Apple shifts from AFP file sharing to SMB2 in OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
In OS X Mavericks, Apple will begin migrating from its own legacy Apple Filing Protocol to Microsoft's SMB2 in an effort to enhance performance, security and cross platform file sharing.

OS X Mavericks


Macs running OS X 10.9 Mavericks will automatically default to using SMB2 when talking to each other, and fall back to AFP when file sharing with Macs running previous versions of OS X or when working with Time Machine backups.

From AFP to SMB2


Apple has maintained and enhanced its own AFP file sharing since it was first introduced in the late 1980s as part of the original Macintosh's easy-to-use AppleTalk networking system (below). The company then transitioned AFP from its own proprietary AppleTalk transport to the Internet's TCP/IP, where it has remained the default protocol for Mac to Mac "personal file sharing" on OS X.

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SMB ("Server Message Block") originated at IBM, but was popularized and greatly expanded by Microsoft as the default Windows File Sharing protocol. Like Apple, Microsoft transitioned its SMB file sharing protocol from its original NetBIOS transport to TCP/IP.

In the late 90s, Microsoft attempted to rename SMB as CIFS (the "Common Internet File System") in an effort to make it sound more like a cross platform standard, although the new name and the use of SMB as the Internet's file sharing protocol never really took off.

While proprietary to Microsoft, the SMB protocol was reverse engineered to create the Samba open source project to allow Unix-like operating systems to share files with Windows PCs. Apple incorporated Samba into OS X 10.2 to support file and network directory services with Windows PCs, resulting in the simple option to enable Windows File Sharing on Macs.

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft greatly revamped SMB to clear out old legacy complications and enhance its performance, capabilities and security. This resulted in SMB2. Microsoft further enhanced its SMB2 protocol with version 2.1 in Windows 7 and a 2.2 version for Windows 8 that is also referred to as SMB 3.0. Apple doesn't distinguish between these variants in its own documentation.

From Samba to SMBX

Samba didn't initially support Microsoft's new SMB2; additionally, the project decided to move its future development (including support for SMB2) to the more strict GPLv3 license. That prevented Apple from realistically using the software commercially.

For OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple wrote its own software for Windows File Sharing under the name "SMBX" to replace Samba, adding initial support for Microsoft's SMB2 at the same time.

Rather than maintaining both AFP and SMBX in parallel, Apple is now consolidating its future efforts in its own implementation of Microsoft's SMB2 protocol. Macs running OS X 10.9 Mavericks will use SMB2 as their default file sharing protocol when connecting to each other or to PCs running Windows Vista, 7 or 8.

In a public technology overview, Apple says, "SMB2 is superfast, increases security, and improves Windows compatibility."SMB2 is superfast, increases security, and improves Windows compatibility.

The company also outlines that "SMB2 features Resource Compounding, allowing multiple requests to be sent in a single request. In addition, SMB2 can use large reads and writes to make better use of faster networks as well as large MTU support for blazing speeds on 10 Gigabit Ethernet. It aggressively caches file and folder properties and uses opportunistic locking to enable better caching of data. It?s even more reliable, thanks to the ability to transparently reconnect to servers in the event of a temporary disconnect."

Apple will continue to support AFP for file sharing with Macs running previous versions of OS X and with Time Machine backup systems. OS X Mavericks also includes support for NFS v3 and v4, which are commonly used on Linux and Oracle's Solaris for automounting file shares.

Support for Windows ACLs; NTFS remains read only

Apple's development of OS X has similarly incorporated other technologies from Microsoft's Windows, including support for Windows-style ACLs (Access Control Lists), a more robust and fine-grained system for implementing file-based permissions that offered a variety of improvements over the existing BSD Unix-style permissions used in prior versions of OS X.

Support for ACLs, introduced in OS X 10.4 Tiger in 2004, helped enhance connectivity between Macs and PCs and Windows Active Directory services.

In terms of file systems, OS X Mavericks continues to use HFS+, with support for file system journaling. OS X continues to support Microsoft's basic FAT32 file system and includes read-only support for Windows' default NTFS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    bigmac2bigmac2 Posts: 637member
    This make me kinda nostalgic. I still remember AppleShare server for System 7.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,710member
    Queue open source zealots criticising this move, oblivious to the problems for a commercial entity that tried to comply with GPLv3 .

    PS:
    [QUOTE]In a public technology overview, Apple says, "SMB2 is superfast, increases security, and improves Windows compatibility."SMB2 is superfast, increases security, and improves Windows compatibility.
    [/QUOTE]

    does saying it twice make it more truthy? :)
  • Reply 3 of 45
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,578member
    Will .dotfiles disappear now on Linux samba servers?
  • Reply 4 of 45
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    This is good, IMO. So much easier to plug a Mac into a Windows network.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    Seems convoluted. How long till they switch time machine to smb2 anddeprecate AFP completely?
  • Reply 6 of 45
    don108don108 Posts: 79member
    Why not switch Time Machine to SMB2, too?
  • Reply 7 of 45
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,346member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CustomTB View Post



    Seems convoluted. How long till they switch time machine to smb2 anddeprecate AFP completely?


     


    probably finite resources 

  • Reply 8 of 45
    rcfarcfa Posts: 763member
    don108 wrote: »
    Why not switch Time Machine to SMB2, too?

    Cause TM is a hack that's way too dependent on the network protocol and file system used; both in terms of source and target, it's a pity Apple ditched the ZFS strategy, it would have predestined for use with TM in a much more elegant and efficient way.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post



    Will .dotfiles disappear now on Linux samba servers?


    Doubt it. Windows system will read dot files as visible regardless of how they got there if you have show extensions enabled. Until OS X quits creating dot files there will likely be this issue, but they should not show up on Linux

  • Reply 10 of 45
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,799member
    customtb wrote: »
    Seems convoluted.
    Not really, all this is really doing is providing Apple with a compatibility feature they need. It might not be well handled as far as promotion goes nut it probably isn't a high priority.
    How long till they switch time machine to smb2 anddeprecate AFP completely?
    I would imagine there would be a Time Machine replacement sometime in the future. That is only if this is a long term solution. Their goal may be compatibility first and then graduation to something more advanced. Sometimes it is hard to tell with Apple.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    payecopayeco Posts: 301member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post



    Will .dotfiles disappear now on Linux samba servers?


     


     


    Not likely. Until then, Blue Harvest. http://www.zeroonetwenty.com/blueharvest/

  • Reply 12 of 45
    I know Aperture libraries require Apple's file system attributes - how can that be supported in SMB, or is it?

    D
  • Reply 13 of 45


    You fanbois sure make me laugh....


     


    Out misplaced loyalty to a company (for which you are nothing more but a filthy sac of meat with a wallet) you ignore the best internet "radio" service there is:


     


    Google Music All Access, which combines Pandora and Spotify (and no ads to boot)

  • Reply 14 of 45
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    Not really, all this is really doing is providing Apple with a compatibility feature they need. It might not be well handled as far as promotion goes nut it probably isn't a high priority.

    I would imagine there would be a Time Machine replacement sometime in the future. That is only if this is a long term solution. Their goal may be compatibility first and then graduation to something more advanced. Sometimes it is hard to tell with Apple.


     


    They could easily keep both protocols around.  They have always supported Samba, it was just that their quirky non-standard implementation of it caused huge problems.  

  • Reply 15 of 45

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Entropys View Post



    Queue open source zealots criticising this move, oblivious to the problems for a commercial entity that tried to comply with GPLv3 .



    PS:

    does saying it twice make it more truthy? image


     


    Twice is encouraging, it takes three times for truth:


     


    "Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,

    As he landed his crew with care;

    Supporting each man on the top of the tide

    By a finger entwined in his hair.


    "Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:

    That alone should encourage the crew.

    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:

    What I tell you three times is true."


                                                                  image


     


  • Reply 16 of 45
    see flatsee flat Posts: 145member


    "Apple will begin migrating from its own legacy Apple Filing Protocol to Microsoft's SMB2 in an effort to enhance performance, security and cross platform file sharing."


     


    Never thought I would see a statement from Apple that had: Microsoft,  enhance performance and security, all in the same sentence!

  • Reply 17 of 45
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,587member
    NTFS support for read and write is also needed!
  • Reply 18 of 45
    The move away from open source is a pity. I understand the complexities and vagaries of GPLv3. But I would have much preferred to see Samba maintained on OS X.

    At least they are keeping NFS.

    It's a pity ZFS never survived. It was potentially one of those great technologies.

    SMB2 seems to be more about 'compatibility' than about superior functionality. Apple has given up on the desktop. I can understand why in one sense, since so much more is made from iOS devices, the App Stores, iTunes etc. But the desktop market is nothing to sneeze at.

    OS X is slowly morphing away from good ol Unix into some kind of budget OS. Real innovation seems to be dying. The art of good UI seems to be dying. And that synergy that Apple had for so long between form and function appears to be lost.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    vadaniavadania Posts: 425member


    Can anyone tell me how the screen saver works with multiple displays?


     


    Seems they finally fixed everything with displays that was missing in Mountain Lion.  I'm very excited they fixed everything I sent in.


     


    I'm curious if you can use a screen saver on an inactive display (if you have three or four), while still working another display.


     


    Also, can someone please check to see if Airplaying to an Apple TV downgrades your current displays to 1080P as it does in Mountain Lion?


     


    I'm at the conference, so I can't check.  Only one display here.


     


    Someone please let me know!


     


    I was focused on in the keynote THREE TIMES!  LOL!


     


    Edit:  Looks like I'll get to ask tomorrow (or today, still stuck on eastern time).  Someone here must know already.

  • Reply 20 of 45
    andreidandreid Posts: 96member


    Hmm...i like how AFP worked and how secure it was. Also connecting to remote Macs was a breeze with cmd+K In Finder and going the AFP route. Now i assume if i want to connect to a remote Mac (using Mavericks) i have to forward the SMB ports 139 and 445 for it to work, which in many cases may create a problem since many ISPs block those ports due to security issues. image

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