The introduction of distributed file systems marked the advent of the use of distributed client/ server computing. This allowed enterprises to store data in the disks of a centralized server, and multiple client machines to request data from it using a well-defined protocol. With such an arrangement, it is easier to share data across clients. Additionally, if a file is accessed on one client, and modified in another, the same view is maintained consistently across machines. Not only does this facilitate centralized administration, but it also increases security.
The Sun Network File System (NFS) by Sun Microsystems is one of the earliest, and most successful open-source distributed file systems. In this article, let us elaborate on the NFS Server system requirements and understand the nuances of the solution.
How Does an NFS Server Work?
While many organizations, including Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), were working on network file systems, Sun Microsystems took a novel approach involving the development of an open protocol that specifies the message format clients and servers use for communicating.
The open-source protocol (NFSv2) was designed to facilitate a simple and fast server crash recovery in multi-client and single-server based network architectures. This is achieved using a stateless protocol.
In the case of a stateless protocol, the server does not know what each client is doing. In the event of a server crash, the client retries the request, regardless of the cause of the failure. Such a property of NFS servers, in which the act of performing an action multiple times is equivalent to performing it once, called idempotency, helps clients handle timeouts in a unified manner, and minimize disruptions.
What Are the Advantages of NFS Server?
NFS service is an ideal solution in situations that involve the use of computers (clients) with different architectures that run on different operating systems. As an abstract model of a file system, each operating system can apply the NFS model into its file semantics. Here are the advantages of using an NFS server.
- Users with machines running different operating systems can access the same data.
- The storage cost can be reduced by enabling computers to share applications rather than storing them locally.
- Consistency and reliability of the data are maintained.
- There is greater transparency in mounting file systems and accessing files remotely.
- Administration overhead is reduced, especially in heterogeneous environments.
What Are the System Requirements for NFS Server?
The system requirements for the NFS server can vary based on several factors such as the number of concurrent sessions and the volume of data that has to be moved. Here are some of the factors to be considered while configuring the NFS server and client to maximize performance.
- Network traffic must be well-balanced across client networks, and the networks themselves must never be overloaded.
- Ensure that there is sufficient disk bandwidth and that it is not driven at more than 60 percent of its random I/O capacity to minimize the chances of bottlenecks.
- Ensure that the percent system time of the CPU does not exceed 50% for optimal NFS performance.
- Use the formula, Virtual memory = RAM (main memory) + swap space to calculate the memory requirements depending on the type of workload deployed on the server.
Apps4Rent Can Help with NFS Server Hosting
While tuning the parameters of NFS options can ensure optimal performance in most cases, in some circumstances, the bottleneck can be in the infrastructure that is used for the system. Apps4Rent can host NFS servers on SSD-enabled servers with redundant bandwidths in our top tier SSAE 16 datacenters.
As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP, we can also host the solution on Azure in a region of your choice and provide fully managed Azure services for optimal performance. Contact our cloud architects, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for NFS server hosting assistance.