CIFS/SMB Connector (Multi User)

Last updated on June 15, 2020

(New in 1906.07 - Appliance Only)

For the single-user CIFS/SMB connector click here.

The CIFS/SMB connector provides end-users with access to their data stored within the CIFS/SMB shares via the Enterprise File Fabric and its' multiple channels of access, including web, desktop, and mobile. This can be CIFS shared that are on-premises, for example NAS, SAN or Windows Filers, and access is required out of the office or for for remote working and/or it can be for access to hosted SMB shares such as Azure Files or Amazon FSx.

The connector binds Identity and Access Management from the Enterprise File Fabric (integrated via Active Directory / LDAP integration) with the permissions of the underlying file shares to provide users with secure access into the SMB storage, whilst ensuring that users only see and access data that they have permissions to from the underlying shares.

Your existing administrators will continue to manage and maintain file share permissions directly from the SMB file shares. Furthermore, any changes made on the file shares, whether file, folders, or permissions related are reflected immediately within the Enterprise File Fabric.

Enterprise File Fabric (EFF) requirements:

  • Version 1906.07 or higher
  • Organization user account with Administrator role
  • Organization connected to your Active Directory via the LDAP Auth Connector.
  • AD Administrative account

To begin adding the connector, it must first be enabled in your applicable Package from your appladmin account. In the Package options, ensure that the SMB (multi-user) connector is checked for it to be available to the organization.

Next, logging into the Organization Admin account, visit the Dashboard and click the Add new provider button.

From the dropdown list, select SMB (multi-user) and then click Add provider.

On the next screen, you will be presented with the following fields:

  • Name — This will be the friendly name of the provider. Your users will see this inside of their accounts.
  • Username - The provider will index the storage using an identity that can access the entire storage estate, normally the Administrator user. This field accepts the Username, and should include the domain, for example “AD\Administrator”.
  • Password - This is the password for the account used in the Username field.
  • Share Path - This is the UNC path to the SMB Share. Enter a Unix compatible path, for example:

    / /londoncifs/sharename

  • Protocol version - This is used to control the SMB protocol version that is used. As of writing, 3.0 is the most secure and most recommended version to use.
  • Use SMBClient for Listing - Using the smbclient can have performance benefits and is recommended.
  • Binding LDAP - A prerequisite noted for this connector is an already established Active Directory connection via LDAP. This should be the same AD domain that is integrated with your SMB share. You should select this Enterprise File Fabric Authentication System from the list.

Before proceeding with the next step, it is advisable to review the number of threads that will be used for the Synchronization. Increasing the thread count can improve the rate at which the storage is indexed. For details on increasing that, please see this guide.

Once completed, click Continue.

At this point, the EFF will connect to the SMB share, and perform a Provider Sync of the storage metadata.

During the phase of Provider Synchronization, the root directory of the provider will be made automatically into a Shared Team Folder, and permissions on this directory and its subdirectories will be set according to the permissions of your underlying storage.

You can monitor the Provider Sync from the Provider Information screen.

Once the Synchronization has been completed, you should open the Dashboard and set the Real-time refresh option to On. If this option is not present on your Dashboard, then it may need to be enabled from the appladmin's account under Site Functionality.

The SMB connector automatically establishes itself as a Shared Team Folder. The permissions on its directories and subdirectories will be automatically managed by the EFF.

When users next login to the EFF, they will observe a team shared folder at the root of their view, with access to the data stored on the filer.

If you need to add multiple SMB shares, this can be done by repeating the above steps.

  • By design, this connector cannot be added by individual org members to create personal providers as it involves creating a Shared Team Folder for the organization's users.
  • For each SMB provider that you add, you will find a shared team folder created in the root of the Organization account. The File Fabric reads the permissions for the file shares, whether you are mounting the root of a file share, or if you are mounting a sub-path of the share. Where DFS is fronting the shares, all users will have access to the DFS root, and the shares within the DFS server will have permissions applied accordingly.
  • Often versioning and trash should be disabled, as the SMB file system will handle these capabilities natively.
  • To prevent overloading your LDAP server with repeat requests, caching of user groups and SIDs is done within the EFF. The default cache expiration time is 300 seconds. This can be tuned using the following configuration parameter:

    var $cifsldapcachetime = 300;

  • The EFF will automatically manage specific mount points on the EFF host machine. Operations performed by users, such as opening, editing and sharing are performed on the individual user's mounts. This underpins the security of the connector.
  • It is recommended to have the following configuration option enabled:

    var $cifs_passwd = '1';

  • If a user receives the message “Password not found for user. Please re-login”, they are advised to log-out and re-login again. This occurs when shares are added after users have begun authenticating.
  • It is recommended on the first setup to add this connector using your Organization Admin account, and not a 'delegated admin' account.

For guidance in adding, modifying, or deleting configuration parameters, please follow our guide here.

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