Windows 8 Tip of the Day, SMB protocols

Today’s Tip…brought to you by Robert Mitchell!

SMB 2.0 was first introduced in Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008.  It was considered to be tighter and removed some of the chattiness of the previous version.

SMB 2.1 was introduced in Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 and included an opportunistic locking mechanism

SMB 3.0 was introduced with Windows 8/ Windows Server 2012 and included a number of improvements…

Feature or functionality


SMB Transparent Failover

Enables administrators to perform hardware or software maintenance of nodes in a clustered file server without interrupting server applications storing data on these file shares. In addition, if a hardware or software failure occurs on a cluster node, SMB clients transparently reconnect to another cluster node without interrupting server applications that are storing data on these file shares.

SMB Scale Out

Using Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) version 2, administrators can create file shares that provide simultaneous access to data files, with direct I/O, through all nodes in a file server cluster. This provides better utilization of network bandwidth and load balancing of the file server clients, and optimizes performance for server applications.

SMB Multichannel

Enables aggregation of network bandwidth and network fault tolerance if multiple paths are available between the SMB 3.0 client and the SMB 3.0 server. This enables server applications to take full advantage of all available network bandwidth and be resilient to a network failure.

SMB Direct

Supports the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability and can function at full speed with very low latency, while using very little CPU. For workloads such as Hyper-V or Microsoft SQL Server, this enables a remote file server to resemble local storage.

Performance Counters for server applications

The new SMB performance counters provide detailed, per-share information about throughput, latency, and I/O per second (IOPS), allowing administrators to analyze the performance of SMB 3.0 file shares where their data is stored. These counters are specifically designed for server applications, such as Hyper-V and SQL Server, which store files on remote file shares.

Performance optimizations

Both the SMB 3.0 client and SMB 3.0 server have been optimized for small random read/write I/O, which is common in server applications such as SQL Server. In addition, large Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) is turned on by default, which significantly enhances performance in large sequential transfers, such as SQL Server data warehouse, database backup or restore, deploying or copying virtual hard disks.

SMB-specific Windows PowerShell cmdlets

With Windows PowerShell cmdlets for SMB, an administrator can manage file shares on the file server, end to end, from the command line.

SMB Encryption

Provides end-to-end encryption of SMB data and protects data from eavesdropping occurrences on untrusted networks. Requires no new deployment costs, and no need for Internet Protocol security (IPsec), specialized hardware, or WAN accelerators. It may be configured on a per share basis, or for the entire file server, and may be enabled for a variety of scenarios where data traverses untrusted networks.

SMB Directory Leasing

Improves application response times in branch offices. With the use of directory leases, roundtrips from client to server are reduced since metadata is retrieved from a longer living directory cache. Cache coherency is maintained because clients are notified when directory information on the server changes. Works with scenarios for HomeFolder (read/write with no sharing) and Publication (read-only with sharing).

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