The Common Internet File System (CIFS), also known as Server Message Block (SMB),
is a standard remote file system access protocol over the Internet, enabling
groups of users to work together and share documents and printers across the
Internet or within corporate intranets. CIFS allows multiple clients to access and
update the same file, while preventing conflicts with sophisticated file sharing
and locking semantics. It also permits aggressive caching and read-ahead and
write-behind without loss of cache coherency, thereby increasing the performance,
which is the backbone of today’s sophisticated enterprise computer networks. CIFS
complements HTTP and provides more sophisticated file sharing and file transfer
than older protocols, such as FTP.
File sharing between PC operating systems, such as Windows®, is commonly
implemented using the CIFS protocol, and file sharing between AIX® systems has
been implemented using the Network File System (NFS) protocol. Since these two
protocols being non-interoperable, products like AIX Fast Connect and AIX SMBFS
allow PC clients to access and share files on the AIX server and vice versa.