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Questions about basic stability

Posted: 05/18/2015 13:31:02
by  Tony G
I looked at Dokan many years ago and have started to look at the latest DokanX and DokanY options. To be fair I'm also coming back to the source to see what's happening with CBFS.

Before I start, please note that I have never seen CBFS in action and have no idea whether this user base is generally happy or not with their usage of this platform. This is a completely open inquiry.

My basic question is very simple: How much can we trust CBFS? I don't mean that as a negative question. It's a very simple and realistic question which I hope can be answered. My fear in adoption of CBFS is that I will build a product over it, sell to end-users, offer Them support, and then find myself responding to calls about BSOD, data corruption, or other instabilities. This is why I haven't used Dokan or its derivatives. Are we subject to being in permanent maintenance mode or is there such a thing as a stable FUSE-based app over Windows?

How much can we trust that CBFS will be ported, functional, and supported over Windows 10 and other current client and server platforms? How well does it work over Windows 7 or 8.0 or 8.1? Whenever I think about this I picture a grid of platforms and features with a bunch of green checks and red crosses to indicate whether a feature does or doesn't work properly - with more red than green.

I see the risks are about the same between a commercial offering and FOSS. With CBFS there is a single developer/entity, and with the FOSS there are also just a few individuals who are qualified to maintain the code. With CBFS we pay for the product, but does that really guarantee that it will work, or just that we will get "support"? There's a huge difference!

I can't accept a standard sales/marketing line like "we do our best to assure quality" or "we respond to every trouble call quickly and effectively". None of that kind of rhetoric is a real guarantee of stability. "Don't worry" is not an acceptable statement of quality.

What would help is a count of open issues, a count of open and closed issues over the recent releases (I have seen recent release notes), some indication of how long some issues have been open, and a list of chronic issues that seem to keep coming back (like BSOD, locks, or platform-specific issues). With this kind of data and comments from existing users, we can draw our own conclusions about how effective "our best" is and what "quickly and effectively" really mean.

A forum is a requirement to allow people to discuss the software, but most people tend to use a forum just to report problems, not to report success. It would really help to see threads that show nothing but the successful implementations that people have achieved. And I don't just want to hear about how great Support is - I want to hear from people who don't need to spend a lot of time with Support! The best support is support that you don't need to call. That tells us how good the docs are and how hassle-free the product is.

Again, this is all intended to be positive. Something as low-level as file access needs to be very carefully evaluated.

Thanks for your time.
Posted: 05/18/2015 13:59:54
by Eugene Mayevski (Team)

Thank you for your interest in our products.

You are asking open questions ("how well does CBFS do this or that" and requesting a completed and specific answer. This not something easy to achieve.

To answer your question I'd like to welcome you to review the change list on https://www.eldos.com/files/cbfs5/changes.txt . This will give you an idea, how often issues are discovered and fixed and what number of issues is reported. I don't think we have statistics of how long the issues stay opened, so we can't provide it.

In general BSODs are fixed as soon as possible, and the update is issued ASAP as well. Issues for which workarounds exist are fixed in the normal development course (i.e. BSOD issues have priority, then other issues go), and updates are released on schedule (once in 4-6 weeks if there's anything to update).

Windows 10 support will go to CBFS 6, which is currently being worked on. AS for overall stability -- we have customers using CBFS 2, 3 and 4 in production (including some very widespread products) and they don't feel a need to upgrade to version 5. This is the good evidence that CBFS is stable in each of its releases.

If you'd like to get feedback from the customers - well, I hope that someone will answer you, but satisfied customers don't need to go to the forum, so there's little chance that your question will be seen by them. I am sorry. But you can find CBFS in publicly available products of Microsoft, EMC and other major software players, and that should say more than a forum post.

Sincerely yours
Eugene Mayevski
Posted: 05/21/2015 13:03:12
by Eaton Zveare (Standard support level)
Joined: 11/28/2011
Posts: 22

CBFS customer here.

I have been using it since 2011. I have a relatively large amount of active clients and I can't remember the last time someone reported a BSOD or incident of data corruption. As long as YOUR CODE is implemented in the way that the driver expects, you probably won't have any problems. Any issues I have had were always promptly fixed or workarounds were supplied.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with CBFS. It's always being updated and there really isn't any other product on the market right now that can compare (Dokan seems to have died in 2009). You should also check this out: https://www.eldos.com/articles/8-reasons-to-choose-commercial-library-instead-of-open-source-one.php
Posted: 05/21/2015 13:26:13
by Eugene Mayevski (Team)

Thank you for your kind words, Eaton.

Dokan's last version was released in '2011. Now there exist two forks (dokanx and dokany) where maintainers try to update original Dokan for their needs.

The real question is "why there are no alive and stable open-source solutions" and the answer is that the cost to maintain and test such solutions is quite high, while the scope of users and uses is not large enough to justify sponsorship (all successful open-source projects are sponsored by large commercial organizations, not by community). Even some commercial projects which existed 10-15 years ago are long gone now.

We can keep CBFS and other driver products afloat because we offer many software libraries which complement each other and so development and maintenance costs (which are quite high) are spread across these products.

Sincerely yours
Eugene Mayevski
Posted: 05/26/2015 06:51:02
by Jurgen Bettonviel (Basic support level)
Joined: 05/26/2015
Posts: 1

Another former customer of CBFS here:

I used to build both enterprise as shrinkwrap solutions with CBFS with a large user base (1000+). Never had any showstopping bug or BSOD in the field. Although CBFS is not your straightforward component and CBFS depends heavily on how the Windows filesystem is working internally and your implementation of the callbacks. But if you're looking for a tight and flexible integration with the windows filesystem I think CBFS is the best and the fastest way to achieving that. You'll find more errors in your implementation of the callbacks than in the CBFS components... ;-)

Support from Eldos was always fast and thorough. I was very satisfied.

Posted: 05/27/2015 19:40:57
by Henri Hein (Standard support level)
Joined: 02/13/2015
Posts: 14

Hand up for "Satisfied CBFS customer." I am currently working on the second solution using CBFS. When the time came for a need to integrate with a Virtual File System product, we did not hesitate to choose CBFS again. That should tell you a lot right there.

We have found the product stable, to address your main concern, and I also want to highlight the superb customer service we get from Eldos. They always treat our problems seriously and keep working with us until a solution is found.

Henri Hein
Thin Air Labs, Inc



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