CIFS vs. SMB: What’s the Difference?

CIFS and SMB are both Windows file-sharing protocols used in storage systems, such as network-attached systems (NAS). The key difference between CIFS and SMB is that CIFS is a dialect of SMB – a particular implementation of the SMB protocol.

The CIFS protocol is now considered an outdated SMB dialect, with the newer SMB 2.0 and SMB 3.0 addressing many of the inefficiencies of CIFS. 

What is SMB?

SMB (Server Message Block) is a network protocol used for file transfer, print services, and network browsing across a local area network (LAN). Developed by IBM in 1983, the protocol allows devices to communicate with remote computers and servers through a client-server approach. 

Since its release, Microsoft has made many changes to SMB, such as merging the file server protocol with the network operating system LAN Manager. This addition enabled computers to access remote Windows file sharing on a network as if it were a local hard drive disk. Subsequent dialects have seen improvements to SMB’s security and performance. 

What is CIFS?

CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a version of SMB (or dialect of SMB) introduced by Microsoft in 1996 with the release of Windows 95. The protocol allows client systems to communicate with server systems over a network, enabling the use of file and print services.

CIFS’ main features include: supporting larger file sizes, moving away from NetBIOS towards TCP/IP transport, symbolic links, and hard links. 

CIFS clients can also gain simultaneous access to named pipes, print queues, shared files, and other resources. Read more:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *