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Network File System: Introduction

by Mike Weber

On Linux, NFS is a common method of sharing files. NFS provides clients the opportunity to access files on a central server. Using the normal client/server format, the server provides files that are transparently mounted on the clients to allow easy access to the NFS files.

This process is called exporting and is configured on the server through the /etc/exports file.

Uses for NFS:

1.Central Server management for users. Using this method the administrator provides a central server that mount user's home directories in the /home directory. This enables a central back-up for all user files and eliminates the restrictions of users having important files on computers in another office when they change locations.

2.Central Server management of projects. In some office settings users are spread out throughout the building and yet will need to access project files that will be worked on by others. The central server provides the file locking and management needed to insure that files are not corrupted by other users.

3.The Terminal Server uses NFS to mount the entire system for diskless computers. This is a fantastic method of employing older hardware for terminals that give fast access to the Linux system.

4.Use NFS to be a central server for rpms needed to update your systems. Here is an example of an idea to create an NFS mount for all of your systems that has all of the needed rpms for your distribution. Copy all of the rpms to a central server then when you need to add an application or rebuild a computer everything is available and you do not have to look for cds.