We have the answers to your Server Message Block 3.0 questions

If you have a burning question about Server Message Block 3.0 -- about what's new or if you're ready to take it to production -- we have answers.

Server Message Block 3.0 allows applications to read, write and share files across the network and also create and update files on a remote server. When SMB 3.0 was released with Widows Server 2012, it introduced nearly a dozen new features and functions, but what are they? Are they worth all of the hype they are receiving? What are the advantages of SMB 3.0? IT professionals are asking plenty of questions. We have the answers here.

Are the new SMB 3.0 features worth an upgrade?

There has been a lot of hype with the latest version of Microsoft's Server Message Block 3.0 (SMB), but is it worth it? With every new release, there is excitement, but that doesn't mean it's warranted. Although SMB 3.0 is the real deal -- living up to all of the hype -- it's not just about accelerating live migrations either. One of the biggest signs of its success is how other vendors, like Apple, EMC and NetApp, are looking to implement it themselves.

Are you ready to take SMB 3.0 storage into production?

Plenty of users and shops will use SMB 3.0 in a test environment before taking it into production. When you finally make the move, make sure you're ready to do so. A big improvement in SMB 3.0 is the reduced resource failover times because of the new "SMB Scale Out" feature. It's important to take into consideration the speed and type of the transport mechanism that will be used between the host and the storage cluster, as well as the load balancing of computing resources in your network infrastructure. There is also a step-by-step guide on how to configure a new virtual machine on SMB 3.0.

How will SMB 3.0 help you save money and time?

If you value time and money, SMB 3.0 helps you save both. One of the biggest changes its ability to store virtual machine components on SMB file shares. That means virtual hard disks, snapshots and configuration files can all be stored on SMB file shares, cutting storage costs. But before you make that storage move, make sure you can fulfill certain prerequisites. Start by verifying that the file server supports SMB 3.0. Although this version helps simplify storage requirements, you'll need a storage architecture to provide reliability.

What are the advantages of storing a VM on an SMB file share?

Move over Fibre Channel storage area network and iSCSI storage -- you can now store a virtual machine on a SMB file share. VMs are often very demanding when it comes to disk I/O and that demands a storage array, but a high-performance file server that can handle a VM and avoid the expense of a dedicated storage array. When it came to failovers, previous versions of SMB relied on Cluster Shared Volume (CSV). In Hyper-V 3.0, though, you can use Server Message Block as an alternative to the expensive CSV.

What are the biggest changes in Server Message Block 3.0?

With every new release, users' first thoughts revolve around what's new and what's improved from the previous version. In SMB 3.0, the changes focus on speed and fault tolerance and a handful of other miscellaneous new features. When sharing and transferring files, speed will always be one of the top priorities and the latest version addresses that. With three new features -- SMB Direct, SMB Multichannel and SMB Directory Leasing -- speed was a clear focus in its improvements. Server Message Block 3.0 also boasts fault tolerance features such as VSS and Node fault tolerance, as well as other features that deal with both speed and fault tolerance, like SMB Scale Out.

This was first published in March 2014

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