*This post originally appeared on the AppSense blog prior to the rebrand in January 2017, when AppSense, LANDESK, Shavlik, Wavelink, and HEAT Software merged under the new name Ivanti.

As you’ll know if you’ve read our other recent blogs, DataNow v4 contains several exciting new features. In addition to these we’ve been working hard to bring a number of performance improvements to the platform. In this blog, we’ll delve under the hood to show how these work together to optimise the experience for both the admin and the end users.

One of the most significant performance gains has been as a result of our SMB library enhancements. Prior to DataNow v4, we supported SMB1.

As of DataNow v4, we now support the following SMB versions: SMB 2.0.2, 2.1.0 and SMB 3.0.0, 3.0.2 (Note we no longer support SMB1)

This allows us to take advantage of the following protocol features:

  • SMB Signing (SMB 2 and 3)
  • SMB Encryption (SMB 3)
  • SMB Session Multiplexing (SMB 2 and 3)
  • SMB Large MTU Support (SMB 2 and 3)
  • SMB Compounded Requests (SMB 2 and 3)
  • SMB Multi-Credit requests (SMB 3)

The first two items are not performance related, but are useful security features that may be required in certain environments.

In addition to the above, we also now stream our folder listings and leverage the SMB library for permission discovery which further improves performance.

Other wider platform improvements include a new DNS caching client on the appliance to optimise response times and resiliency and a smaller appliance footprint to reduce storage requirements.

Overall, performance testing has shown that the above features can collectively return up to a fourfold speed improvement in file server comms over previous versions.

How does this extra performance help? This reduces the chance of the file server from being a physical bottleneck at peak periods under high utilisation.  The more efficient use of storage bandwidth also leaves extra network headroom for other line of business traffic that may be accessing storage.

How do I check what versions of SMB my file servers support?

If you have Windows 10 / 2012 you can use the Get-SMBConnection PowerShell cmdlet. Simply run this command from an administrative PowerShell prompt within 10 seconds of accessing a share to see what version of SMB was negotiated:

administrator: Windows PowerShell. get smbconnection screenshot
DataNow will negotiate the highest available version of SMB to take advantage of the latest features.

I hope this has been informative – as always, please get in touch or comment below if you have any questions or comments.