Ask the Expert: NFS vs. CIFS

What should you consider when choosing between Network File Sharing (NFS) or Common Internet File System (CIFS)?

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: Storage magazine: Using two midrange backup apps at once:

Q: What should you consider when choosing between Network File Sharing (NFS) or Common Internet File System (CIFS)?


A: If your application servers or clients are all Windows based, CIFS may be the best approach. Likewise, if your clients are all Unix or Linux based, then NFS may be the better option, generally speaking. If you have a mixed environment and need to share data files between Windows and Linux, you should look at a product that supports NFS andCIFS (most NAS systems offer both), and has shared concurrent access to a file. Several NAS systems also support iSCSI for block-based access, providing even more flexibility to meet different app needs. When comparing NFS vs. CFIS, consider the current and future performance needs of your different apps, how much data needs to be stored, data protection requirements, and if you need to support virus checking and other features.


--Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst, StorageIO Group

 

This was first published in May 2008

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