Appearing to take a lead in providing access to shared files and data from NFS (Unix) and CIFS (Windows NT) clients, file server company Network Appliance Inc this week ships a second release of the Windows networking software which includes SecureShare file locking mechanism to protect the integrity of data when accessed by different clients. Until now, Network Appliance says, customers would typically utilize a NetApp file server to access Unix and NT data partitioned in a storage subsystem but not access the same data. Now NFS and CIFS clients using a NetApp server can share a single copy of the same data. The software is implemented in a 4.3 release of the company’s Data Ontap microkernel which fits on a floppy disk. SecureShare implements a Unix file permission mechanism – the company promises an native implementation of Windows NT’s file permission system in the first quarter of next year, along with Windows NT Server manager. Unlike arch-rival Auspex Systems Inc, Network Appliance does not use emulation provided by AT&T Co’s Application Server for Unix, effectively an implementation of NT networking services on Unix. The only difference between native and emulated tasks means that the latter runs in user space and accesses the kernel through interfaces while native implementations run more quickly as they reside in kernel space. Both Network Appliance and Auspex are extending their products to provide access to shared data and well as shared storage services for NFS and CIFS file servers. Network Appliance says it’s adding NT quote management to its Windows services and will enhance all of its work for NT 5.0 compatibility. Its core business remains sales of its NFS file servers. The Windows Networking software costs between $2,000 and $18,000 depending on which NetApp file server is used. Network Appliance says it’s now so confident of our CIFS filers, that we challenge Auspex to a head-to-head performance test using Netbench, the Ziff-Davis benchmark for evaluating CIFS performance, if and when their product gets ready.
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