Setting Up An NFS Server And Client On Debian Lenny

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Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Wed, 2009-04-29 16:58. :: Debian | Storage

Setting Up An NFS Server And Client On Debian Lenny

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
Last edited 03/12/2009

This guide explains how to set up an NFS server and an NFS client on Debian Lenny. NFS stands for Network File System; through NFS, a client can access (read, write) a remote share on an NFS server as if it was on the local hard disk.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

I'm using two Debian systems here:

  • NFS Server: server.example.com, IP address: 192.168.0.100
  • NFS Client: client.example.com, IP address: 192.168.0.101

 

2 Installing NFS

server:

On the NFS server we run:

apt-get install nfs-kernel-server nfs-common portmap

client:

On the client we can install NFS as follows:

apt-get install nfs-common portmap

 

3 Exporting Directories On The Server

server:

I'd like to make the directories /home and /var/nfs accessible to the client; therefore we must "export" them on the server.

When a client accesses an NFS share, this normally happens as the user nobody. Usually the /home directory isn't owned by nobody (and I don't recommend to change its ownership to nobody!), and because we want to read and write on /home, we tell NFS that accesses should be made as root (if our /home share was read-only, this wouldn't be necessary). The /var/nfs directory doesn't exist, so we can create it and change its ownership to nobody and nogroup:

mkdir /var/nfs
chown nobody:nogroup /var/nfs

Now we must modify /etc/exports where we "export" our NFS shares. We specify /home and /var/nfs as NFS shares and tell NFS to make accesses to /home as root (to learn more about /etc/exports, its format and available options, take a look at

man 5 exports

)

vi /etc/exports

# /etc/exports: the access control list for filesystems which may be exported
#               to NFS clients.  See exports(5).
#
# Example for NFSv2 and NFSv3:
# /srv/homes       hostname1(rw,sync,no_subtree_check) hostname2(ro,sync,no_subtree_check)
#
# Example for NFSv4:
# /srv/nfs4        gss/krb5i(rw,sync,fsid=0,crossmnt,no_subtree_check)
# /srv/nfs4/homes  gss/krb5i(rw,sync,no_subtree_check)
#
/home           192.168.0.101(rw,sync,no_root_squash,no_subtree_check)
/var/nfs        192.168.0.101(rw,sync,no_subtree_check)

(The no_root_squash option makes that /home will be accessed as root.)

Whenever we modify /etc/exports, we must run

exportfs -a

afterwards to make the changes effective.

 

4 Mounting The NFS Shares On The Client

client:

First we create the directories where we want to mount the NFS shares, e.g.:

mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/home
mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/var/nfs

Afterwards, we can mount them as follows:

mount 192.168.0.100:/home /mnt/nfs/home
mount 192.168.0.100:/var/nfs /mnt/nfs/var/nfs

You should now see the two NFS shares in the outputs of

df -h

client:~# df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/vg0-root   19G  676M   17G   4% /
tmpfs                 253M     0  253M   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                   10M   80K   10M   1% /dev
tmpfs                 253M     0  253M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1             471M   20M  427M   5% /boot
192.168.0.100:/home    29G  684M   27G   3% /mnt/nfs/home
192.168.0.100:/var/nfs
                       29G  684M   27G   3% /mnt/nfs/var/nfs
client:~#

and

mount

client:~# mount
/dev/mapper/vg0-root on / type ext3 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
/dev/sda1 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
192.168.0.100:/home on /mnt/nfs/home type nfs (rw,addr=192.168.0.100)
192.168.0.100:/var/nfs on /mnt/nfs/var/nfs type nfs (rw,addr=192.168.0.100)
client:~#

 

5 Testing

On the client, you can now try to create test files on the NFS shares:

client:

touch /mnt/nfs/home/test.txt
touch /mnt/nfs/var/nfs/test.txt

Now go to the server and check if you can see both test files:

server:

ls -l /home/

server:~# ls -l /home/
total 4
drwxr-xr-x 2 administrator administrator 4096 2009-02-16 13:18 administrator
-rw-r--r-- 1 root          root             0 2009-03-12 17:08 test.txt
server:~#

ls -l /var/nfs

server:~# ls -l /var/nfs
total 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 nobody nogroup 0 2009-03-12 17:08 test.txt
server:~#

(Please note the different ownerships of the test files: the /home NFS share gets accessed as root, therefore /home/test.txt is owned by root; the /var/nfs share gets accessed as nobody, therefore /var/nfs/test.txt is owned by nobody.)

 

6 Mounting NFS Shares At Boot Time

Instead of mounting the NFS shares manually on the client, you could modify /etc/fstab so that the NFS shares get mounted automatically when the client boots.

client:

Open /etc/fstab and append the following lines:

vi /etc/fstab

[...]
192.168.0.100:/home  /mnt/nfs/home   nfs      rw,sync,hard,intr  0     0
192.168.0.100:/var/nfs  /mnt/nfs/var/nfs   nfs      rw,sync,hard,intr  0     0

Instead of rw,sync,hard,intr you can use different mount options. To learn more about available options, take a look at

man nfs

To test if your modified /etc/fstab is working, reboot the client:

reboot

After the reboot, you should find the two NFS shares in the outputs of

df -h

client:~# df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/vg0-root   19G  676M   17G   4% /
tmpfs                 253M     0  253M   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                   10M   80K   10M   1% /dev
tmpfs                 253M     0  253M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1             471M   20M  427M   5% /boot
192.168.0.100:/home    29G  684M   27G   3% /mnt/nfs/home
192.168.0.100:/var/nfs
                       29G  684M   27G   3% /mnt/nfs/var/nfs
client:~#

and

mount

client:~# mount
/dev/mapper/vg0-root on / type ext3 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
/dev/sda1 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
192.168.0.100:/home on /mnt/nfs/home type nfs (rw,sync,hard,intr,addr=192.168.0.100)
192.168.0.100:/var/nfs on /mnt/nfs/var/nfs type nfs (rw,sync,hard,intr,addr=192.168.0.100)
client:~#

 

7 Links


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Comments will be published after administrator approval.
Submitted by gsmtek (not registered) on Wed, 2009-07-08 08:54.

This is a very nice article, but the connection speed is too slow 2,26MB/s. If you want to speed up, you should use the async option in exports and in fstab, after the speed is 48MB/s!

Good job! Bye

Submitted by Grant Wagner (not registered) on Mon, 2009-05-04 21:42.

I just recently did this process on my home server. It was just as straight forward and easy as you described it here. Compared to getting the origional samba share up, it was down right breezy!

It might be interested to also mention that Windows has native clients for both nfs and cups, so the average home server can avoid samba altogether. That too would make for a nice tutorial.

Finally, sometimes there are issues with getting nfs mount at boot time, if the mount command is handled before a wireless module is brought up. This and various fixes would be appreciated.

Submitted by Dan MacNei (not registered) on Sat, 2010-11-06 21:39.

If at boot, DNS is not running when the NFS mount is supposed to happen, then  the NfS daemon won't find the NFS server and the mount will fail.

A reasonable work-around is to put the IP# of the NFS server in /etc/hosts.  

Windows also has a hosts file probably in C:\Windows\hosts (check this)

Submitted by Arafath (not registered) on Fri, 2010-12-03 03:42.

The windows path for hosts file is

"C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts"

Submitted by The Hulk (not registered) on Fri, 2009-10-09 02:44.
This is the same tutorial as the NFS tutorial for Debian Etch. Something must have changed between Etch and Lenny because it does not work.