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Azure Files SMB Multichannel provides improved performance for clients

Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 introduced SMB Multichannel technology for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 client. This feature allows SMB 3.x clients to establish multiple network connections to the SMB server 3.0 for greater performance over multiple network adapters and/or by taking advantage of NIC Receive Side Scaling (RSS).  Today, we are announcing the preview of Azure Files SMB Multichannel on premium tier. With this release, Azure Files clients can now take advantage of this technology with premium file shares in the cloud.

Benefits of Azure Files SMB Multichannel

SMB Multichannel allows multiple connections over the best network path that allows for increased performance due to parallel processing. The increased performance is achieved by aggregation over multiple NICs and/or with NIC support for RSS that allows distributed input/outputs (IOs) across multiple CPUs and dynamically load balancing.

Benefits of Azure Files SMB Multichannel include:

  • Higher throughput: Makes this feature suitable for applications with large files with large IOs, such as media and entertainment, for content creation and transcoding, genomics, and financial services risk analysis.

  • Increased input/output operations per second (IOPS): Increased IOPS is especially useful for small IOs scenarios like in database applications.

  • Network fault tolerance: Multiple connections allows no disruptions despite the loss of a network connection.

  • Automatic configuration: Dynamic discovery and creation of multiple network paths once this feature is enabled on client and service.

  • Cost optimization: Achieve higher scale from a single virtual machine (VM) client and allows to hit VM limits. To reach Azure Files premium bandwidth and IOPS scale, applications now require fewer VM clients to achieve the required scale.

To learn more about this feature, see how to Deploy SMB Multichannel guide in Windows documentation.

Pricing and availability

The SMB Multichannel for Azure Files premium storage accounts come at zero additional cost. Refer to the pricing page for further details on premium tier pricing.

Currently, SMB Multichannel preview on premium shares is available in limited regions for Windows SMB 3.x clients. We are quickly expanding the coverage to all Azure regions. Stay up to date on region availability by visiting Azure Files documentation.

Get started

Learn more about feature capability and SMB Multichannel performance in the Azure Files documentation. To get started you will need to register your subscription for SMB Multichannel feature preview. Once the registration is complete, you can enable or disable SMB Multichannel on premium storage accounts (FileStorage) in one of supported regions with a click of a button. Please refer to step-by-step guidance on how to enroll in the preview program.


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