Monday, 9 June 2008

Joining a Samba Domain

Joining a Windows workstation to a Samba domain is quite instructive: it tells you an awful lot about how a Windows workstation joins a Windows domain...

Here's what I got the first time I tried to join a Windows XP machine to my RIVERSIDE Samba domain:

The error message goes on: "The query was for the SRV record for _ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs.RIVERSIDE"

What's happened here is that Windows has first tried to look up the NetBIOS name "RIVERSIDE" assuming - correctly - that it is not a DNS name. When the NetBIOS name look up failed, Windows then queried DNS. Most of this error message relates to the DNS look up, and as such is quite misleading.

The standard solution you will find on all the Samba discussion forums is to add the Samba server to workstation's list of available WINS servers. One simple way of doing this is to get your DHCP server to pass on the address of the Samba server. If your DHCP server is Linux you just need to add a line like the following to your /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf:

option netbios-name-servers;

When the workstation next gets an IP address from the DHCP server it will know about your Samba server (running WINS) and will be able to resolve the domain NetBIOS name. This works. And maybe, if you're sensible, you should stop there. However, aren't you a bit curious about the " SRV record " stuff?

If, instead of supplying a NetBIOS domain name, we supply a DNS domain name, like, Windows will attempt to look up - not the DNS domain name itself - but a service location (SRV) resource record for a Domain Controller for the domain. In other words, it queries DNS for something like:

SRV _ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs.RIVERSIDE.FORENSIT.COM

In order for your DNS server to answer this query you need to add some lines to your DNS config files:

_ldap._tcp IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 medway IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 medway_ldap._tcp.riverside.forensit.com_site._sites.dc_msdcs IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 medway
_ldap._tcp.gc._msdcs IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 medway_ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 medway IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 IN 1H SRV 0 100 389 medway
_gc._tcp IN 1H SRV 0 100 3268 IN 1H SRV 0 100 3268 medway

On Fedora, these get added to the /var/named/*.db file. You can add these entries using system-config-bind, although (rightly) it does complain.

After restarting named on the DNS server, the Windows workstation should be about to get a response to its SRV query. On my domain it can... But - and throughout this whole long exercise there has always been a but - that doesn't get me much further. Windows returns the error "A domain controller for the domain RIVERSIDE.FORENSIT.COM could not be contacted." The details are:

DNS was successfully queried for the service location (SRV) resource record used to locate a domain controller for domain RIVERSIDE.FORENSIT.COM:

The query was for the SRV record for _ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs.RIVERSIDE.FORENSIT.COM

The following domain controllers were identified by the query:

Which is all absolutely correct. I can ping (the DC.) I can look it up using nslookup. So what's going on now?

I resorted to Wireshark. Having successfully queried for the DC name, the XP workstation sent a search request for the "ROOT" base object of the LDAP directory over CLDAP (Connectionless LDAP.) It was this request that failed: the server returning "Destination unreachable (Port unreachable)" over ICMP. However, the LDAP error log on my server just reports " - slapd started. Listening on All Interfaces port 389 for LDAP requests." It's almost like a firewall problem, except Firestarter reports no blocked connections.

So that's as far as I've got. I hate leaving unanswered questions, but I've already spent far too long on Samba: the questions will have to wait. It maybe that what I'm attempting here can't be done. I've come across some posts by glauco.b on the Ubuntu Forums saying that openldap does not support UDP - which is what the CLDAP query goes over.


Mike said...

Hey Dave,

Am taking this same "journey" myself now. We're at about the same point.

I didn't want to muck around with DNS as I read somewhere a successful install didn't require any which I think your post is confirming.

Like you, I'm nearly out of breath. Did you come across ?

Wish I'd found that 3 weeks ago!

Reinoud said...

I am exactly at the same place as where you and your post. Did you ever come acros something that solved this message?

David Rowe said...


Well, as I said in the post, the solution is to add the Samba server to workstation's list of available WINS servers. This does work, although you have to forget about LDAP.

Ludovic said...

Hi ppl, I spend the all day trying to sort out this problem i finally sovled the problem it was my mistake in my dns config and dhcpd i didnt set the proper subnet mask..

ip address :
subnet :

Solved by doing this

ip address :
subnet :

maybe this could help