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Network file system (NFS)

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Network File System

Network file system (NFS)

Network File System(NFS) is a server/client architecture developed by Sun Microsystems in 1984 to support sharing on local area networks. It is a mechanism for sharing files that allow retrieving data from multiple disks and directories across a shared network. Clients can view, store, and update files over a remote computer the same way as on their local computers. Today we mainly use NFSv3, NFSv4, and NFSv4.1. for client and server-side local file sharing.

Advantages

  • Clients shares file on the network which eliminates the need for a local disk and hence reduces the cost of data storage.
  • NFS is easy to manage and affordable file-sharing solution that requires NFS mounting support on the client side.
  • Every user can access the same files, hence data remain updated.
  • The process of mounting the file system is transparent to all users.

Disadvantages

  • Security is the first and foremost concern, given that NFS is based on RPCs which are inherently insecure and must be used only on a trusted network behind a firewall.
  • The NFS protocol requires a complex establishment before data transfer. The NFS protocol requires various steps to read and write data, which equates to a ton of overhead for someone actively interacting with today’s AI/ML/DL workloads that consume an extensive number of small files.
  • A maximum of 1MB of data can be transferred during one read or write request with the current Network File System protocol. During 1984, 1MB was considered to be a large amount of data, but that’s not the case today.

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