[Samba] Poor performance with Mac OS X Panther clients

Nathan R. Valentine nathan at nathanvalentine.org
Fri May 14 15:11:01 GMT 2004

> In principal it does not surprise me that it is much slower on your OS X
> client than on your Linux or Windows clients. When you open a folder in
> your Linux or Windows file browser all they will need to do is request a 
> file listing. On the other hand an OS X client will read the resourse fork 
> (meta data) for each file to give it the correct application association and 
> icon in the finder.
> Does your customer not see a similar problem when the files are stored on
> a Windows file server? I would expect they would (that is if they are
> mounting from the Windows server over SMB not AFP which may prove quicker).

I agree with your assessment about the metadata reads causing additional
load on the server. We've tried to take that into account when
evaluating the performance of the shares. 

Windows clients connecting to the Samba server appear to use a different
API call to get the directory listing plus they don't use the Mac OS X
metadata. For Windows clients, the performance is quite zippy. Same
scenario for the Linux clients.

Mac OS X clients connecting to the server and then scrolling the
directory view in the Finder cause a huge CPU spike. They appear to be
using a completely different API call to access the directory contents
and then they do a another API call for every file in the directory
including metadata calls. 

I will test the results from both Windows and Mac OS X clients with the
data hosted on a Windows server to measure the results. From experience,
I expect that the Mac OS X clients will still perform worse but not to
the same degree as when the data was hosted on Samba. 

Nathan R. Valentine <nathan at nathanvalentine.org>
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