Apple moves away from AFP

In an interesting move, Apple have announced that they will start migrating away from the AFP file sharing protocol to SMB2 with OS X Mavericks.

Ever since classic Mac OS, AFP has been Apple’s preferred file sharing protocol. While Apple maintained AFP, the rest of the industry, lead by Microsoft, developed an alternate file sharing protocol, SMB. While AFP was Apple’s first choice protocol, they have also always supported SMB to add compatibility with PC networks but to be honest their implementation always seemed half hearted.

Historically Apple implemented SAMBA, an open source project which implemented SMB for non Windows clients. But since Mac OS X 10.7 Apple have developed and maintained their own version of SMB, called SMBX. This was mainly due to SAMBA incorporating a new software license which made it very difficult for Apple to supply the software in a commercial product.

Over the years SMB has over taken AFP in terms of security and performance so with OS X Mavericks SMB2 will now be the default file sharing protocol.

So if OS X Mavericks connects to another Mavericks machine or window Vista,7 or 8 PC it will by default use SMB2. Apple will still bundle AFP for compatibility with older Mac clients and servers.

Going forward this could aid Apple in the Enterprise space. Have better SMB support with corporate file servers is just another tick in the box and one less thing to worry about.

For more technical information about OS X Mavericks, Apple has a nice PDF which can be found here.

One question though, at what point will Apple drop support for AFP as they did with the likes of AppleTalk in the past?

 

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