Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to enable SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your file server and network, you’ve come to the right place. SMB Direct is a Windows feature that provides support for network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability, allowing for faster data transfers and reduced CPU usage.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about SMB Direct, including what it is, why you should enable it, and how to do so step-by-step. We’ll also provide you with some useful tips on verifying and testing SMB Direct on your Windows Server 2016 system.
Whether you’re a seasoned IT professional or a beginner, this guide has got you covered. So let’s get started and take your network performance to the next level!
What is SMB Direct?
SMB Direct is a network protocol used for file sharing that provides high-speed network communication between servers and storage devices. It’s an improved version of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, which is used for sharing files, printers, and communication across networks. SMB Direct uses Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) technology, which enables direct memory access from the memory of one computer into that of another computer without involving the operating system. This technology helps to reduce CPU utilization, decrease latency, and provide high-speed data transfer rates.
In SMB Direct, the network adapters communicate with each other directly without using the operating system’s network stack, which results in reduced latency and better network performance. SMB Direct is ideal for large file transfers, such as those required by Hyper-V, SQL Server, and other applications that require high-speed access to storage.
With the introduction of SMB Direct, Windows Server 2016 users can benefit from high-speed data transfer rates between servers and storage devices, making it an essential feature for any organization that requires fast and efficient data transfer over a network.
Overall, SMB Direct is a powerful network protocol that enables high-speed data transfer rates between servers and storage devices, providing organizations with the ability to perform large file transfers quickly and efficiently.
SMB Direct Explained
SMB Direct is a network protocol that allows for fast and efficient file transfers between computers on a network. It is specifically designed to take advantage of high-speed networks and network adapters that support Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) technology.
Unlike traditional file transfer protocols, SMB Direct can bypass the traditional TCP/IP stack and connect directly to a computer’s memory, allowing for much faster data transfer speeds and lower processor utilization. This can be especially useful in scenarios where large amounts of data need to be transferred quickly, such as database backups or virtual machine migrations.
SMB Direct uses the SMB 3.0 protocol, which provides additional features such as encryption, compression, and the ability to perform multiple file transfers simultaneously. It also includes features that improve the reliability of data transfers, such as the ability to resume interrupted transfers and detect data corruption.
Overall, SMB Direct is a powerful network protocol that can greatly improve file transfer performance in the right circumstances. However, it does require specific hardware and software configurations, as well as careful planning and testing to ensure optimal performance.
Benefits of Using SMB Direct
Improved performance: SMB Direct uses RDMA technology to provide low-latency and high-bandwidth data transfers, which can greatly improve the performance of file server workloads, such as Hyper-V over SMB.
Reduced CPU utilization: With SMB Direct, the network adapter takes care of the data transfer, which reduces the CPU utilization on the server. This can lead to better scalability and performance.
Efficient use of network bandwidth: SMB Direct uses efficient network protocols and optimizations to reduce network congestion and improve the use of available bandwidth, which can be particularly beneficial in high-traffic environments.
Enhanced security: SMB Direct provides support for encryption and integrity checking, which helps ensure the security of data transfers over the network. This can be particularly important for organizations that need to comply with regulatory requirements.
Use Cases for SMB Direct
SMB Direct has numerous use cases and can be particularly useful in environments where large amounts of data need to be transferred between servers and clients quickly and reliably. Here are some examples:
- Hyper-V Storage: SMB Direct can be used as a storage protocol for Hyper-V environments, improving the performance and scalability of virtual machine workloads.
- SQL Server: SMB Direct can be used as a storage protocol for SQL Server workloads, providing fast and reliable access to databases.
- Remote Desktop Services: SMB Direct can be used to improve the performance and scalability of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments, enabling multiple users to access remote resources simultaneously.
- File Services: SMB Direct can be used to enhance the performance and reliability of file server workloads, particularly in environments where large files need to be transferred frequently.
SMB Direct is also compatible with other Microsoft technologies such as Windows PowerShell, System Center, and Active Directory, making it a versatile protocol for a variety of use cases.
Next, we will discuss the hardware requirements for enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016.
Why Enable SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016?
Improved Performance: SMB Direct enables high-speed network adapters to be utilized to their full potential, resulting in significant performance improvements over traditional SMB connections.
Better Resource Utilization: By utilizing remote direct memory access (RDMA), SMB Direct reduces CPU usage and enables more efficient use of server resources.
Low Latency: The use of RDMA also results in reduced latency, which is crucial for applications that require real-time data access, such as video streaming or high-performance computing.
Improved Performance and Throughput
Reduced CPU Utilization: SMB Direct uses Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) to transfer data between servers, which offloads the CPU and reduces CPU utilization. This results in improved performance and higher throughput.
Faster Data Transfer: With SMB Direct, data is transferred directly between servers without involving the CPU. This reduces latency and results in faster data transfer rates.
Highly Scalable: SMB Direct is highly scalable and can handle large amounts of data transfers with minimal impact on server performance. This makes it ideal for use in large data centers and high-performance computing environments.
Reduced Latency and CPU Utilization
Reduced Latency: SMB Direct also offers reduced latency compared to traditional SMB protocols. This is achieved by leveraging Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) technology, which allows data to be transferred directly between memory locations on the server and client, bypassing the CPU and reducing the time it takes for the data to travel.
Lower CPU Utilization: Since SMB Direct offloads much of the data transfer process to the network adapter, it can help reduce the amount of CPU utilization required for data transfer. This can be especially beneficial for high-throughput workloads that may otherwise consume significant CPU resources.
Better Scalability: By offloading data transfer to the network adapter, SMB Direct also offers better scalability, enabling larger file transfers and better performance under heavy loads. This makes it an ideal choice for scenarios where high-performance and low-latency data transfer are critical.
Support for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)
RDMA is a technology that allows direct memory access from the memory of one computer into that of another computer over a network, without involving the operating system of either computer. This technology enables data to be transferred between computers at a much faster rate than traditional networking technologies, while also reducing CPU utilization and latency.
With SMB Direct, Windows Server 2016 includes support for RDMA-capable network adapters, enabling faster and more efficient data transfer between servers. This can be particularly useful in high-performance computing environments where data-intensive workloads are common.
In addition, SMB Direct also supports SMB Multichannel, which enables the use of multiple network connections simultaneously to increase throughput and fault tolerance. This means that if one network connection fails, data can still be transmitted over another connection, ensuring that the data transfer is not interrupted.
Hardware Requirements for Enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016
Network Adapters: To enable SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016, you need network adapters that support Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) and Data Center Bridging (DCB) protocols. These network adapters must be compatible with the Windows Server 2016 Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) to ensure maximum performance.
Network Switches: You also need network switches that support RDMA and DCB protocols for SMB Direct to work. These switches should be configured to support PFC (Priority Flow Control) and ECN (Explicit Congestion Notification) for better performance and stability.
Storage: SMB Direct can be used with both local and remote storage, but for best performance, you should use Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) or iSCSI Target Server on a Storage Area Network (SAN). Your storage solution should also support RDMA and DCB protocols for maximum performance.
Network Adapters that Support RDMA
RDMA-capable network adapters are required for enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 201These adapters use specialized hardware to bypass the network stack and allow direct memory access between servers, resulting in faster data transfers with lower CPU utilization.
Some popular RDMA-capable network adapters include the Mellanox ConnectX-3 and ConnectX-4 series, as well as the Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X710 and X520 series. These adapters are designed to deliver high-performance networking for a variety of applications, including virtualization, cloud computing, and storage.
When selecting an RDMA-capable network adapter, it’s important to ensure that it is compatible with the rest of your hardware and software infrastructure. You should also consider factors such as cost, power consumption, and support for advanced features like quality of service (QoS) and packet filtering.
Network Infrastructure that Supports DCB
DCB (Data Center Bridging) is a collection of standards that help ensure reliable and efficient data transfer across a network. To enable SMB Direct, the network infrastructure must support DCB. This means that the network switches must be configured to support DCB, and the network adapters used in the servers must support DCB as well.
DCB helps ensure that SMB Direct traffic is prioritized over other types of network traffic, such as web browsing or email. This ensures that the SMB Direct traffic gets to its destination quickly and efficiently, reducing latency and improving throughput. DCB also helps to prevent packet loss, which can be a problem with high-speed network connections.
It’s important to note that not all network equipment supports DCB, so it’s important to check the documentation for your network equipment to ensure that it supports DCB. If your network equipment doesn’t support DCB, you may need to upgrade your equipment to enable SMB Direct.
How to Check if Your Server Supports SMB Direct?
If you are running Windows Server 2016 or later, chances are that your server supports SMB Direct. However, to be sure, you can follow these steps:
Step 1: Open PowerShell as an administrator.
Step 2: Type the following command:
Get-SmbServerNetworkInterface | Select-Object Name, SmbDirect
Step 3: If the output of the command includes the value “True” in the “SmbDirect” column for any network interface, then your server supports SMB Direct on that interface.
Step 4: You can also check if the network adapter supports RDMA by using the command “Get-NetAdapterRdmaStatus”. If the output shows that “RdmaCapability” is “True” for any adapter, then it supports RDMA.
Step 5: Additionally, you can check if the network infrastructure supports Data Center Bridging (DCB) by using the command “Get-NetQosPolicy”. If the output shows that “DCB” is “True” for any policy, then the infrastructure supports DCB.
By following these steps, you can determine if your server, network adapter, and infrastructure support SMB Direct and RDMA. This will enable you to take advantage of the improved performance and reduced latency that SMB Direct provides.
Using PowerShell to Check for SMB Direct Compatibility
If you want to check if your server supports SMB Direct, PowerShell is a quick and easy way to do it. Here are the steps:
Open PowerShell as an Administrator: To open PowerShell as an administrator, right-click on the PowerShell icon and select “Run as Administrator.”
Run the command: Type the following command into the PowerShell window and hit enter:
Get-SmbServerNetworkInterface. This command will show you a list of network interfaces that support SMB.
Check for RDMA Support: Look for the “RdmaCapable” field in the output of the previous command. If the value is “True,” it means that the network interface supports RDMA and can be used with SMB Direct.
PowerShell provides a simple and straightforward way to check if your server supports SMB Direct. With just a few commands, you can easily determine whether your network interface supports RDMA and take advantage of the improved performance and reduced latency that SMB Direct provides.
The Get-SmbConnection PowerShell cmdlet can be used to verify whether SMB Direct is enabled on a Windows Server 2016 system. The cmdlet returns information about current SMB connections, including whether RDMA is being used.
To use the Get-SmbConnection cmdlet, open PowerShell and type the following command:
- Get-SmbConnection | Select-Object -Property RDMA – This command will display all SMB connections and show whether RDMA is enabled.
- Get-SmbConnection | Select-Object -Property RDMA | Format-List – This command will display the same information but will format the output as a list.
- Get-SmbConnection | Select-Object -Property RDMA | Format-Table – This command will display the same information but will format the output as a table.
- Get-SmbConnection | Where-Object $_.RDMAConnectionFlag -eq ‘True’ – This command will display only the SMB connections where RDMA is enabled.
If RDMA is enabled on a connection, the output will include the RDMAConnectionFlag property set to ‘True’. If RDMA is not enabled, the property will be set to ‘False’ or will not be included in the output.
Step-by-Step Guide to Enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016
Step 1: Verify that your hardware meets the requirements for SMB Direct, including network adapters that support RDMA and a network infrastructure that supports DCB.
Step 2: Install the latest updates for Windows Server 2016, including the latest network drivers for your network adapters.
Step 3: Enable SMB Direct by running the Set-SmbClientConfiguration and Set-SmbServerConfiguration PowerShell cmdlets, and configuring your network adapter properties to enable RDMA and DCB.
Step 4: Test SMB Direct by copying large files between SMB file shares, and verifying that the transfer uses RDMA and provides improved performance compared to traditional SMB.
Step 5: Monitor SMB Direct performance using performance monitoring tools such as Performance Monitor and Event Viewer, and optimize settings as needed to achieve the best performance for your workload.
Enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016
If you are using Windows Server 2016 and want to take advantage of faster data transfer speeds between servers, then enabling SMB Direct is a must. SMB Direct, also known as SMB over Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), allows for high-speed data transfer with low latency and low CPU utilization. Enabling SMB Direct requires a few steps but can be accomplished with ease.
The first step in enabling SMB Direct is to ensure that your network adapters support RDMA. Check the specifications of your network adapter to see if it supports RDMA. If it does, enable RDMA on the network adapter by going to the device manager, selecting the network adapter, and then enabling RDMA under the advanced settings.
Next, enable SMB Direct on your Windows Server 2016 machine. This can be done using Windows PowerShell by running the following command: Enable-NetAdapterRdma. This command enables RDMA on all network adapters that support it.
Finally, you can verify that SMB Direct is enabled by running the following command in PowerShell: Get-SmbClientConfiguration. This command will display the configuration of the SMB client, including whether or not SMB Direct is enabled.
- RDMA: Remote Direct Memory Access
- SMB: Server Message Block
- Windows PowerShell: A task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration
- Network adapter: A hardware component that enables a computer to connect to a network
Enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016 can greatly improve data transfer speeds between servers. With low latency and low CPU utilization, SMB Direct is a great option for high-speed data transfers. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily enable SMB Direct on your Windows Server 2016 machine.
|1||Check if your network adapter supports RDMA||N/A|
|2||Enable RDMA on the network adapter||Enable-NetAdapterRdma|
|3||Verify that SMB Direct is enabled||Get-SmbClientConfiguration|
Verifying and Testing SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016
Now that you have enabled SMB Direct on your Windows Server 2016 machine, it’s important to verify that it’s working properly. One of the easiest ways to check this is by using the Windows Performance Monitor tool.
To do this, launch the Performance Monitor tool and create a new data collector set. Under the “Data collector set type” section, select “Performance counter” and click Next. From there, select the “SMB Client Shares” and “SMB Server Shares” performance counters, which will give you information on the performance of your SMB connections.
Once you have collected the data, you can analyze it to determine the performance of your SMB Direct connections. Look for metrics such as Bytes Sent/Sec and Bytes Received/Sec to get an idea of the throughput of your connections. You can also look at metrics such as Read Bytes/Sec and Write Bytes/Sec to see the read and write performance of your SMB connections.
Another way to test your SMB Direct connections is by using the Windows PowerShell command line interface. Simply run the following command to initiate a test:
This command will return a list of all active SMB connections on the system, including details such as the connection status, the number of open files, and the total number of bytes transferred. This can give you a quick overview of the performance of your SMB connections.
If you want to get more detailed information about the performance of your SMB Direct connections, you can use the Get-SmbClientNetworkInterface and Get-SmbServerNetworkInterface cmdlets. These cmdlets will give you detailed information about the network interfaces used by your SMB Direct connections, including metrics such as BytesReceived, BytesSent, and BytesPerSecond.
By following these steps, you can verify and test the performance of your SMB Direct connections on Windows Server 201This will help you ensure that your network is performing optimally and that you are getting the most out of your SMB connections.
Verifying SMB Direct Configuration Using PowerShell
PowerShell is a powerful tool for verifying your SMB Direct configuration on Windows Server 2016. Here are three simple commands you can use:
Use this command to display the SMB connections that are currently established. You should see a value of “RDMA_V1” in the “Transport” column for each connection, indicating that SMB Direct is being used. If you don’t see this value, then SMB Direct is not configured correctly.
Use this command to display the SMB client configuration on the server. The “SmbDirect” property should be set to “True” if SMB Direct is enabled. If this property is set to “False”, then you need to configure SMB Direct before you can use it.
Use this command to display the SMB server configuration on the server. The “EnableSMBDirect” property should be set to “True” if SMB Direct is enabled. If this property is set to “False”, then you need to enable SMB Direct before you can use it.
Using these PowerShell commands will allow you to quickly and easily verify your SMB Direct configuration on Windows Server 2016, ensuring that you are getting the performance benefits of this technology.
Testing SMB Direct Performance Using File Copy Operations
After verifying that SMB Direct is configured properly on your Windows Server 2016, you can start testing its performance using file copy operations. Robustness, reliability, and speed are essential factors to consider when testing SMB Direct performance.
To test the robustness of SMB Direct, create a large file, and copy it multiple times from the server to a client machine. This will test whether the connection can withstand a sustained data transfer for a prolonged period. To test reliability, perform the same test but with a smaller file size and disconnect and reconnect the client machine intermittently to see if the connection can recover.
To test speed, use a large file and measure the time it takes to transfer it from the server to the client machine using different methods, such as copying over a regular network connection, using SMB Direct, or using a third-party tool. This will give you an idea of the speed improvement gained by using SMB Direct. Benchmarking is important when testing speed, and it’s recommended to test the transfer speed multiple times and calculate the average.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is SMB Direct and why is it important on Windows Server 2016?
SMB Direct is a feature that enables high-speed data transfer between servers and clients by utilizing network adapters with Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability. This can significantly improve performance and reduce CPU utilization during file transfers.
What are the prerequisites for enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016?
The server and client machines must have compatible network adapters with RDMA capability, and the network infrastructure must support the necessary RDMA protocols such as RoCE or iWARP. Additionally, you must be logged in as a member of the Administrators group to enable SMB Direct.
What are the steps to enable SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016?
The steps to enable SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016 include: 1) verifying that the necessary prerequisites are met, 2) enabling RDMA on the network adapters, 3) configuring the SMB server to use SMB Direct, and 4) enabling SMB Direct on the client machines.
What are some common issues that may occur when enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016?
Some common issues that may occur when enabling SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016 include incompatible hardware, incorrect configuration settings, and network connectivity issues. It is important to verify all prerequisites are met and to follow the proper steps when enabling SMB Direct.
How can you test the performance of SMB Direct on Windows Server 2016?
You can test the performance of SMB Direct by using file copy operations to transfer large files between servers and clients. Monitoring tools such as Performance Monitor can also be used to track the performance of the network adapters and other system resources during file transfers.