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NFS Architecture and Components
(Page 2 of 2)
Other Important NFS Functions
Aside from these three components,
the NFS protocol as a whole involves a number of other functions, some
of which I think are worth specific mention:
- Mount Protocol: A specific decision was
made by the creators of NFS to not have NFS deal with the particulars
of file opening and closing. Instead, a separate protocol called the
Mount protocol is used for this purpose. Accessing a file or
other resource over the network involves first mounting it using
this protocol. The Mount Protocol is architecturally distinct, but obviously
closely related to NFS, and is even defined in an appendix of the NFS
describe it in the last topic of this section.
(Note that in NFSv4 the functions of the Mount Protocol have been incorporated
into NFS proper.)
- NFS File System Model: NFS uses a particular
model to implement the directory and file structure of the systems that
use it. This model is closely based on the file system model of UNIX
but is not specific to only that operating system. It
is discussed in conjunction with the explanation of the Mount Protocol.
- Security: Versions 2 and 3 of NFS include
only limited security provisions. They use UNIX style authentication
to check permissions for various operations. NFS version 4 greatly increases
the security options available for NFS implementations. This includes
both the option of multiple authentication and encryption algorithms,
and many changes made to the protocol as a whole to make it more security
Like other TCP/IP protocols, NFS
is implemented in the form of client and server software that implements
the functions above. The NFS standards, especially for versions 3 and
4, discuss numerous issues related to proper NFS client/server implementation,
including interaction between servers and clients, file locking, permission
issues, caching, retransmission policies, international support and
more. Many of these issues require extensive discussion that is beyond
the scope of this Guide. You will want to refer to the standards for
NFS, especially versions 3 and 4, for full details.
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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