System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems

The NFS Environment

NFS is a distributed file system service that can be used to share resources (files or directories) from one system, typically a server, with other systems on the network. For example, you might want to share third-party applications or source files with users on other systems.

NFS makes the actual physical location of the resource irrelevant to the user. Instead of placing copies of commonly used files on every system, NFS allows you to place one copy on one system's disk and let all other systems access it from the network. Under NFS, remote files are virtually indistinguishable from local files.

For more information, see Chapter 4, Managing Network File Systems (Overview), in System Administration Guide: Network Services.

A system becomes an NFS server if it has resources to share on the network. A server keeps a list of currently shared resources and their access restrictions (such as read/write or read-only access).

When you share a resource, you make it available for mounting by remote systems.

You can share a resource in these ways:

For information on how to share resources, see Chapter 18, Mounting and Unmounting File Systems (Tasks). For a complete description of NFS, see Chapter 4, Managing Network File Systems (Overview), in System Administration Guide: Network Services.

NFS Version 4

Sun's implementation of the NFS version 4 distributed file access protocol is included in the Solaris release.

NFS version 4 integrates file access, file locking, and mount protocols into a single, unified protocol to ease traversal through a firewall and improve security. The Solaris implementation of NFS version 4 is fully integrated with Kerberos V5, also known as SEAM, thus providing authentication, integrity, and privacy. NFS version 4 also enables the negotiation of security flavors to be used between the client and the server. With NFS version 4, a server can offer different security flavors for different file systems.

For more information about NFS Version 4 features, see What’s New With the NFS Service in System Administration Guide: Network Services.