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Lesson 6

NFS Client RPC Protocol Conclusion

NFS is useful when you want to have a central location for a group of files or you want to make file storage and software upgrading easier and more robust. For example, you know how to configure clients to use an NFS volume for their /home directory structure. This is certainly not the limit of NFS's capabilities; you can also organize NFS volume sharing to centralize information for many purposes. The mount options allow you to configure NFS's timeout parameter and make your NFS communications efficient by setting the read and write block sizes.
You also learned about the RPC protocol that facilitates communications for NFS and other network protocols. Remote Procedure Calls also provide a layer of transparency, hiding the source of remote information from user applications.

Learning objectives

Having completed this module, you should now be able to:
  1. Describe the NFS
  2. Define and explain RPC
  3. Use the mount command to access NFS shares
  4. Use /etc/fstab to automate the NFS client-side mounts

When groups of people need to work together on projects, they usually need to share documents. Likewise, it can be efficient for groups of people on a computer network to share common applications and directories of information needed to do their jobs. A common way to centrally store and share files on a network is by setting up a file server.
Red Hat Linux includes support for each of the most common file server protocols in use today. The Network File System (NFS) has always been the file sharing protocol of choice for Linux and other UNIX systems. Networks with many Windows and OS/2 computers tend to use Samba (SMB protocol). Prior to Samba, NetWare was the most prominent file server software used on local area networks (LANs). This module discussed how to set up file servers and clients associated with NFS, Samba, and NetWare file servers.

Goals of Setting Up a File Server

By centralizing data and applications on a file server, you can accomplish several different goals:
  1. Centralized distribution: You can add documents or applications to one location and make them accessible to any computer or user that is granted permission. In this way, you don’t have to be responsible for placing necessary files on every computer.
  2. Security: You can control who has access to the file server on one computer instead of distributing the information to every computer and trying to control it.
  3. Transparency: Using protocols such as NFS, clients of your file server (Windows, Linux or UNIX systems) can connect your file systems to their local file systems as if your file systems existed locally. In other words, no drive letters. Just change to the remote system's mount point and you are there.

Glossary terms

The following terms were introduced in this module:
  1. Mount: To create a link from a directory name in the root hierarchy to a source of information. Sources of information include hard-disks, CD-ROMs, floppies, and drives on networked computers.
  2. Network File System: A protocol that uses remote procedure calls to mount remote drives to the local filesystem.
  3. Remote Procedure Call: A protocol through which applications receive information over a network without explicit knowledge of the network.
  4. fstab: Identifies the devices for common storage media (hard disk, floppy, CD−ROM) and locations where they are mounted in the Linux system. This is used by the mount command to choose which file systems to mount.
The next module covers system processes.

Network File System - Quiz

Before moving on to the next module, click the Quiz link below to test your understanding of NFS.
Network File System - Quiz