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MoSMB, Less Problems

If you’re ever in a life threatening emergency that requires the swift attention of a IT admin, here’s how to find one in a hurry. Just shout as loud as you can “I LOVE CIPHS” and the person who just punched you can help.

From CIPHS to SMB3

SMB has come a long way in subsequent years, so much so that SMB3 doesn’t openly receive derision when mentioned at a conference. It supports end-to-end encryption, RDMA, and multichannel. Little did I know that Microsoft wasn’t the only protocol game in town.

I wasn’t familiar with Ryussi until I heard a presentation from them earlier this year. They offer a proprietary SMB server implementation for Linux and Unix systems called MoSMB. The company has a tall order on its hands with the product, effectively competing with SAMBA’s open source legacy. What makes MoSMB worth it’s proprietary code and, probably more importantly, an organizations hard earned cash?

Baby Bear SMB

Ryussi said MoSMB is positioned to fill a gap in the Linux SMB landscape. On the one hand is the seeming default option of SAMBA. This offers SMB3 support and has been around for thirty years. But while that longevity is impressive, it also carries with it a lot of baggage, causing issues with scale and performance for enterprise workloads. On the other extreme, the major storage companies have their own implementation of SMB3 for their own products.

MoSMB is the baby bear SMB protocol, positioned as offering the proprietary SMB porridge for NAS vendors who want something more robust and supportable than SAMBA. They do this by offering enterprise class SMB3 features. Besides HA support, MoSMB also support Witness Server, which tries to lower latency by providing a mechanism for servers to notify clients of any state change proactively. As Chin-Fah Heoh aptly stated, it’s an attempt to change SMB from “high latency, low throughput protocol”. While SMB may never be considered a low latency protocol, removing the time outs previously used in prior versions of SMB with Witness Server support, as well as supporting RDMA, goes a long way.

During their presentation, Ryussi mentioned that MoSMB does not support SMB1. The crowd of jaded IT pros broke into elated cheers of joy. MoSMB offers an enterprise ready SMB protocol for Linux NAS providers. It still has a long way to go to displace SAMBA, if for no other reason than cognitive inertia. But Ryussi has smartly targeted a lot of the SMB pain points and worked to remediate them in MoSMB. They clearly know their audience.



About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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