Let us dig deep into the topic of  NFS vs SMB to ease you selecting the best protocol for your network. The ability to share files, co-operate, and communicate effectively is crucial for all workplace operations, and it is what determines an organization’s management. In the past, sharing the files and collaborating with them was often time-consuming, tedious as well as expensive. However, the forging technology has proven it to be easy to share and collaborate files with other servers or users. 

Nowadays, no need to spend more time or effort to deliver and work with physical documents. The fact is the advanced technologies like NFS and SMB, completely changed the way how we work on files across huge servers at the workplace. Hence, let us understand elaborately how NFS and SMB assist us in the workplace and how different are they from each other.

What is NFS & SMB

NFS stands for Network File Sharing. It is an easy-to-use and relatively affordable protocol. NFS provides a solution for remote file sharing between the servers, by using the existing internet protocol infrastructure. NFS comes in a variety of flavours, with NFSv3 being the most popular. Some of the interesting protocol options include caching options, security support, shared file locking characteristics and much more. NFS has progressed a lot to facilitate more security, file sharing and better performance as well. 

SMB stands for  Server Message Block. It is a network file sharing protocol that deals applications to read and write files on a system. An application (or a user of an application) can use this protocol to access files or other resources on a remote server, which allows them to automatically read, create, and update files on the distant server. It can also communicate with any server application configured to handle SMB client requests.

Key Comparisons: NFS vs SMB

These are some of the key comparisons of NFS vs CMB based on their infrastructure and working. let’s go through it.

Network File Sharing 

  • File sharing protocol of Unix or Linux
  • Common file sharing protocol used between servers or server to client transactions
  • NFS does not permit the sharing of ACL files within networks or systems.
  • Analysing transactions are slower at a rate of 0.5MB
  • Write transactions at the rate of 0.128MB are comparatively slower than reading transactions
  • For authentication, local passwords are allocated to files, and the Linux service validates for User identification or Group identifier
  • Small or medium files experience good performance and reliability relative to larger files
  • For mounting the network, CIFS-utils and NFS-common need to be installed in NFS.
  • Locking is mandatory based on protocol versions
  • NFS allows you to rename files, which also allows you to rename and use the open file’s components
  • NFSv3 and NFSv4 provide permission to the user to maintain security
  • Export policies intensify the security of accessing and sharing of files and folders
  • Old OS of NFS does not allow server and printer browsing
  • Fast find file support does not work in NFS while we need to use other methods
  • In NFS, remote server management is used
  • Apple extended documents requires Appledouble file to share the above-mentioned files

Server Message Block

  • File sharing protocol of Windows
  • Used for transferring files from wherever the user needs and is mostly user client file sharing protocol
  • Upholds ACL files to transfer within systems or networks
  • Transactions are read at a pace of 4 MB, which is relatively quick
  • Write transactions of SMB at the rate of 0.5MB are faster when compared with NFS
  • The authentication for SMB is using Active Directory, and the user’s SID
  • For larger files, SMB gives better performance compared to NFS
  • SMB does not require any additional software
  • Locking is mandatory while file sharing and validated for the same
  • Retitling files is not at all possible in SMB
  • Here, access ACLs give the user permission
  • The files to be shared are accessed using user-level security
  • The New OS version allows server and printer browsing
  • Fast find file support completely eases the task of finding files
  • Remote server administration is available either for Mac and Windows
  • Apple extended documents does not require any additional support to share them


The discussion of NFS vs SMB comes to a close here.  They are true solutions for sharing data over any network. While NFS is easiest to use in Linux-based environments and SMB is comfortable on Windows, both protocols can work on any mainstream OS. But it is still important to think about their potential configuration as well as the compatibility challenges associated with both protocols, and there arises a need to evaluate whether a commercial file sharing platform may be a better choice or not.

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