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Introduction

SMB Node is an optional add-on component for new F42xx-series InfiniBox systems, that allows customers to access part of the InfiniBox capacity using SMB protocol. 

Fig. 1: F42xx with SMB node - rack view


SMB Node provides a shared file storage with the compatibility and features that Windows-based applications rely on, including full support for the SMB protocol and NTFS ACLs, Active Directory (AD) integration, and Distributed File System (DFS) namespace. 

SMB Node requires at least InfiniBox v4.0.40 software version.

Fig.2: InfiniBox with SMB node - logical view


Getting Started

Key Terms

  • SMB file server is a HA virtual cluster providing file services. With SMB Node, a customer may run up to 4 file servers per InfiniBox. Each SMB file server has a dedicated pool for storing user data, which is managed as part of the SMB file server settings. The SMB file server also has a DNS name for accessing it. Each file server can be joined to a different Active Directory Domain or the same one
  • SMB file system is an InfiniBox dataset attached to an SMB file server. SMB Node supports up to 100 file systems and file system snapshots per file server. An SMB file system size can be between 1GB and 64TiB.
  • SMB file system snapshot is an InfiniBox crash-consistent volume snapshot for the SMB file system. The limit for amount of SMB file system snapshots is the same as InfiniBox limit for volume snapshots
  • SMB file share is a specific folder (and its subfolders) within the file system that is accessible to SMB clients. File shares can be nested. SMB Node supports up to 5,000 shares. Folders at the top level of a file system can be assigned directory-level quota.

Credentials Required for SMB Node management

There are two types of credentials which the user might need to supply to operate SMB Node:

  • Local (InfiniBox) credentials - username and password are required for connecting to the InfiniBox management interface
  • Active Directory Administrator - these credentials are required only during the setup and are used to join SMB Node file servers to the appropriate Active Directory domain[s]. Note: these credentials are not stored anywhere on the InfiniBox.

Asynchronous tasks

Most of the operations supported by InfiniBox are instant, such as volume, NFS file system, or snapshot creation. However, some of the SMB node operation are complex and include multiple stages. Such operations are performed automatically by the InfiniBox, but may take longer and are implemented as asynchronous tasks.
When a user initiates such operations, they return to the SMB Node interface instantly and can continue running other tasks. The asynchronous task occurs in the background. Once the task completes, InfiniBox UI clearly indicates it to the user.
An asynchronous task usually completes within 30 seconds, but may take up to 60 seconds.

Networking connectivity

An F42xx-series InfiniBox with SMB Node provides the following connectivity options for data:

  • 24x FC ports
  • 6x 10G Ethernet ports for NFS, iSCSI and Replication
  • 4x 10G Ethernet ports for SMB traffic

All 4 SMB Node file servers share the same 4 Ethernet ports (traffic can be separated using VLANs).

SMB Node connectivity to customer's network has to be performed via patch panel:

The upper line represents SMB Node Controller 1, the lower line is for SMB Node Controller 2


Note: if other IP services (NFS, iSCSI, Replication) are required on the same InfiniBox, refer to the Best Practices Guide for Setting Up the Network Connectivity

Connectivity option 1: Single switch, 20Gbps per controller

All 4 SMB node ports are connected to the same switch, with LACP between pairs of ports on each controller. Total bandwidth available for each controller is 20Gbps.
This option is not recommended because the switch becomes a single point of failure

Connectivity option 2: Two standalone switches, 10Gbps per controller, HA

In this scenario, every port on the SMB controller is connected to a different switch. The ports are bonded on the SMB node side as Active/Passive.
This configuration provides 10Gbps bandwidth per SMB controller node, without single point of failure.
This is a default configuration for SMB node

Connectivity option 3: Two standalone switches, 20Gbps per controller

In this scenario, each SMB controller is connected with both ports to a different switch. This provides 20Gbps bandwidth per controller - but a switch failure may result in SMB file server failover from the disconnected controller. This option is less recommended for production use.

Connectivity option 4: Two stacked switches, 20Gbps per controller, HA

Many modern switches allow stacked configuration (Cisco Virtual switching system 1440, Juniper Virtual chassis from 3000/4000 series, etc). If supported, this may provide the most redundant and performing setup.
Each SMB controller gets connected to both switches, with LACP enabled. This configuration provides both high availability and 20Gbps bandwidth per controller.

SMB Node Availability

Each SMB file server is an HA failover cluster. In case of a component failure, file services automatically switch to the redundant instance. Client experience in this case is defined by the SMB client version:

  • SMB 2.x supports durable handles - file handles are preserved by the client and can be used to reestablish disconnected sessions. However, they’re not mirrored across nodes, and a failover (or an upgrade) of a node results in the lock state being lost.
    This would apply for client systems running Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, OS X 10.7-10.9
  • SMB 3.x supports persistent handles - which allows transparent failover for clients running Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, OS X 10.10 or later versions

Note: Infinidat SMB Node does not support obsolete SMB version 1 (used in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003).

SMB Node implications on InfiniBox

  • An InfiniBox system with SMB Node functionality has 1TB of capacity reserved for SMB internal configuration.
  • Special user smbnode_admin is created on the InfiniBox for internal SMB node operations. This user should never be disabled or removed.

Managing File Servers

Creating a File Server

In SMB Node 1.0.3, a new File Server can be created by INFINIDAT support only, during initial installation of InfiniBox or through support ticket at support.infinidat.com
The following parameters have to be supplied by the customer for new file server creation:

File Server parameters

  • File Server name: a host name assigned to the new file server. File shares on this server will be accessible as \\<Fileserver Name>\<share>
  • The following 4 static IP addresses from the same subnet are required for every File Server:
    • File Server IP - an IP behind the File server name
    • Cluster IP and two Cluster members’ IPs
  • Active node (1 or 2). The active File server instance will be launched on the specified SMB node controllers. Note that there is no guarantee that this node will always remain active for the fileserver.

File Server capacity

  • Pool size. A hidden InfiniBox pool is created for every SMB Node file server. Size of this pool specifies how much disk space will be available for allocation for the specific File server

Network parameters

  • DNS Server(s): one or two DNS servers available for the file server
  • DNS Domain Name
  • Default Gateway for the file server network
  • Netmask
  • Maximum transmission unit (MTU)
  • VLAN id for the file server network

Active Directory parameters

  • AD domain name: an Active Directory domain name
  • AD username: a user who has Full Control rights over the Active Directory OU. This parameter is used only during File server creation and is not stored on InfiniBox.
  • AD password. This parameter is used only during File server creation and is not stored on InfiniBox.
  • OU path: specifies AD container location where new file server account should be created. A dedicated OU for all Infinibox SMB file servers is recommended


Note: InfiniBox SMB file servers should be excluded from any Group Policy settings. This can be done at the OU level

Resizing a File server

Total size of all file systems within a file server can’t exceed the size of the File server pool.
Use Resize Server Pool wizard to modify file server capacity:

Changing Active Node

SMB Node contains two physical controllers. Every file server is active on one of these controllers at any time.
It might be desirable for load balancing purposes to move active file server to a different node. It can be performed using Change Active Node command.
Note: this operation may cause temporary interruption to file shares access on the affected file server for older clients (prior to Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016).
Note: file server is not permanently assigned to any node and may move automatically at any time


Managing File Systems

Creating a File System

To create a file system, click on the “CREATE FILESYSTEM” button in the Filesystems tab.

The following details are required to create a file system:

  • File server name
  • File system name
  • Size of the file system
  • Capacity reserved for Previous Versions snapshots and schedule

Total size of all SMB file systems should not exceed the size of the file server pool (See Managing File Server section for more details).
Note: usable capacity of the file system will be impacted by the “Reserved for previous versions” setting at the file server level
Note: a small portion of any file system is used to store files' metadata

Deleting a FIle system

To delete a file system, click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the file system entry in the file systems view and select “Delete filesystem” operation
File system deletion results in removal of all data on the file system.
File system can’t be deleted if it has snapshots, file shares or replicas. In this case, such entities must be deleted prior to file system deletion.

Previous Versions snapshots

Previous versions are copies of files and folders that InfiniBox SMB Node automatically saves when the file changes. They’re not related to InfiniBox filesystem snapshots.
This feature might be very useful for users, enabling them quick access to older versions of files and ability to self-restore. However, it may reduce performance and increase utilization of SMB file systems.
Previous versions can be enabled or disabled at the file system level. It is also possible to set a max capacity available for previous versions within file system (as % of total size).
If enabled, Previous Versions are taken at the specified frequency (between every 3 and every 24 hours). The recommendation is to take snapshots every 8 hours.

The SMB Node keeps up to 64 snapshots per filesystem - but total capacity will never exceed reserved space for previous versions.

These snapshots can later be accessed from the SMB client via right click on the file or folder in the Windows Exlporer:

Managing InfiniBox filesystem snapshots

InfiniBox provides  crash-consistent, space-efficient snapshots of SMB file systems for backup purposes. Such snapshot can be used for an instant file system data recovery, or for data backup via separate media server.

Note: file system snapshots don't store information about file shares

Creating a Snapshot

To create a snapshot click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the file systems’ list and select “Create Snapshot” operation
The only required parameter is a snapshot name:

When the snapshot is created, it’s status is “DETACHED”.
To access snapshot data it has to be attached to a host (see Attaching snapshot)

Attaching a Snapshot

A snapshot must be attached to a host to access the data. Such host must be defined using InfiniBox “Hosts and Clusters” view.

The host must be running Microsoft Windows operating system and belong to the same Active Directory domain as the relevant Infinidat SMB file server.
To attach an SMB file system snapshot to a host, click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the snapshot entry in the filesystems view and select “Attach snapshot” operation:

Snapshot status changes to “ATTACHED”

Detaching a Snapshot

It is recommended to detach a snapshot when access to it is no longer required.
To detach an attached snapshot, click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the snapshot entry in the filesystems view and select “Detach snapshot” operation

Deleting a Snapshot

Only a detached snapshot can be deleted.
To delete a snapshot, click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the snapshot entry in the filesystems view and select “Delete snapshot” operation

Managing File Shares

Creating a File Share

To create a file share, click on “CREATE SHARE” button in the Shares tab.

The following details are required when creating a file share:

  • File server name
  • File system name
  • Share name, this name will be used to access the share from the client: \\<Fileserver>\<share>
  • Internal path: local path from the root of the file system. If the folder doesn’t exist yet, it will be created
  • Capacity quota. If the value is different from 0 it will limit total capacity available for the share (the folder and all subfolders).
    Capacity quota can be set only for the top level folders on the file system

Note: It is possible to create nested shares. For example, both \folder and \folder\subdir can be shared

Resizing a share

To resize a share, click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the file share entry in the Shares view and select “Resize share” operation.
Note: Only shares for the top-level folders can be resized.
Note: Changing capacity to 0 removes the quota. In this case utilization is limited by the size of the file system only.

Deleting a share

To delete a share, click on the menu button on the rightmost column of the file share entry in the Shares view and select “Delete share” operation.
Note: Delete share essentially unshares the underlying folder, without deleting the data within the folder. Data can be deleted using an SMB client prior to the actual share deletion.

Managing permissions

Share permissions

Default share level permissions for all file shares are set as “Everyone - Full Control”.
Submit a support request to modify the default for all file servers.

File system permissions (ACLs)

When the file share gets created, the underlying file system gets default set of permissions.
These permissions can be modified using standard Windows mechanisms, such as Windows Explorer or Powershell Cmdlets.


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