Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CIFS Developer Jobs Going Wanting

The 2011 SNIA SDC: Storage Developers Circus


From the very start of this year’s conference, it was clear that the market for CIFS talent was hot.  There were a lot of companies hiring.  Microsoft’s drive, over the past few years, to deliver and improve upon the SMB2 suite has caused several storage vendors and startups to invest in SMB/CIFS and SMB2 engineering.  The new SMB2.2 version will only amplify this effect.
The problem, though, is that there aren’t enough CIFS geeks to go around, and those that are available are typically very high-level engineers; CIFS Geek gods.
In the NFS market, a company in Silicon Valley can put a sign in the window that says “NFS Help Wanted”, and a line will form.  Employers are used to being able to hire developers with a recent CS degree who know how to mess around with NFS, because NFS is taught in Colleges and Universities.  That’s what happens with open standards.
Such is not the case in the CIFS world.
CIFS isn’t taught anywhere, there is only one book on CIFS protocol internals available, and until a couple of years ago there weren’t any protocol specifications at all. AntXAs a result, the current pool of CIFS geeks generally had to come up through the ranks in one of two ways:  Either they were already high-level engineers who had a compelling need to enter the murky swamp, or they were newbies who got thrown in at the deep end and managed to swim—and avoid getting eaten by the AndX monsters.  Chomp.
Now that Microsoft has published their official specifications (see [MS-CIFS][MS-SMB], and [MS-SMB2] as starting points), entry into the CIFS world should be a little bit easier.  The availability of specifications also means that more companies are trying to implement these protocols in their products, so more developers with SMB/CIFS/SMB2 know-how are needed.

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