Tuxera makes SMB compression available for Linux

Tuxera, a Finnish software firm, has introduced Microsoft SMB file compression to Linux. “We can open up entirely new use cases for enterprise customers – especially for hosted storage and software-defined storage vendors,” Heinrich von Keler, director of enterprise solutions, said.

Compressing SMB files for network transfer saves transit time and bandwidth. Tuxera has added SMB compression to its Fusion File Share by Tuxera software. The implementation is based on Microsoft’s documentation, and the company said compatibility is seamless between Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. 

Microsoft made SMB file compression for Windows Server in September this year with the Robocopy /compress and Xcopy /compress parameters. The company intends to extend this feature to Azure.

Robocopy, or “Robust File Copy”, is a command line file and file directory replication facility. The Robocopy compression removes ‘white space’ from a file – things like spaces, carriage returns, tabs, and also repeated byte patterns. Virtual machine disks, raw graphics, scientific data, and other large file formats may contain a lot of white space and can shrink substantially when it is removed . 

Szabolcs Szakacsits, Tuxera CTO said: “This feature is … highly useful in Microsoft Hyper-V or virtual environments, where there are large disk images containing lots of repeated byte patterns. Those repeating bytes are easy to compress and can be moved rapidly over the network. So, very large containers or disk images used by virtual machines can be migrated to another server with minimal downtime in between.”

Tuxera claims compression is on par with Microsoft’s implementation, with transfer speed-ups of 30 – 300 per cent, and network bandwidth savings of 20 –70 per cent, depending on the data pattern.

A chart in this Microsoft Tech Community post shows the effects of SMB Compression on file transfer throughput:

Microsoft compression effect chart.