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[Solved] Network volumes - Mount as afp or smb?


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The more I dig in, the more confused I get. I'm trying to understand the best way to mount network volumes to my macs. For my particular case it's a Drobo 5N, but in general, what's the recommended way to mount network volumes?

I believe I was reading that afp is the old way and we should now be using smb. However, I'm afraid I got caught trying to switch over. Perhaps I should have left things as they were. 

I had been using afp for both finder and CCC backups. To do that, I selected my Drobo5N from the Finder and then selected the volume to mount. This mounted as afp. To mount it with smb, I had to use the "Connect to Server" menu option from the Finder and put in the IP address. This IP address then showed up in the Finder window's sidebar and I could select the volume to mount.

Then when I attempted to run my CCC clone backup to the smb mounted network volume, it ultimately crashed my M1 mac and rebooted.

So I'm back to my questions: What the best way to mount network volumes, afp or smb?

Is there a way to have my smb mounted Drobo show up as a name, such as Drobo5N, in the Finder sidebar, rather than the IP address?

Confused in network land.


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1 Answer

Your Mac should not have crashed.  That would indicate some instability in Big Sur related to SMB protocol, and/or maybe something specific to the M1 implementation.


Carbon Copy Cloner really wants a macOS volume along with all the file system specials Apple implements for a macOS volume.  AFP supports all those macOS file system extras.


SMB DOES NOT.  SMB comes from the Windows world, and does not provide protocol features for macOS file system special features.


SMB vs AFP.   Basically SMB is faster, and feature rich in Windows file system extras.  AFP is not as fast, but knows all about macOS file system extras.


Carbon Copy Cloner wants those macOS file system extras.   Stick with AFP.


As to the crash, again, that must be something wrong in the Big Sur SMB implementation.  No user space app, program or utility should be able to panic the operating system.  But they can tickle something broken in the operating system. 


I got this from THE CCC guru in answering a problem I had and tracks with datafornothing recommendation - backing up to the NAS volume directly and mount the NAS via AFP instead of SMB.

Mike Bombich
Bombich Software, Inc.

Thank you. I will keep things on afp until I hear otherwise.