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COV ITRM Glossary


Common Internet File System (CIFS)


A proposed standard protocol that lets programs make requests for files and services on remote computers on the Internet. CIFS uses the client/server programming model. A client program makes a request of a server program (usually in another computer) for access to a file or to pass a message to a program that runs in the server computer. The server takes the requested action and returns a response. CIFS is a public or open variation of the Server Message Block Protocol (SMB) developed and used by Microsoft. The SMB Protocol is widely used in today's local area networks for server file access and printing. Like the SMB protocol, CIFS runs at a higher level than and uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocol. CIFS is viewed as a complement to the existing Internet application protocols such as the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). CIFS lets you:

  • Get access to files that are local to the server and read and write to them
  • Share files with other clients using special locks
  • Restore connections automatically in case of network failure
  • Use Unicode file names

In general, CIFS gives the client user better control of files than the File Transfer Protocol. It provides a potentially more direct interface to server programs than currently available through the Web browser and its use of the HTTP protocol. CIFS is an Open Group standard, X/Open CAE Specification C209, and has been proposed to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an Internet application standard.


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