifier, a unique id within the SambaDomain

The defined SambaGroupType are :

  • 2: Domain Group
  • 4: Local Group (alias)
  • 5: Builtin


This is probably the most touchy, yet scriptable part. This is the auxiliary objectClass that should be added to all the posixAccount entry that one wants to work with in Samba. It contains Samba credentials. For Samba to authenticate a LDAP hosted user, the latter needs to have the the following attributes set

  • SambaAcctFlag : define user type (permissions)
  • SambaLMPassword : The LanMan password
  • SambaNTPassword : The NT password
  • SambaPwdLastSet : Timestamp of the last password update
  • SambaSID : The unique identifier within the SambaDomain

To obtain those informations , one can run this script , this needs the perl module Crypt-SmbHash to be installed

Usage : ./script username password

This will give the following outputs

:0:47F9DBCCD37D6B40AAD3B435B51404EE:82E6D500C194BA5B9716495691FB7DD6:[U          ]:LCT-4C18B9FC

  |            LMPassword          |         NTPassword             |   AcctFlags |

For the SambaSID value, refere to the SambaGroupMapping section the same logic apply here.

Once the SambaDomain, SambaGroupMapping and SambaSamAccount applied where it has to, the Samba server is ready to authenticate against the OpenLDAP server


Making a standalone Samba server rely on an external OpenLDAP , is not a difficult process, but it does involve quite a lot of configuration. In this article, neither the IPtables or the SElinux side of things has been adressed, but you should definetly set them up accordingly.  Go ahead add people on your DIT and see how they can access their own Samba Share. QED