Thursday, 27 October 2016

Administrator : Linux Network File System (NFS) Mounted Drives

Over the next few days I'm planning to bring you at least three videos about sharing files between different systems, specifically Windows and Linux... Today the easiest (at least for me) Linux to Linux sharing.

For this you will need SSH access and a user account on the remote system, and sudo (root) rights to both machines.  I'm running Ubuntu machines here, both for the client and the server, which variant (32/64) makes no difference.

The Server
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nfs-common nfs-kernel-server

We need the nfs-kernel-server here, and it will run as a service, once it's all installed we need to make a folder, I create them like this, making it owned by myself:

sudo mkdir /media/xelous
sudo chown xelous /media/xelous

Then I edit:

sudo nano /etc/exports

And I add to it:

/media/xelous     150.0.8.*(rw,no_root_squash,async)

This is the local folder we're mounting, and we're making it available to ALL the machines on the " to" range of IP addresses.

Saving this file, I then need to restart the whole machine, or just the service:

sudo /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server restart

You can then run:

showmount -e

To see the local mount you've just created, if you have an issue, and it doesn't show up, check the above again... because it does work, honest.... The most common problem is permissions on the folder you've created, sometimes on systems you are not the administrator on, it's best to share a folder from your /home directory.

The Client
The client is a simpler installation:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nfs-common

Then you can check the remote mount, lets assume the server is on IP

showmount -e

You should see the remote mount you created on the remote machine:

Lets create a folder locally, into which we'll mount the remote folder:

sudo mkdir -p /media/remote
sudo chown xelous /media/remote

Now, I happen to be the user "xelous" on both machines, but change your username for the local or remote machines... Mine is not best practice here, as they just have different passwords....

To mount the remote folder locally:

sudo mount /media/remote

So, this is mounting the remote to the local, on the local machine I can then just hop into that folder and work, knowing all the files are trickling out over the network and into that remote machine.

This is very useful if you're going to run a thin client system, or are working on a machine with no, or read-only, local storage.

Why does this exist?
The driver behind this was my main development machine running out of disk space, and my not being allowed to install a new drive... yes, go figure (don't worry, I have asked the fair fellows of IT for access to my BIOS again - Yes, I'm still on a machine with a BIOS not UEFI, don't laugh).

So, with my workstation critically low on disk space, where was I going to put everything?... Well, on another Linux machine I have on the network of course, a big fat server with a slow CPU but oodles of storage.

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