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How to make symbolic links (widelinks) work for CIFS clients on ONTAP

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  • ONTAP allows for both CIFS and NFS access to the same datastore through shares and exports. This datastore can contain symbolic links created by UNIX clients.
  • UNIX symbolic links can point anywhere from the perspective of the client.
  • If a symbolic link is relative and points to another location within the same export, the link will behave the same for other NFS clients traversing the link.
  • If the link points to a different export, and all clients mount that alternate export over the same mount point, all other NFS clients will again observe the same behavior when traversing the link.
  • The storage system can overlay a UNIX-style symbolic link with a DFS referral, so CIFS clients also get redirected. If the links are relative links, and stay within the share, the storage system knows how to map these transparently.
  • If a symbolic link is absolute, or points to a different export, a mapping rule can be created to make sure the links resolve CIFS clients to the appropriate destination (be it a different CIFS share on the same node, or a share on a different CIFS server).
  • ONTAP does not currently support the creation of symlinks via any version of SMB.
    • The feature is being tracked under enhancement request 930915.
  • A symlink created by a UNIX client that links to another directory will be presented as a simple directory to the CIFS client, and not presented as an NTFS symlink. This can cause clients to issue operations against the symlink that would not normally occur if the symlink were advertised as an NTFS symlink.
    • See enhancement request 1025108 for more details.

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