System Administration Guide: Network Services

NFS Version 3 Protocol

An implementation of NFS version 3 protocol was a new feature of the Solaris 2.5 release. Several changes have been made to improve interoperability and performance. For optimal use, the version 3 protocol must be running on both the NFS servers and clients.

Unlike the NFS version 2 protocol, the NFS version 3 protocol can handle files that are larger than 2 Gbytes. The previous limitation has been removed. See NFS Large File Support.

The NFS version 3 protocol enables safe asynchronous writes on the server, which improve performance by allowing the server to cache client write requests in memory. The client does not need to wait for the server to commit the changes to disk, so the response time is faster. Also, the server can batch the requests, which improves the response time on the server.

Many Solaris NFS version 3 operations return the file attributes, which are stored in the local cache. Because the cache is updated more often, the need to do a separate operation to update this data arises less often. Therefore, the number of RPC calls to the server is reduced, improving performance.

The process for verifying file access permissions has been improved. Version 2 generated a “write error” message or a “read error” message if users tried to copy a remote file without the appropriate permissions. In version 3, the permissions are checked before the file is opened, so the error is reported as an “open error.”

The NFS version 3 protocol removed the 8-Kbyte transfer size limit. Clients and servers could negotiate whatever transfer size the clients and servers support, rather than conform to the 8-Kbyte limit that version 2 imposed. Note that in the Solaris 2.5 implementation, the protocol defaulted to a 32-Kbyte transfer size. Starting in the Solaris 10 release, restrictions on wire transfer sizes are relaxed. The transfer size is based on the capabilities of the underlying transport.