This was the 10th anniversary year for the SDC. It also marked my 15th anniversary as a Samba Team member and my 16th year attending what was originally known as “the CIFS Conference”.
For SMB developers, this was a clean-up year. There wasn’t much new, but there was a lot of work going on to improve what was already in place. Microsoft provided an updated set of performance numbers derived from SMB Direct (SMB3 over RDMA) and the updated SMB3.02 dialect, while the Samba Team reported on progress toward implementing the SMB2/3 feature set. There were a few minor product announcements, including a new SMB2/3 test suite called Pike that was made available by the folks at EMC/Isilion.
SMB on Distributed File Systems
There was a lot of attention this year on leveraging distributed file systems, such as Gluster, to provide the underlying file store for SMB3. Over the past few years, several third parties have built new multi-node file systems for greater scalability and to provide support for failover. SMB3 also supports these features, so it would seem to be a natural fit. SMB3, however, has its own set of scalability and failover semantics, and mapping those to the behaviors of the underlying file systems is proving to be a complex task for many implementers.
Failover File Handles
One thing that SMB doesn’t handle very well at all is a service outage. “Durable” and “Persistent” file handles were added to SMB2 and SMB3, respectively, to improve resiliency. Partial support for durable handles had recently been added to Samba, but persistent handles are likely to be trickier.
Work has started on an experimental implementation of SMB Direct in Samba. Integrating this new transport mechanism into Samba is a bit of a challenge, but a plan has been proposed, nominally accepted, and work is underway.
Most of the SMB-related presentations were given on the first two days of the SDC, so we were free in the evenings and during the remaining two days to spend a lot of time in the Plugfest room. Those who arrived early also made good use of the Plugfest on Saturday.
Several years ago, the Samba Team were the only ones to bring a test suite to the Plugfest. This year, in addition to Samba’s SMBtorture suite, there were three different commercial test suite vendors plus tools from Microsoft and from EMC/Isilon.