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Common Internet File System (CIFS)

What is CIFS (Common Internet File System)?

First things first, CIFS is not just a breathy synonym for SMB. It is a specific version of SMB which was developed by Microsoft in 1996 and rebranded as the Common Internet File System. Problem was, it became infamous for being buggy, chatty, and generally not performing well. The rebranding attempt was abandoned in 2006 when Microsoft came out with SMB 2.0.

In its day, CIFS was used to share files remotely via IP, which worked in conjunction with FTP and HTTP.

How does CIFS work?

CIFS uses the client-server model to share files across distinct network systems:

  1. A client sends a request to a server.
  2. The server fulfills the request.
  3. The server sends a response back to the client.
  4. Server grumbles to other servers that no one ever tips

Where might CIFS be used today?

CIFS still finds a few odd jobs today. It's sometimes used for sharing Windows files with Linux systems and in outdated enterprise networks.