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CIFS and protocols

Failover on Windows-based system.

We are investigating a Windows clustered NAS system that can do the file IO level automatic failover. My concern is that since the Windows file system is CIFS that is a stateful protocol, if one host of the cluster goes away, the network connection will be lost during the cluster switch over and the file descriptors of the clients become invalid.

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You have a good understanding of the issue. Because of the stateful case of CIFS, a failover will still require an intervention on the accessing client. Basically it results in a retry but you must respond.

There's no alternative here with the implementation. The CIFS protocol gives you some very good security capabilities and the stateful environment is one of the byproducts of that.

Randy Kerns

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This was first published in January 2004

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