Trouble with Samba

My first server was based on Nevada 56, which didn’t include Samba. I ended up compiling v3.0.22 it by hand, setting up a SMF configuration to boot it up, and I was relatively satisfied. I am by no means a smb.conf expert, but it worked well enough for my simple needs.

The problem was that performance was spotty, and never very maxed out at a very fast rate. I wasn’t sure if the system’s overall ZFS performance was to blame, or something with Samba.

Well, after updating to a faster CPU and motherboard, and also moving to the Samba 3.0.25 shipping as part of Nevada 76, I have run into the same performance problems. It can perform well for short intervals, but it is extremely bursty and often stalls altogether. Running “zpool iostat 5” would often show 0 write attempts in a 5 second period.

The main clients of the NAS server in my house are Mac OS X, and switching to using SCP to backup large datasets resulted in a 10x performance increase, and that obviously includes SSH overhead.

At this point, I may investigate NFS and automounter support in MacOS X, but I also have a Windows machine and perhaps future clients that may only talk SMB/CIFS.

The new built-in CIFS support starting in Nevada 77 is probably going to mature into a really nice solution, but in the short-term I am not inclined to do another upgrade and I also see no good reason why Samba shouldn’t also perform reasonably well.

Any hints out there?

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