Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: New per-share SMB client performance counters provide great insight

Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 include a new set of performance counters that can greatly help understand the performance of the SMB file protocol. These include new counters on both the server side and the client side. In this post, I wanted to call your attention to the new client-side counters that show the… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Use PowerShell to find the free space on the volume behind an SMB file share

A while back, I showed how to use PowerShell V2 and our old SMB WMIv1 object to explain how to find the free space behind a file share (essentially the free space for the volume that contains the file share). That post is available at While that post was a good example of how… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Run the File Services Best Practices Analyzer (BPA)

Windows Server 2012 includes a built-in mechanism called Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) to check your configuration and make sure everything is set to the proper values. These set of rules, which come in specific sets for each role you install, can be run through Server Manager or also via PowerShell. For the Windows Server 2012… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Avoid loopback configurations for Hyper-V over SMB

When deploying Hyper-V over SMB (storing your live configuration and live VHD/VHDX files on an SMB 3.0 file share), make sure you don’t use a loopback configuration. A loopback configuration means that the Hyper-V role and the File Server role are on the same computer. While you can actually have both roles on the same… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Enable CSV Caching on Scale-Out File Server Clusters

Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) in Windows Server 2012 has a great new feature to allow using system memory as a write-through cache. Since Scale-Out File Server Clusters use CSV, enabling this CSV cache has a huge impact on the performance of this type of File Server. This has a direct impact on common scenarios like… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Continuous Availability does not work with volumes using 8.3 naming or NTFS compression

When deploying the Continuous Availability feature of the new File Server clusters in Windows Server 2012, be careful not to use volumes that have either 8.3 naming or NTFS compression enabled. If you have these features enabled on the volume, the File Server won’t be able to properly track the ongoing operations on the volume… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Disable 8.3 Naming (and strip those short names too)

This has been a performance tip for File Servers for some time now: disable short names. There are big performance savings in disabling 8.3 naming and also for removing existing short names on a volume. Here’s a diagram from a presentation I delivered last year: The old “8dot3 naming” convention has been obsolete for a… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Use multiple subnets when deploying SMB Multichannel in a cluster

SMB Multichannel will let you use multiple network interfaces at once for added throughput and network fault tolerance. When using it with non-clustered file servers, you have the most flexible options, including using multiple NICs on the same subnet. In fact, you can have all the multiple NICs on the same server configured automatically via… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Make sure your network interfaces are RSS-capable

The new SMB Multichannel feature improves performance for network interfaces by using multiple TCP connections for a single network interface automatically. SMB will only do this if your network interface reports itself as RSS-capable, which means it can use Receive Side Scaling. You can check that with the Get-SmbServerNetworkInterface or the Get-SmbClientNetworkInterface PowerShell cmdlets. See… Read more

Windows Server 2012 File Server Tip: Switch to the High Performance power profile

When you install a fresh copy of Windows Server 2012 and configure it with the File Server role, the default Power Setting balances power efficiency and performance. For this reason, even if you have a few high speed network interfaces and the fastest SSD storage out there, you might not be getting the very best IOPS… Read more