Replacing the OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) SMB Stack with Samba3

A couple months back, I was excited to hear that Apple was working on a new SMB stack for their new operating system, OS X 10.9. However, once it finally hit, I realized that the new stack was even worse than the old one. I was unable to mount CIFS or SMB shares on our local storage cluster (a lovely 2 petabyte capacity Isilon cluster), getting error messages in system logs that looked like the following:

2/24/14 2:47:34.000 PM kernel[0]: smb_smb_ssnsetup: HOSTNAME doesn’t support extended security, this server will be deprecated in the future!

I started to wonder if replacing Apple’s stack with the SMB stack provided by Sambawould be a good idea. It was. If you are using any storage appliance and have found that your SMB/CIFS access has been effectively cut off, or that it’s incredibly slow, read the following steps to replace your SMB stack in OS X.

  1. Install Homebrew – Using OS X as a sysadm has been mostly a blessing, but sometimes a curse. OS X has a great BSD based core and ships with many utilities found in other *nixes, but more than often those versions have various nuances that make me want to switch to the GNU provided versions. Homebrew allows you to download packages simply by running a ‘brew install programname’ in the Terminal. (After installing Homebrew, make sure you run a ‘sudo vim /etc/paths’ and move ‘/usr/local/bin’ to the top. This places /usr/local/bin in a higher priority when your system searches your $PATH for whatever binary you’re trying to execute.
  2. Once you have Homebrew installed (make sure you run ‘brew doctor’ to ensure all dependencies are installed)
  3. Next, install the Homebrew provided version of Samba. Currently, the version is at 3.6.20 (the command should be ‘brew install samba’)
  4. Homebrew will install this version of Samba to /usr/local/Cellar/samba/3.6.20 — if you aren’t familiar with the history of the /usr/local directory, read this) (if you understand the purpose of /usr/local, you’ll realize that installing here is completely safe and will not overwrite any of your operating system’s components). Homebrew creates a symlink to any binaries made in the /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin folders.
  5. Next, we need to unload Apple’s netbios and samba daemons (Daemons is another term for services in the *nix world).

    sudo launchctl stop
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

  6. Next, we need to create plist files that point to the new versions of smbd andnmbd. These files will need to be created in /Library/LaunchDaemons/ — the contents and names of the files should be match the following (notice the location of the smbd and nmbd binaries — /usr/local/sbin/, where smbd and nmbd are symlinked to their respective binaries at /usr/local/Cellar/samba/3.6.20):

    (I’m currently experimenting with the -D and -F flags for both of these services. For a description of the flags, check out the man pages for the respective service)

  1. Now that you have the services’ plist files ready, go ahead and launch them.
    sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.samba.smbd.plist

    sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.samba.nmbd.plist

  2. If you don’t have any shares currently open, the changes should take effect immediately. However, I highly suggest a restart after this process.
  3. Enjoy your new SMB3 stack! Immediately I noticed MUCH faster transfer speeds. Example: Grabbed a 900MB ISO off of a share in 6 seconds!



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