Ask the Experts: NFS vs. CIFS


Q: What are the main considerations when choosing between NFS or CIFS?

A. When choosing a NAS solution for your environment, it's important to understand how you'll be using it. If your application servers or clients are all Windows-based, Common Internet File Sharing (CIFS) may be the best approach. If your clients are all Unix- or Linux-based, then Network File Sharing (NFS) may be the better option.

If you have a mixed environment and need to share files between Windows and Linux, look at a solution that supports both NFS and CIFS, and also has shared concurrent access to a file. Most NAS systems today offer both NFS and CIFS. Several also support iSCSI for block-based access, providing even more flexibility. In addition, you should consider the current and future performance needs of your apps, how much data needs to be stored, data protection requirements, and support for virus checking and other features.

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



This was first published in September 2008

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