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Lesson 1

Network File Services with NFS

Computers show their power when they are networked. What one machine can do, a networked collection can do better. Sharing files is one example. Centralized, networked files give an unlimited number of users access to the same data from anywhere in the world.
NFS (Network File System) is Linux's file-sharing muscle. With NFS, users can access files and directories from the next cubicle or the next continent. Without physical boundaries, work becomes easier and more productive.
However, improperly configured NFS systems can spell disaster, because your files could fall into the wrong hands. In this module, you will learn what NFS is, how to mitigate the risks of using it, how to set it up on Red Hat Linux, and how to use it to maximize your machine's productivity. In the next lesson, you will learn about the Network File System.

Learning objectives

After completing this module, you will be able to:
  1. Describe the Network File System
  2. Explain the relationship between remote procedure calls and NFS
  3. Configure a NFS server
  4. List potential NFS security problems and resolutions
  5. Start and stop NFS
  6. Display currently mounted NFS filesystems
  7. Mount remote filesystems automatically with automounter
  8. List common NFS problems and resolutions

Working with File Systems

File systems in Red Hat Linux are organized in a hierarchy, beginning from root (/) and continuing downward in a structure of directories and subdirectories. As an administrator of a Red Hat Linux system, it is your duty to make sure that all the disk drives that represent your file system are available to the users of the computer. It is also your job to make sure that there is enough disk space in the right places in the file system for users to store the information they need. File systems are organized differently in Linux than they are in MS Windows operating systems. Instead of drive letters (e.g., A:, B:, C:) for each local disk, network file system, CD-ROM, or other type of storage medium, everything fits neatly into the directory structure. It is up to an administrator to create a mount point in the file system and then connect the disk to that point in the file system.
The organization of your file system begins when you install Linux. Part of the installation process is to divide your hard disk (or disks) into partitions. Those partitions can then be assigned to:
  1. A part of the Linux file system,
  2. Swap space for Linux, or
  3. Other file system types (perhaps containing other bootable operating systems.)