Q

SMB protocol security gets a boost in latest version

With SMB 3.0, Microsoft added features to bolster the protocol's versatility, performance and security.

How has SMB changed with Windows Server 2012 and R2? Can you explain SMB 3.0 encryption features?

With each SMB version, Microsoft has added features and capabilities to make the protocol more versatile and improve performance and security. SMB 3.0, which is tailored for small, random read/write operations, also supports large packets (termed "maximum transmission units" or MTUs) that boost performance in large, sequential data transfers.

SMB 3.0 also supports failover, which allows other nodes in a clustered server configuration to handle data transfers without disrupting server-side workloads. SMB 3.0 uses multiple network paths and network adapters with advanced hardware features to boost data transfer performance.

SMB 3.0 encryption is available for individual file shares or the entire server, and doesn't require specialized hardware or software tools (such as IPsec protocols or WAN accelerator hardware). Encryption is particularly useful when exchanging data with remote systems across a wide-area network such as the Internet. Encryption complements SMB directory leasing, which improves application response times by boosting the caching performance of branch office locations. This reduces the need to resend file data that might already be present on branch office systems.

SMB 3.0 also includes new performance counters and event messaging to measure, optimize and troubleshoot network activity. Improved insights into network performance let IT pros gauge cause-and-effect relationships between workload locations, resource usage, user activity and other characteristics important to data center performance.

This was first published in June 2014

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