The post guides Linux admins and students on setting up NFS (Network File System) mount points, which allow client computers to access network resources. Procedures for installing NFS server and client packages, creating folders to export to clients, configuring the NFS Exports file, mounting the NFS share on the client, and un-mounting folders are given. The article provides a detailed step-by-step approach, with each step punctuated with necessary Linux commands.
For Linux admins and students, NFS is one of the many ways to allow client computers to access network resources. In addition, it’s easy to set up and manage and suitable for public access to network resources.
NFS or Network File System is a distributed file system that can be enabled in a client/server environment. NFS is easy to configure for those wishing to allow NFS client machines to access NFS mount points on a server using NFS protocol.
This brief tutorial shows users how to set up NFS mount points on a server for client access. It should be quick and easy to understand, even for new users.
For this tutorial, we’re going to be using two systems:
- Server Computer with IP address 192.168.71.131
- Client Computer with IP address 192.168.71.133
- Share Resource Name: public data
Installing NFS Server packages on the Host computer
To get the NFS server working, you must install the server packages. To do that, run the commands below:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install nfs-kernel-server
When the server packages are installed, switch to the client to install the client package.
Installing NFS client packages on the client systems
You must install NFS client packages to access NFS mount points on the server. To do that, run the commands below
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install nfs-common
After installing the client packages, switch to the server to configure a mount point to export to the client.
Creating the folder/directory to export (share) to the NFS clients
Now that NFS’s server and client components have been installed, you can make the folder or directory to export to the clients.
For this tutorial, we’re creating a folder called publicdata in the /mnt/ directory. To make the folder, run the command below.
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/publicdata
Since we want this location to be viewed by all clients, we will remove the restrictive permissions. To do that, change the folder permission to be owned by nobody in no group.
sudo chown nobody:nogroup /mnt/publicdata sudo chmod 777 /mnt/publicdata
The folder is ready to be exported so the client can access it. Subfolders can be created there as well.
Configuring the NFS Exports file
Now that the location is created on the host system, open the NFS export file and define the client access.
Access can be granted to a single client or an entire network subnet. For this tutorial, we’re allowing access to the client mentioned above.
NFS export file is at /etc/exports
In that file is where you define client access. The configuration format is as follows:
/server_share_resource client_IP(share option1, .. share_optionN)
So, permit access to only the client with IP 192.168.71.133. To do that, open the export file by running the commands below:
sudo nano /etc/exports
Then add the line below:
And save the file. Only clients with the IP address defined above will access that location remotely.
To allow an entire subnet.
The options in the setting above are: rw= read/write, sync=write changes to disk before applying, and no_subtree_check= prevents subtree checking.
Export the shares by running the commands below.
sudo exportfs -a
Restart the NFS server by running the commands below.
sudo systemctl restart nfs-kernel-server
Mounting the NFS share on the client
Next, switch to the client to mount the NFS directory defined on the server. To do that, create a mount point on the client where the host mounts the shares. This can be anywhere.
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/publicdata
After creating the mounting point, use the command below to mount the server NFS folder on the client
The format to mount directories on the client is as shown below:
sudo mount server_IP:/NFS_directory_on_server /client_mount_point
sudo mount 192.168.71.131:/mnt/publicdata /mnt/publicdata
This command above mounts the directory on the client’s computer.
You can automatically mount the directory by editing the /etc/fstab file by adding the lines below and saving the file.
sudo nano /etc/fstab
Then add the line below and save.
192.168.71.131:/mnt/publicdata /mnt/publicdata nfs auto,nofail,noatime,nolock,intr,tcp,actimeo=1800 0 0
To un-mount the folder, use the umount command.
sudo umount /mnt/publicdata
If, for some reason, the client can’t access the host folder, open the Ubuntu firewall to the client on the host computer.
sudo ufw allow from 192.168.71.133 to any port nfs
This is how to set up an NFS mount for clients in a client/server environment using the NFS protocol.
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