Nutanix Files: SMB Migration Guide

  • 9 July 2020
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This guide provides an overview of best practices and considerations when migrating from third-party platforms to Nutanix Files when using the SMB protocol. We also walk through an example of how to perform a migration.


Directory Structure and Storage Requirements

When migrating to Nutanix Files, first take an inventory of the share and directory structure of the source. Nutanix Files distributes ownership of file shares across the cluster in different ways depending on the share type (distributed versus standard). Note the largest single directories or largest file shares.

Performance Requirements

Know how many user connections a given share or a given Files namespace requires. If possible, also document any storage IOPS or throughput requirements. Most sizing exercises assume that the system uses all nodes in the Nutanix Files cluster. It is ideal, from both a user connectivity and storage performance perspective, to distribute the workload evenly across the Nutanix Files cluster as a part of migration.

Namespace Requirements

Nutanix Files clusters represent a single namespace. You can change this namespace as needed to match an existing environment after migration. Nutanix Files also supports the use of DFS namespaces. If you are using DFS-N, create distributed shares to use as your migration target.

Default Permissions

Nutanix Files assigns default permissions for newly created SMB shares. There are three default (BUILTIN) groups for Nutanix Files: Administrators, Users, and Backup Operators. The BUILTIN\Administrators group includes <YourDomain>\Domain Admins, as well as any file server admins you specify from Prism or the CLI. The BUILTIN\Users group contains <YourDomain>\Domain Users. The BUILTIN\Backup Operators group is empty by default but can include any backup admins you specify from Prism or the CLI.

The default permissions assigned to the Administrators and Users groups depend on the share type.

  • Standard share

    • BUILTIN\Administrators: Allow FullControl

    • BUILTIN\Users: Allow FullControl

  • Distributed share

    • BUILTIN\Administrators: Allow FullControl

    • BUILTIN\Users: Allow ReadAndExecute, Synchronize

Requirements and Recommendations

Based on the Nutanix Files architecture, follow these recommendations when migrating from third-party platforms to Nutanix Files using the SMB protocol.

  • Distribute migrated data as evenly as possible across either multiple standard shares or multiple top-level directories in a distributed share.

  • For user profile directories, use distributed shares and distribute the profiles via top-level directories.

  • Keep the total standard share size or top-level directory size within the maximum for your Nutanix Files version:

    • 40 TB for Files versions prior to 3.2.

    • 140 TB for Files 3.2 or later.

Note: You can expand shares created with an earlier 3.x version of Files to support 140 TB after upgrading to 3.2.

  • Limit total connections for a standard share to the connection limit of a single FSVM.

  • Limit total SMB user connections across all shares to the connection limit aggregate of all FSVMs.

  • Scale your FSVMs out or up as needed for your current or future needs.

  • If you’re planning to use DFS-N with Nutanix Files, use distributed shares.

  • Apply all user permissions for the migration source (or for Nutanix Files after migration) using Active Directory Users or Groups.

  • Nutanix Files requires an Active Directory domain functional level of Windows 2008 or later.

  • Use Prism to add the Active Directory user account performing the migration as an admin for the Nutanix Files instance.

Note: Access-based enumeration (ABE) prevents users from viewing folders they don’t have access to. Some existing environments may have permissions applied at the subfolder level where the user does not have access at the parent-folder level. Enabling ABE prevents users who only have subfolder-level permissions from browsing the folders. If you must enable ABE, you can map these users directly to the subfolder where they have permissions or create a nested share.


Migration Tools

The following tools can help when migrating data to Nutanix Files (and sometimes when performing other functions as well). This list is not exhaustive; it presents a few examples of tools we have seen customers use successfully for migrations.


For an understanding of this scenario, the provided documentation has a Migration example, with testing and validation plans, along with finalizing the process of moving from a legacy file server share to Nutanix files:

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