[Samba] speed of samba vs Windows

Cain, Marc Marc.Cain at seattlecolleges.edu
Thu Jun 28 11:48:07 MDT 2012

On Jun 28, 2012, at 7:02 AM, Todor Fassl wrote:

> Is there any reason to believe that a samba server would be slower when serving up roaming profiles than a real Windows server? I know roaming profiles are slow by nature and that there are things you can do to help like configuring ffolder redirection. But all else being equal, how would a samba server compare to a Windows server when it comes to speed specifically with respect to roaming profiles?
> Our Windows guy insists samba is slow but I don't believe it.  He claims that when you load a roamng profile, Windows downloads only files that have changed and samba downloads everything. But he doesn't know anything about samba and I don't know where he got that from.

True "roaming profiles" upload and download the entire profile at every logon, logoff.  Doesn't matter what server is on the other end.  If folder redirectoin is not implemented the profile grows over time and this copying of the entire profile will slow down logons over time -- whether you're using a Windows server or a Samba server.

If one sets GroupPolicy to only create local profiles for domain users it's possible that the local Windows box will do an rsync-ish "changes only", though I've not tested this.  It's also possible to implement local profiles with folder redirection and no "roaming" component which will never copy the NTUSER.DAT and other files at logon/logoff.

It's important to remember that the server is not doing any of the roaming profile work other than informing the client of the user's profile folder location (though in the case of Active Directory -- delivering additional GroupPolicy behaviors). The client's copy of Windows is doing the roaming work and it's behavior is determined by local Group Policy settings.

The only way to really control the amount of data going up and down for true roaming profiles is implementing folder redirection where at least the AppData folder is redirected to a location on the server outside of the roaming profile store -- typically to a folder in the user's home directory.

The Samba HowTo has some very good basic info on how to implement folder redirection.  Works with Windows XP and Windows 7.  You can also search this list for folder redirection using Samba and Windows 7.


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