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NFS Illustrated

NFS Illustrated

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  • Copyright 2000
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-309136-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-309136-6

The Network File System (NFS) protocol that enables remote access to files is now a key element of any LAN. It is also currently and increasingly used as a key technology with the Web and wide area networks.

Written for programmers creating NFS-based applications, network engineers creating new implementations of NFS, and network managers, NFS Illustrated promotes a thorough understanding of that protocol through extensive diagrams and real protocol traces that show NFS in action. Covering NFS versions 2 and 3, the book also looks into WebNFS and the new NFS version 4, with Internet support. Detailed and authoritative, the book not only examines NFS in depth, but also describes the protocols that underlie and support it, including External Data Representation (XDR), Remote Procedure Call (RPC), the NFS MOUNT protocol, and the NFS Lock Manager protocol. It discusses several NFS variants and compares NFS to a number of alternative file systems.

You will find a detailed discussion on the NFS filesystem model and a procedure-by-procedure description of NFS versions 2 and 3, illustrated through the use of snoop traces that capture and display protocol packets from the network. In addition, the book addresses real-world implementation issues faced by those building an NFS client or server, factors that affect NFS performance, and critical performance benchmarks.

Specific topics of interest include:

  • NFS version 4, highlighting performance improvements, security features, and cross-platform interoperability for Internet operation
  • RPC authentication and security
  • Differences between NFS versions 2 and 3
  • Implementation issues for clients and servers
  • Read-ahead and write-behind
  • Caching policies
  • The Lock Manager protocol
  • Automounting
  • NFS variants, including Spritely NFS, NQNFS, Trusted NFS, and NASD NFS
  • NFS competitors: RFS, AFS, DCE/DFS, and CIFS
  • The PCNFS protocol for implementing NFS on PC operating systems
  • SPEC SFS benchmarks, WebNFS, and firewalls

Comprehensive and current, NFS Illustrated is an essential resource for network professionals who want to use this widespread and evolving technology to its fullest.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

(Each chapter concludes with a Summary.)



File Access and File Transfer.

Early File Access Protocols.


Organization of This Book.

XDR—External Data Representation.

Protocols and Transportable Data.

A Canonical Standard.

XDR Unit.

Primitive XDR Data Types.


Unsigned Integer.


Hyper Integer and Unsigned Hyper Integer.

Fixed-Length Opaque Data.

Variable-Length Opaque Data String.

Structured XDR Data Types.

Fixed-Length Array.

Variable-Length Array.

Discriminated Union.

Linked Lists.

XDR Language.

Notational Conventions.

Lexical Notes.

Syntax Information.

Syntax Notes.

Example of an XDR Data Description.

XDR Language Variant in This Book.


Remote Procedure Call Model.

RPC Transport Independence and Semantics.

Program Numbers and Versioning.

Requirements of the RPC Protocol.

RPC Call Message.

RPC Reply Message.

Record-Marking Standard.

Portmapper and Rpcbind.

Portmap Protocol.

Rpcbind Protocol.

RPC Authentication.

RPC Credential and Verifier.

Authentication Flavors.

Null Authentication.

System Authentication.

Diffie-Hellman Authentication.


DH Authentication Verifiers.

Nicknames and Clock Synchronization.

DH Authentication Protocol.

DH Full Network Name Credential and Verifier.

DH Nickname Credential and Verifier.

Server Verifier.

Diffie-Hellman Encryption.

Weaknesses of DH Authentication.

Kerberos Version 4 Authentication.

Kerberos Naming.

Kerberos-Based Authentication Protocol Specification.

Kerberos Full Network Name Credential and Verifier.

Kerberos Nickname Credential and Verifier.

Server Verifier.

Kerberos-Specific Authentication Status.


Weaknesses of Kerberos Authentication.

RPCSEC__GSS Authentication.

RPCSEC__GSS Security Protocol.

RPCSEC-GSS Credential.

Context Creation.

Successful Creation Response.

Unsuccessful Context Creation.

RPC Data Exchange.

Data Integrity Protection.

Data Privacy.

Server Processing of RPC Data Requests.

Server's Reply.


Performance of RPCSEC-GSS.

Snoop Trace of Session.

Connection-Based Security.

NFS Filesystem Model.

Filesystem and Filesystem Objects.



Filename Component Handling.

Pathname Evaluation.

Stateless Server.

Server Recovery.

Idempotent Operations.

Statelessness and High Availability.

NFS Version 2.

Common Data Types.

Server Procedures.

NULL—Do Nothing.

GETATTR—Get File Attributes.

SETATTR—Set File Attributes.

LOOKUP—Look Up File Name.

READLINK—Read from Symbolic Link.

READ—Read from File.

WRITE—Write to File.

CREATE—Create File.

REMOVE—Remove File.

RENAME—Rename File.

LINK—Create Link to File.

SYMLINK—Create Symbolic Link.

MKDIR—Create Directory.

RMDIR—Remove Directory.

READDIR—Read from Directory.

STATFS—Get Filesystem Attributes.

NFS Version 3.

Changes from the NFS Version 2 Protocol.

Deleted Procedures.

Modified Procedures.

New Procedures.

Filehandle Size.

Maximum Data Sizes.

Error Return.

File Type.

File Attributes.

Set File Attributes.

32-Bit Clients/Servers and 64-Bit.


Basic Data Types.


Basic Data Types.

Server Procedures.

NULL—Do Nothing.

GETATTR—Get File Attributes.

SETATTR—Set File Attributes.

LOOKUP—Look Up Filename.

ACCESS—Check Access Permission.

READLINK—Read from Symbolic Link.

READ—Read from File.

WRITE—Write to File.

CREATE—Create a File.

MKDIR—Create a Directory.

SYMLINK—Create a Symbolic Link.

MKNOD—Create a Special Device.

REMOVE—Remove a File.

RMDIR—Remove Directory.

RENAME—Rename File or Directory.

LINK—Create Link to an Object.

READDIR—Read from Directory.

READDIRPLUS—Extended Read from Directory.

FSSTAT—Get Dynamic Filesystem Information.

FSINFO—Get Static Filesystem Information.

PATHCONF—Retrieve POSIX Information.

COMMIT—Commit Cached Data on a Server to Stable Storage.

NFS Implementation.

File Attributes.

Unsupported Procedures.

Multiple Version Support.

Last Close Problem.

Crossing of Server Mountpoints.

Problems with Hierarchical Mounts.

Permission Issues.

Identifying Users.

Access to Open Files.

UID/GID Mapping.

Checking File Access.

Executable Files.

Concurrent RPC Calls.

Duplicate Request Cache.

Synchronous Operations and Stable Storage.

Adaptive Retransmission for UDP.

Read-ahead and Write-behind.

Write Gathering.

Caching Policies.

Cached Objects.

@AHEADS = Cache Consistency.

Close-to-Open Consistency.

Read and Write Caching.

Disk Caching.

Disconnection and Reconnection.


NFS MOUNT Protocol.

Protocol Revisions.



Access Lists.

Server Procedures.

NULL—Do Nothing.





MOUNTPROC__EXPORT—Return Export List.



POSIX Pathconf.


MOUNT Table.


Export Limitations.

NFS Lock Manager Protocol.

Monitored Locking.

Advisory vs. Mandatory Locks.

Exclusive and Nonexclusive Locks.

Asynchronous Procedures and Callback.

DOS/Windows File Sharing Procedures.

Server Crash Recovery.

Lockd and Statd Implementation.

Client Crash Recovery.

Deadlock Detection.

Locking Cached or Mapped Files.

Transport and Authentication.

Basic Data Types.


Lock Manager Procedures.

NULL—Do Nothing.

NLM__TEST—Test for a Lock.

NLM__LOCK—Create a Lock.

NLM__CANCEL—Cancel a Lock.

NLM__UNLOCK—Remove a Lock.

NLM__GRANTED—Lock Is Granted.

NLM__SHARE—Share a File.

NLM__UNSHARE—Unshare a File.

NLM__NM__LOCK—Establish a

Nonmonitored Lock.

NLM__FREE__ALL—Free All Locks.

Network Status Monitor Protocol.

SM__NULL—Do Nothing.

SM__STAT—Check Status.

SM__MON—Monitor a Host.

SM__UNMON—Unmonitor a Host.

SM__UNMON-ALL—Unmonitor All Hosts.

SM__SIMU-CRASH—Simulate a Crash.

SM__NOTIFY—Notify a Host.


Automounter as NFS Server.

Problems with Symbolic Links.

Automounting with Autofs.

Automounter Maps.

Master Map.

Direct Map.

Indirect Map.

Executable Map.

Offset Mounts.

Multiple Mounts.

Replica Servers.

Map Variables and Key Substitution.

MOUNT Options.

Amd Automounter.

Nonblocking Operation.

Server Keepalives.

Map Syntax.

NFS Variants.

Spritely NFS.

Stateful Server.








Other Features.

Trusted NFS.

AUTH__MLS Credential.

Extended Attributes.

Filename Attributes.

TNFS Interoperability.


NASD Storage.

Locating the Data.

Data Security.

Other Distributed Filesystems.

Remote File Sharing.

Remote System Calls.

RFS Naming.

Security and UID/GID Mapping.

Andrew File System.

File Caching.

Shared Namespace.

Volume Movement.

Read-only Replication.



Cache Consistency with Tokens.

DFS Namesp. 0201325705T04062001


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