Thanks for your polite response.
It's odd because after installing the smbclient package I was able to configure the smb shares and they went green as though successfully connected. When I logged in as the end user and clicked on the share, it simply refreshed the page. A yellow toast-like error did pop up. I checked the error log and the error was that the server hostname was not reachable. This error also showed when i configured the smb share with IP address instead of hostname.
I do have another working owncloud but it's running red hat php5.4. The smb shares are working there, so I am confident the configuration is ok. What I prefer to do is to use the logged in OC credentials to map the share, so the share maps upon user login. But when I originally tried to do this, the share remains red in the user portal. Hence why I entered the credentials manually in the admin page and witnessed the share showing a green status icon. But as explained, this appears the share is working but when you click on it the page simply refreshes.
Apologies I don't have the logs saved off-box. It would be great if someone else could verify this too. I took a volume snapshot before trying to fix the issue myself so i can revert to the out-of-box condition tomorrow and then reply with logs after a reproduce. But basically as I see it there are two problems:
1. libsmbclient is not installed (not sure if this is required as well as the below at point 2)
2. php5-libsmbclient is not installed properly
For point 2, there is a symlink at /etc/php5/modules and the destination file doesn't exist. It's missing the libsmbclient.ini file which basically mentions to apache/php which .so module to load. I did a "find / -name smb" and not very much came back. I did find an empty libsmbclient file which may have been the module but I'm not sure if this was caused by me trying to fix it. I didn't find any variation of smb*.so file.
Finally, when you install the libsmbclient there is no error when you configure the shares. In fact they come up as successful / green. But they are not functional from the user page in OC.
All I want from OC is smb shares and LDAP authentication I literally couldnt find all the packages required from a repo ANYWHERE, either from Red Hat themselves or a repo applicable to CentOS. I admittedly did not look to build my own ubuntu system but decided to use the appliance. Unfortunately, same issue it seems. But at least APCu is working and the response from OC in the ubuntu appliance is noticeably faster than the somewhat messy POC I built.