Network and Storage Protocols

Apple Mac OS X Peformance over CIFS


Hello there,

Does anyone have any performance stats for Mac OS X using CIFS to connect to NetApp Filers (in particular FAS2050HA).

I have an existing customer who is looking to purchase a FAS2050HA for a 2nd site, that uses a lot of Mac technology.  They will initially have around 4TB of data, growing to around 10TB.

The customer is concerned that the FAS2050HA will not be powerful enough to cope with  the Mac data and a small VMWare ESX farm using iSCSI.

I can find no performance information that I can use to set the customers mind at rest.

They are currently using a FAS3020HA at another site for a much larger implementation, I just think it is the Mac Integration that is unsettling them a little.

I have read the  Integrating with Apple document from the Storevault site, but it is a little old and doesn't really  tell me what I need to know.

Any help or advice would be welcomed.

Many Regards




So....except for the annoying .DS_Store files (Google on how to configure a Mac to not create them on network shares), CIFS access from a Mac is no different from the NetApp's perspective than CIFS access from a Windows or Linux box.

For performance, I'd split the CIFS traffic from iSCSI by 2050 head. There's also performance info here (if you're a partner -- not sure if you are?).

You could also look up 3020 performance in PartnerCenter.

Finally, we do have a customer that purchased a 2050HA system with 3 trays of 1 TB disk to replace an S550 -- they're using it almost totally for Mac access via CIFS (5+ workstations working on big digital video files) -- they've been very happy with the performance so far.


Would the customer be open to using NFS?


There is a difference between 10.4.x oder 10.5.x clients connecting to cifs volumes.

As I measured there are only 80% connection speed if you intend to use 10.4.x clients.You should get 10 Megabytes/secbut 8MB/sec is the max.

10.5,x gives you nominal connection speed.

This is for 100mbit connections from client to network.

Depending on your needs, this could be a problem but not in any case.

The problem of 10.4.x lies in the mediocre implementation of the cifs / samba client on the mac. Netapp does a good job in providing cifs shares.You would get the same result in using a win 2003 server (can't tell for 2008).




The main issue there I think would be authentication control given NFS access control is based off of IP # or DNS name primarily whereas CIFS out of the box supports username/password authentication.

Having said that, I have had very good speed results with the NFS client in Mac OS X (which makes sense given Mac OS X's underpinnings).


If you don't mind doing a little work, then you can get great NFS speeds and still get ACL by using Kerberos Authentication. Okay so the NFS export would be access to all, but then the MS best practice is to make all shares Everyone/Full and set the permissions using NTFS ACL's which are much stronger and more auditable.

But going back to CIFS, I believe that 10.5.x has a proper CIFS client that is built into the OS, where-as previous versions either still used SAMBA, or the code was a module based on this and not properly part of the OS. For this reason, CIFS works at it's best with 10.5.x.

Your original question of performance, it really does depend on a lot of factors. If that is 10TB of Quark files, then there may not be a huge issue, but if it's 10TB of Word and Excel, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't run as quick as you might expect, and things may slow down the more files (as in, millions of files) you put on the share.

However, as far as processing power goes, the 2050 does give the 3020 a good run for it's money! If you are pushing a 2050, then you are not far off pushing a 3020 (depending on the work load). I'd imagine the key here is what disks are you using? Are you loading the system up with SAS and then extra 15k FC disks? If you are using 1TB SATA, then I would say you'll hit performance problems pretty quick with VMware on there as well.


I have the same issue , we are using FAS2240 and our MACs accessing shares via CIFS which gives much less performance that PCs using CIFS so we decided to export shares over NFS but we have permission issue , once I exported NFS and when in MAC we try to mount it we get permission error , i have tried several ways but yet no chance , do you guys know how can i solve this issue ?