OSX: Network drive browsing slow for network accounts
Posted on 2011-02-15
Background: I work in a mixed environment of Windows and Mac clients, both access network drives using the SMB protocol. All of the SMB shares are hosted on Server 2003, Server 2008, or Server 2008r2 servers. Windows machines can browse the network drives without slowdown (assume network drives are on site), however, all of the computers running the Mac OS have slow browsing problems (mostly OSX 10.6, but 10.5 and 10.4 have the same problem). All Macs are bound to the same Active Directory Forest/Domain and so users log in with Domain credentials.
Example: On a Mac running 10.6.6 I have a network drive mapped on my desktop, say to smb://server/serverCommon$. When I initially connect the drive it takes about 5 seconds to mount the drive (not a big deal), however, when I access a folder within the mounted drive, it can take a significant amount of time to open that folder, up to 30 seconds. There DOES seem to be a correlation between the number of items in a folder and the time it takes to display said items (e.g. a folder containing a few documents takes a few seconds, but a folder containing many documents/folders takes much longer). This problem is consistent for all of our Mac clients regardless of which Windows Server version they are running. On the same test Mac I have Parallels installed and the Windows install IS able to browse at a very quick speed.
The following configurations have made NO difference:
- Wired connection vs. Wireless
- Anti-virus vs. No-antivirus
- OSX 10.6, 10.5, 10.4
- Mapping drives by IP address as opposed to server Name
The following workaround DID make a difference (but is not a viable option):
- Using an unmanaged Mac and connecting to the network drive, I'm able to browse the network drive just as fast as Windows
- Using a managed Mac (bound to Active Directory), but logging into the computer under a LOCAL account (doesn't authenticate with Active Directory) and then using Domain credentials to connect to the network drives. Doing this allowed me to connect and browse network drives as quickly as a windows PC.
Testing Conclusion: based on the findings above there seems to be a very strong correlation between being logged into the Mac with a Domain account and browsing drives slowly.
My Thoughts: When opening a network drive on a Mac, the computer has to query the server as to what files/folders can be displayed using the credentials supplied by the user. For some reason, this process takes MUCH longer when the user is logged into the Mac using a Domain account than it does when using a local account. This may be due to a difference in how a Domain account authenticates with the SMB server vs. how a local account authenticates, even though it maps network drives using the same Domain credentials.
Question: Is there anything that can be done to speed up network drive access for users logged into a Mac bound to Active Directory with a Domain account? I've tried everything I can think of and simply logging into the Mac with a local account and mapping the drives with domain credentials is NOT an option. Thoughts?