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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Server Message Block
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protocol (SMB) A client/server protocol that provides
file and printer sharing between computers. In addition SMB
can share serial ports and communications abstractions such
as named pipes and mail slots. SMB is similar to remoteprocedure call (RPC) specialised for file system access.
SMB was developed by Intel, Microsoft, and IBM in the
early 1980s. It has also had input from Xerox and 3Com.
It is the native method of file and print sharing for
Windows NT all include SMB clients and servers. SMB is also
used by OS/2, Lan Manager and Banyan Vines. There are
SMB servers and clients for Unix, for example Samba and
SMB is a presentation layer protocol structured as a large
set of commands (Server Message Blocks). There are commands
to support file sharing, printer sharing, userauthentication, resource browsing, and other miscellaneous
functions. As clients and servers may implement different
versions ("dialects") of the protocol they negotiate before
starting a session.
The redirector packages SMB requests into a network controlblock (NBC) structure that can be sent across the network to
a remote device.
SMB originally ran on top of the lower level protocols
NetBEUI and NetBIOS, but now typically runs over TCP/IP.
Microsoft have developed an extended version of SMB for the
most cases replaces SMB. CIFS runs only runs over TCP/IP.