SMB Network Home Folders


Afternoon Jamf Nation! Been wracking my brain on the following issue for some time, and wanted to find out if anyone has some tips, tricks, or insight into this.

We have a Mac mini server (macOS 10.11) w/ a PROMISE RAID attached setup as our network home folders server. We had been previously been using an AFP connection from our lab iMacs to the server when our users logged in with their AD creds, but last year we switched over to SMB (given AFP's death march). Since then I've been hearing rumblings from our users that they experience all sorts of weird issues, but most prevalent is the following. The SMB connection doesn't disconnect from the server when a user logs out (I can still see the SMB connection in the Server app from the labs IP). The strange thing is if the computer is restarted before the connection is disconnected (manual disconnection from within the Server app) the computer gets black screen and pinwheel, and will sit there for DAYS. Only way to get around this is to power down the computer via the power button.

We do have some folder redirection to local folders for applications that REALLY REALLY don't like network home folders (looking at you iMovie & Logic), but we see these symptoms even on computers that don't have the folder redirection scripts setup on them, so I am tempted to rule out those as being the culprit. Is it really that the SMB protocol just sucks that bad on macOS?

Also open to some ideas about not using Network Home Folders if someone has an alternative that allows users to access their data on any of our lab computers they log into.

Thanks for any help you can provide!



Curious if anyone has any thoughts on this. Thanks for any help you can provide!

New Contributor III

I inherited almost the exact same setup as you are describing. Mac Pro 2013 server, with an older PROMISE RAID storage connected to it. running on the Mac Pro. Around 100 connected lab iMacs with redirected home folders pointed to the server.

Worked quite well pre El Capitan. For us AFP didnt work when we upgraded our labs to El Capitan and SMB were/is just awful in this regard. We've had such a massive headache with getting it to work that we've ended up scrapping redirected home folders for mobile accounts with local home folders instead. Users then have to save the data they are working with to a network volume that they themselves have to mount. (just a homebuilt apple script disguised as an .app that mounts a network share)

We had massive issues with redirected home folders mainly due to programs crashing on launch, especially the Adobe CC suite and Pro Tools. They were also highly unstable with beachball of deaths, slow speed and file locks that seemed to occurred at random for users.

Ever since we switched from redirected homefolders to mobile accounts with local homefolders we've drastically reduced headaches all around. The mobility for the users isn't as great as before, but stability and speed are so much better.