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SoftNAS allows you to create shares via the Apple Filing Protocol(AFP) . Support of AFP allows Mac users to quickly and easily integrate with SoftNAS storage. Much like a CIFS share, AFP allows multiple clients to access and update the same file while preventing conflicts by providing file sharing and file locking.

SoftNAS Cloud® uses Netatalk AFP server for secure, stable, and fast file sharing and print services. Using Netatalk's AFP 3.3 compliant file-server leads to significantly higher transmission speeds compared with Macs accessing a server via SaMBa/NFS, while providing clients with the best possible user experience (full support for Macintosh metadata, flawlessly supporting mixed environments of classic Mac OS and OS X clients).

Note: Before creating a new file share, configure the default Netatalk network environment settings.

Adding an AFP Volume through Volumes and LUNS

The following guide assumes you are creating a new AFP share on a new volume and pool. If you have already created a pool, skip to volume creation below. An AFP volume can be created on a storage pool that also has CIFS volumes, NFS volumes, and iSCSI LUNs.

In order to create a new AFP volume, you first need an available disk, partitioned and ready. Open Disk Devices, and partition an available disk, by selecting Create Partition. If none is available, create a disk via any one of the available disk extenders via Add Device (and then partition via Create Partition). Once partitioned, the device should read "Available to assign" under Device Usage.

Next, go to Storage Pools, and create a pool using the available disk, or disks. If performing a RAID configuration, you will need more than one disk. Select Create to create a new pool. If you already have an existing storage pool you wish to add your volume to, skip this step, and select the desired pool when creating your volume.

In the Create wizard:

  1. Provide a new pool name.

  2. Select the RAID level appropriate for your environment from the dropdown.

  3. Select the disk or disks required for your RAID selection.

  4. Click Create

  5. Once you have created a storage pool, select Volumes and LUNS from the Storage Administration Panel on the left, then click Create.

In the Create Volume popup:

  1. Provide a Volume Name.

  2. Type in the pool name, or click Storage Pool to search for the desired pool.

  3. For an AFP volume, select the Filesystem (NFS, CIFS) radio button.

  4. Check the box for 'Share via AFP'.

  5. Click Create.

Note: It is possible to have a filesystem configured with any combination of NFS, CIFS, or AFP enabled. However, in this case we are selecting only AFP. By default, Export via NFS will be checked. Uncheck it, unless you intend to use both protocols.

Your AFP volume is created. Go to AFP Volumes to finish configuring.

Configuring Apple File Network Sharing

  1. In the Left Navigation Pane, select the AFP Volumes option under the Storage section.
    The Netatalk AFP Server panel will be displayed. AFP Volumes created following the steps above will appear here. From here, configure and manage AFP sharing. 

  2. If you have a volume created, check the box to select it, then scroll down. Click Server Options to edit your settings.
    The Edit Global Settings panel will appear.
    In this panel, you can configure the global connection settings for your share. This section allows you to provide server settings, specify alternate AFP ports, set up authentication, set alternative location for log files, and more. 

    Once your global settings are configured, return to the Netatalk AFP Server by clicking Return to index page
    Note: If creating an AFP share from an AWS or other cloud storage, be sure to add port 548 for AFP traffic.

  3. If you had not created an AFP Volume already, you could have selected Create new volume in order to create/configure your AFP Volume. You can also select Create new Volume Preset in order to set standard settings for your volume. However, best practice is to create volumes from the Volumes and LUNs tab. 

    As we have created a volume, click the Volume Name to enter the Edit Volume screen. 

Settings from Volume creation will carry over. However, you can change any settings required from here.

  1. Presets:
    A preset is a set of parameters for a new AFP volume that you do not have to configure. Rather than re-entering each setting, you can select a preset to populate all the required/desired fields. Presets are created via the Create New Volume Presets option under Netatalk AFP Server. If no presets are available, enter the data manually. 

  2. Name:
    The name of the fileshare to be created. 

  3. Path:
    The path used to connect to the new share. 

  4. Extended Attributes:
    Extended attributes on OS X allow applications to store additional metadata alongside data files. Here you can determine whether this additional metadata should be stored. 

  5. Read Only:
    Govern whether files within the share are editable or read-only. 

  6. Search DB:
    If enabled, Search DB can speed up searches via CatSearch significantly in special cases: It then uses a separate database (db) that's normally used by netatalk to remember the correlation between a file and the "CNID" . It can use that db to look up items by name, making this lookup much much faster than performing a directory tree walk to match the names. 

  7. Unix Privileges:
    Enables Unix Privileges for AFP permissions. 

  8. Time Machine/Time Machine Password:
    Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) added support for Time Machine backups over AFP. Two new functions ensure that backups are written to spinning disk, not just in the server's cache. Different host operating systems honor this cache flushing differently. SoftNAS and Netatalk offer Time Machine support, allowing backup and recovery of your files. To enable this for the volume in question, switch Time Machine Support to "yes", and provide a password. 

  9. Users and Groups:
    Configure users and groups who will have access to the data and applications stored within the file share. 

    The Edit Volumes screen contains the same options as Create New Volume, if you elected to skip the volume creation process above. An AFP Volume can be created from within AFP Volumes as well. Again, best practice is to create volumes from the Volumes and LUNs tab.