NFS vs. SMB: Top Features and Known Issues
Stability and Connectivity
Generally speaking, NFS is more sustainable and robust when it comes to network interruptions. It is rarely affected by network adapter updates or OS updates which makes it more reliable and future proof.
With SMB shares, you have the option to enable a recycle bin that lives on the share itself. That means, that every time you delete a file from the share, it will be sent to that recycle folder and you can delete it from there later. That minimizes the possibilities for a user error.
NFS doesn’t have that option. However, that may not be a big deal if your server supports snapshots*.
Users and Groups Permissions
Let’s face it, security is important. If you have a larger team or freelancers, interns etc., you may not want everybody to have read and write access to everything. SMB allows you to give different access to different users and have everybody log in with their own username and password. If your server interface allows it, you might be able to do this by yourself and not worry about relying on your IT team for it.
NFS will only allow you to manage access to the share if you have a directory service* setup and bound to your server.
Date of Creation Known Issue
NFS doesn’t support metadata for file creation. Due to that, it assigns the same default date of creation for all files created on the NFS share.
You can mitigate this by using Hedge.video.
Client OS compatibility
Let’s start with Windows because it’s pretty straightforward:
SMB and Windows (Recommended)
SMB is native to Windows. What that means is that you are likely not going to run into any issues. If your server supports SMB sharing and you have an all Windows PC environment, that’s likely what you should do. To work smoothly with Windows, there aren’t many special optimizations that your server needs.
NFS and Windows (Not so Recommended)
While it is possible to connect an NFS share to your Windows PC, it requires a third party app. That app will not be created and supported by your server manufacturer or by Microsoft, which makes it kind of unreliable. But if you needed to urgently connect an NFS share to your Windows machine, you can. (The app is called OpenText. Unfortunately, it has some issues when on a Windows 10 machine. Just heads up.)
Now, let’s talk about MacOS.
Both NFS and SMB are very well compatible with MacOS.
NFS & SMB Performance
In order to achieve the best performance, your server needs to support the latest version of NFS and SMB. To ensure that on Mac’s side you are also using the latest and greatest, your server should come with an application that helps you mount and also takes care of all that in the background.
When optimized correctly, the difference in performance between NFS and SMB is small. In some MacOS versions, it’s in favor of NFS and in some in favor of SMB. That strongly depends on the drivers for the network adapter or other optimizations that may have occurred in a specific version of the OS.
Mac Spotlight Search
With MacOS 10.14 Mojave now both SMB and NFS can be indexed. That means that you can search for files in your server through the Mac Finder.
If you are notusing FCPX, you may want to consider SMB for your Mac connections. That way you will benefit from the features mentioned above.
NFS is native for Linux the same was SMB is for Windows so you are likely to have a much smoother experience with Linux if you are using NFS.
Premiere Pro Compatibility
Premiere Pro was meant to work well with Windows PCs and while it runs pretty well on Macs nowadays, you will likely have a better experience if you use Premiere with SMB. Even on a Mac.
FCPX Library Support
If your team uses Final Cut Pro X, you should know that you can now store your libraries on both NFS and SMB. NFS and SMB are officially supported by Apple. NFS natively can store FCPX libraries but SMB can do that too if your server manufacturer optimized your SMB shares according to Apple’s recommendations.
Just heads up, if SMB is optimized for FCPX, you won’t be able to unzip files that have been zipped outside of that or other FCPX optimized share. It’s a small trade-off but we thought you should know!
Hardlinks. Even though you can store and use your libraries on your SMB share, you should know that SMB doesn’t support hard links. What that means is that when you consolidate an FCPX library (editors know what I mean) the media won’t be moved, instead, it will be copied to the new location.
Davinci Resolve works well with both NFS and SMB. If you use it for coloring and you're running it on a Linux computer, you probably want to take advantage of NFS. If you are working on a Windows machine, you will use it with SMB and it will still work smoothly. And if you are running it on a Mac, you should probably choose NFS or SMB based on the other factors in your environment.
What's the best fit for your video team?
Now that you have the information, it’s time to choose a network protocol for your team. There is no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on what you want to do and how you want to work. You should decide what the priorities are for your team and which protocol