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We’re often asked if AFP is still required as Macs support SMB out of the box

And if your company is one of the estimated 80% of enterprise organisations which have Mac and mobile users who need to access files and documents in a mixed Mac-Windows environment, or if you’re looking to retire your ageing Mac servers you should know that Windows and Macs communicate with one another differently.

Cross Platform Management

Typically when Mac users try to access Windows file and print servers via SMB (Server Messaging Block) they typically experience performance, data integrity, search slowness and many other issues, and your business is impacted in many ways.

With over a decade of experience of integrating and supporting companies in creative industries or enterprise organisations that have creative departments we know from experience that the happiest, most productive users connect to their servers by AFP (Apple File Protocol).

As a long established and authorised Acronis Partner we recommend Acronis Access Connect (formerly ExtremeZ-IP) for a truly seamless Mac/Windows integration experience.

Check out the 4 main benefits of Acronic Access Connect below or call our team of cross-platform integration experts on 0800 007 3040

Explore our cross platform management services now here.

AFP Solutions to SMB Problems+

Mac OS X has always supported two network protocols:

  • AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) is Apple’s native file sharing protocol for Mac.
  • SMB (Server Messaging Block) is the native file sharing protocol for Windows and is typically used for NAS storage.

With each OS X update, Mac SMB compatibility has evolved. But even with the SMB3 protocol support introduced in OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac users continue to report frustrating problems, especially with key applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud/Suite.

Acronis Access Connect can overcome common and critical Mac SMB problems with improved AFP support, including:

  • Long delays mounting shares, browsing folders, and opening files
  • Slow file searches and lack of file content search capabilities
  • File corruption
  • Disappearing files
  • Crashing applications
  • Permissions problems
  • Non-functional Windows shortcuts
  • Disconnected sessions
  • Locked files and file naming issues

IT managers in thousands of companies have found that by connecting to file shares with the native AFP protocol, their Mac users can stop suffering from these SMB problems, improving productivity while reducing frustration and help desk calls. This ultimately results in the lowering of costs and higher profitability.

And since Acronis Access Connect is a server-side solution, all Macs are automatically supported, whether they’re running older or new versions of OS X.

Fast Spotlight Searching+

When Mac users connect over SMB to a Windows or NAS file share, they lose the fast Spotlight filename and content searches they’re used to when searching locally or against an OS X Server. Acronis Access Connect solves that by linking Spotlight searches to a server-side index. For files on Windows servers, it links seamlessly with the native Windows Search service. Since the Windows Search service can’t index NAS shares, Acronis Access Connect now includes a new indexing option: Acronis Content Indexing, which can index filenames, content, or both on any file share, including supported NAS devices, making searches hundreds of times faster.

Either way, Macs connected to file shares over AFP can then search filenames or content across very large collections of files to quickly find the files they need.

New! With the new mobile device support in Acronis Access Connect 10 users can even search Windows-based file shares from their phones or tablets.

Mac/Windows Integration+

Acronis Access Connect is designed from the ground up to integrate Macs with any size Windows environment, from workgroup servers to clustered VMs and NAS.

It’s fully integrated with Active Directory and NTFS permissions – Mac users can log in with their standard credentials and get the expected permissions to their files.

And with the Acronis Access Connect Network Reshare feature (enterprise subscription license required), Macs can use AFP to access files on other Windows servers and NAS devices, through a single server.

Acronis Access Connect easily integrates with key Windows infrastructure elements expected by IT, including:

  • Kerberos / Single Sign On
  • DFS / Network Reshare
  • Home directories
  • Clustering
  • Quotas
  • File name policies
  • Advanced logging

It also supports the features and rich experience Mac users expect:

  • Fast Spotlight Searching
  • Time Machine backups
  • Unix / ACL permissions
  • Print queue support
  • Domain password change (through the AFP connection dialog)
Secure Mobile access to Files+

Acronis Access Connect expands beyond Macs to provide fast, seamless file access for mobile devices, including those for iOS, Android, and Windows phones and tablets. The Access mobile clients provide rich file browsing, full content searching, file previewing and editing, as well as automatic synchronization for working offline.

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